Earlier this year, OpenView released it’s very first infographic: Are you Ready to Launch a Lead Generation Team? The purpose of this content was to demonstrate — primarily to senior managers at expansion-stage companies who are considering launching this sort of top-funnel engine — that getting a successful team up and running is no small feat.
In other words, managers need to manage expectations in terms of input (what goes INTO getting the team launched). Along those same lines, I thought it might also be a good idea to write a post to help stake holders manage expectations in terms of the OUTPUT of a new lead generation outbound prospecting engine.
Of course, there are going to be a number of different variables that will impact your lead generation outcomes and the time it takes to achieve consistent, repeatable revenue.
But from my experience of working with over a dozen lead generation teams at OpenView’s portfolio companies I’ve determined the following:
It is VERY hard to get consistent, repeatable revenue streams from lead qualification teams in the first year. End of story.
Does that mean it’s not worthwhile to launch this team? I mean, think about it — a year of inconsistent (potentially NO) revenue streams, and during that first year, you also spend nearly $100,000 on 2-3 salaries, benefits, licenses, etc. Can you swing that? Well, that’s up for you to decide. However — and I beg you — you need to be able to think about the long-term outcomes, and know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Again, it’s very uncommon for teams to uncover large deals that actually close in the first year. It just is. And even if a couple sneak in there (consider yourself lucky!), it’s likely not going to be consistent.
Year 1 is all about making the first touch points, nailing the process and the messaging, and building solid, more long-term relationships.
Also — and this is SUPER important — you need to consider and focus on the additional benefits the team’s activities provide (hopefully it will help you sleep at night). For example, how much has your company’s knowledge of your target segments, buyer personas, and messaging improved since the team has been on the phones having conversations with your targets?!
In Year 1, rather than obsess over the closed deals and dollars that come from your lead qual team’s efforts, focus on these five things, instead:
- How can your team reach optimal productivity? Is there a constant focus on improving conversion rates?
- Is your team constantly refining the messaging (value proposition, pain points, etc.) based on conversations with prospects?
- Upon reviewing responses to conversations, emails, etc. should your team’s targets (segment and/or buyer personas) be slightly adjusted or better refined?
- How can your designed touchpoint models and relationship marketing programs be optimized to increase engagement?
- How can the hand-off process with the sale reps be improved, and how can you maintain a true sense of accountability for early stage deals post-hand-off?
If you’ve covered all of your bases according to the requirements described in our infographic, AND you focus on these five things in Year 1, I can assure you that you are setting yourself up for a far more profitable and consistent Year 2. Have faith!