In our previous two posts about outbound lead gen teams, we discussed how to determine if you need an outbound prospecting team to help you expand your sales pipeline and the questions you should ask before you create one. But now we’re getting to the meat of the matter – actually building your team. Starting any team from scratch is tough, but there are several specific obstacles associated with building an outbound lead gen team. In this post we will explore these hurdles and provide the best tips for overcoming them.
1. Clearly define your expectations
Whenever you start a new team, it is easy to get swept up in its potential. Will it transform your product? Satisfy all of your customers? Probably not, but what an outbound prospecting team can do — quickly grow your sales pipeline — it can do effectively and efficiently. Take the time to set realistic goals — generate X leads in Y months, reach new untouched territories — and prepare yourself to measure them accurately.
This is also a good time to establish realistic expectations about when your outbound lead gen team’s efforts will bear fruit. Converting the leads your new reps find into closed deals takes time — usually at least six months — so it is important to establish realistic revenue goals ahead of time. Use data you have collected about your average sales cycle to get an accurate prediction for when your new team will start earning its keep.
2. Determine the right structure
There is no one-size-fits-all prospecting team, and yours should be tailored to the size, type and culture of your company. And this cannot come down to intuition – you must use analytics to ensure that you’re building the correctly sized and structured team. How many sales reps do you have? What other lead sources do you utilize? At which funnel stage are your deals most frequently stalling? Using sales analytics to answer these questions and shape your new outbound prospecting team accordingly will help ensure that you are not designing an ill-fitting unit.
Structure is not only about your team’s construction – it is also important to carefully plan who your team will report to and which department it will be officially located in. Both Marketing and Sales are suitable departments for your new prospecting team, but you must explicitly decide if you want to eliminate the possibility of crossed wires.
3. Hone your hiring approach
Once you’ve defined your team’s goals and determined its optimal structure, it is time to get down to action – hiring. No matter how deftly you design your team in the theoretical realm, it will fall short of expectations if you pick the wrong people. The specific traits of your outbound lead gen reps will vary slightly depending on your company’s culture and target market, but most of the attributes of a successful rep are fairly constant – hard working, personable, competitive and optimistic.
Devote the necessary time and energy into recruiting, interviewing and onboarding ideal reps and you will find that your new team is in the perfect position to start cramming your pipeline full of prospects.
What techniques helped you build your outbound lead gen team?