Choosing the Right Messengers: 5 Characteristics of a Great Lead Gen Team
You’ve identified the targeted personas for your next lead generation campaign—check. You’ve developed a message that you’re sure will resonate with those personas—check. You’ve bought or developed a great list—check.
What’s left to do? Just one thing: find or develop the right team. For your campaign to be truly successful, both the message and the messengers must be up to the job.
Cold calling doesn’t come easily to most people. While some simply have an instinct for it, it’s a task at which anyone can improve with practice and training. An investment in skilled, knowledgeable, and well-trained Business Development Representatives (BDRs) vastly improves your campaign’s chance of success.
If you’re considering working with an outside partner, you’ll want to ensure that they’ve made this investment. Here’s are 5 key factors to look out for when searching for the right BDR team:
Experience is an asset in any job, and in lead generation it’s particularly important. On call after call, BDRs develop instincts, methods, and best practices for handling uncommon or unpredictable situations, from surly gatekeepers to unnavigable switchboards to curious decision makers who ask a lot of detailed questions. Those with fully-developed skillsets are apt and comfortable in such moments. This can make the difference between scheduling a high-quality appointment and getting hung up on—and does, perhaps more often than you think.
Unfortunately, in an industry notorious for turnover and burnout, they can be hard to come by. There are firms out there, though, that pride themselves on their ability to retain and develop BDRs. Especially if your market or offering is somewhat complex, these are the partners to look for.
Professionalism is also key—decision makers respond better to cold calls when they feel they’re speaking with colleagues, not telemarketers. They’re busy people, after all, and it’s easy to hang up the phone. BDRs who are too hesitant, too casual, or recite scripts too stiffly will soon find themselves out of an audience.
When you’re vetting calling partners, ask if you can listen to some sample calls. If you can, think about whether or not the BDRs you’re listening to have a calm demeanor and casual, professional tone. Are they people who you’d want to converse with? Your answer to that question is likely the same for your prospects.
3. Familiarity with your industry
Every industry is a little bit different. Companies in some industries have long or complex sales cycles. Others have their own technical vocabulary that a service provider must use comfortably in order to be taken seriously. Some have enjoyed explosive growth recently, while others are stagnating, or struggling to meet the demands of newly-imposed regulations.
For these reasons, it’s important to select a team of BDRs whose knowledge of the industry is far broader than the words in their script. Such callers will be able to ask the right questions, emphasize your offering’s most prescient features, and reflect language that’s familiar to prospects in your industry.
If you’re working with a partner, consider prioritizing firms who have experience calling into the industry or industries you’re targeting. Odds are, their BDRs will be well-equipped and flexible when industry-specific challenges come their way.
4. Scheduling flexibility
A rigid schedule isn’t good for a BDR, and—believe it or not—it’s not good for you.
When a client buys 40 hours/week of cold calling, many lead gen firms will assign one individual BDR to work all of those hours. The program then fills up that person’s entire schedule.
That might be the easiest means of scheduling, but it has some serious pitfalls. First, it isolates and siloes BDRs, frequently leading to burnout. Second, it means the success of the program is entirely dependent on a single person’s schedule. What if that person calls out sick or goes on vacation? For days, the program could be left in less-skilled (or at least less familiar) hands.
While they’re numerically fewer, there are alternative, team-based models out there—like VSA’s—that both compensate for these issues and often achieve better results in general. Instead of making every program the responsibility of a single person, we create small teams of dedicated BDRs who divvy up calling hours and meet regularly, which builds institutional knowledge and enables them to compare results. This model almost guarantees continuous improvement, with BDRs constantly learning from each other. It does a lot more than just ensuring that your program is “vacation proof”.
The team-based model also keeps BDRs interested and engaged, which leads right into the last, perhaps most important characteristic of the right calling team:
5. Job satisfaction and overall happiness.
BDRs who enjoy their jobs and feel valued at work aren’t just enhanced personally—their job performance also improves. This is particularly true with a task like cold calling, in which it’s important to project energy and enthusiasm on the phone. BDRs who are overworked, discouraged, isolated, or otherwise in distress will be unable to sound excited about your offering—after all, they’re unexcited about their job.
This is why VSA puts so much effort into maintaining an excellent workplace culture. Our supportive, team-based environment is encouraging, supportive, and celebratory. We offer flexible schedules and opportunities for advancement and encourage collaboration and cooperation, and fun. Many of our team members have become close friends, either inside or outside of work. The result is that they’re proud of their work and their team, and motivated to deliver excellent results.
Of all the tasks that go into preparing a successful lead generation program, the most often overlooked—and often the last—is building the right team. There are lots of factors that go into choosing the right messengers for your campaign, and it can be particularly difficult to evaluate how well-matched your team is when its supplied by a third-party partner.
VSA’s employee-centered atmosphere and team-based model are designed specifically to help our clients feel confident that they’ve chosen the right messengers—and to achieve the results that will validate that feeling. Give us a call if you’d like to speak further about how you can ensure that your BDR team fits each of the five characteristics above.