Enabling, Encouraging, and Shielding: The Role of an Outbound Prospecting Manager
As I’ve written about in many posts, if you have two or more outbound prospecting reps, it’s VERY important that you have someone whose sole responsibility is to manage the team — not someone who’s juggling dozens of balls within your organization, this just happening to be one of them. I’m talking someone who, for 4o+ hours a week, is committed to making the team as successful it can possibly be. Some doubt that this is a full-time job for a small team. However, as this infographic and this article show, there are a variety of different components involved with managing an outbound prospecting team that make it oh-so time consuming.
Based on my experiences working with lead qualification or outbound prospecting managers in OpenView’s portfolio, those who focus on the following goals/management strategies have the most successful front-of-funnel qualification systems:
This is perhaps the most broad statement, because there are so many ways that reps need to be enabled. For starters, there’s hosting quality training sessions (initial and ongoing), defining processes (touch points, hand-offs, etc.), constructing asset packages for each targeted campaign, working with marketing to supply helpful attention-grabbing content, CRM training and management, providing lead sources, establishing relationship marketing programs to ensure continuous relevant engagement over time, to name a few. Without any of these items, your team will struggle. And if you want your team to be focused on the task at hand and having north of 10 quality, qualifying conversations a day with targeted prospects, the manager needs to be the one to ensure that everything is buttoned up on the backend.
When it comes to daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly goals and metrics (pertaining to both productivity and process), a manager needs to set expectations right from the start. Once this is agreed upon, providing encouragement and support to keep motivation and productivity high is essential. After three months on the job, your new hires shouldn’t need too much hand holding, but continuous call shadowing, role playing, and one-on-one meetings will help managers understand what makes each rep tick, capitalize on strengths, and help improve upon weaknesses.
Shielding Reps from Distractions
This is a huge one. Your outbound calling reps are likely a hot commodity in your organization. After all, they are probably making more touch points with prospects than any other team within the organization, and finding some great new opportunities for your sales team’s pipeline. That being said, they are going to have people coming after them with questions and requests. One common issue I’ve seen with these types of teams is that the field reps (closers) start treating the lead qualifiers like they are their personal assistants. “Will you call this person for me?” “Will you research this for me?” Will you schedule this for me?” This practice is not a scalable model, and the manager should step in as the intermediary to ensure that it doesn’t occur! Another potential distraction involves outbound prospectors being given inbound leads to qualify for the sales reps that are not in-line with the target campaign that they are calling into. Again, this is not a scalable model, and the manager needs to make sure that these leads are distributed to the right individuals within the organization.