The Biggest Challenge of Managing a Lead Qualification Team

sales team

Lead qualification managers often face significant challenges in building stronger pipelines and creating greater brand awareness for their companies. That’s why we took advantage of OpenView’s workshop on lead qualification management to gather together a panel of industry experts to provide you with their best practices and secrets to lead qualification success, from what it takes to get a team launched to the best ways to keep each member primed and motivated.

Last week, we discussed the key things managers need to have in place to successfully launch a lead qualification team. This week’s question:

What is the biggest challenge involved with managing a lead qualification team?

Trish Bertuzzi, President and Chief Strategist at The Bridge Group

Developing an effective on boarding process. I’m talking about one that takes them out of the realm of telemarketers and enables them to become trusted advisors to prospects. It’s no longer about “pounding the phones” or “qualifying for BANT” – those days are dead and buried.

What matters now, and what is so challenging, is equipping the team with deep knowledge of your buyers, their challenges, and their businesses. Then turning that knowledge into actionable sound bites your team can own. Our studies show it takes an average of 3.1 months to fully ramp a rep. Think of the impact it could have on pipeline if you could cut that by even 30 days!

Aaron Ross, creator of salesforce.com’s outbound prospecting team and co-author of Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business into a Sales Machine with the $100 Million Best Practices of Salesforce.com

For a new team it’s managing upwards, convincing executives that “more is not better” with regards to leads and appointments, and that what counts is quality. Driving lead qual reps to throw over 40 half-baked appointments to Account Executives (“AEs”) a month just frustrates the AEs. Everything will work more smoothly if the leadqual reps do great research on the lead before passing it over, and then stay involved until an AE qualifies it into a Sales Qualified Lead.

For a mature team it’s maintaining the integrity of the work, especially if quotas or growth pressures grow. With lead qual teams, there is always a possibility of succumbing to gray-area temptations of taking credit where it wasn’t deserved or trying to get credit this month for something that isn’t really qualified yet. Don’t! Integrity is the most important principle here, because executives must be able to trust the integrity of “outbound results” in order to invest in it or compare it to other lead gen programs. At salesforce.com, because we had a strict auditing process and I or my team leads reviewed every lead passed, I was never worried when Marc Benioff emailed me from time to time asking “was the ABC Co. deal really outbound, can you prove it?”

Mike Volpe, CMO Inbound Marketing at HubSpot

Probably keeping the management overhead low. We have found that the overhead for these teams is much higher than most people think because they tend to have less experience and need more training and more management than other parts of our sales team. Make sure you incorporate all of the overhead (management, training, hiring costs) into your economic analysis of the qualification team.

John Barrows, Co-owner and Managing Partner of Kensei Partners

Keeping the team motivated and limiting the “burn out” factor. Managers need to make sure that the lead qual team’s activities have purpose, that they are learning from their approaches, and that they are adjusting and improving their efforts, accordingly.

Check back in next Wednesday, when the roundtable will reveal the best ways to keep your lead qualification team focused and motivated.

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