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Sales lead generation involves professionals in telesales, marketing and information technology. The marketing team plans lead generation programs and develops campaigns to stimulate inquiries for follow-up. Telesales professionals contact leads to qualify their interest and purchasing intentions. Information technology specialists develop systems to automate the process of capturing and analyzing information on prospects.
Eloqua, a supplier of specialized software for lead generation, notes that the process of lead generation has changed. Traditionally, lead generation was a telephone-based role. It was the responsibility of telesales agents to contact prospects to question them about their buying intentions. The process now starts further back. Marketers develop social media programs and offer educational content, such as webinars and white papers, to prospects and customers by e-mail. By tracking the response to e-mails, using tools developed by IT, marketing teams can analyze levels of interest. When a prospect shows detailed interest in a product or requests information, the marketing team passes the leads to telesales executives.
Marketing executives are responsible for the initial stages of lead generation. They require good planning skills to develop advertising, e-mail, online and social media campaigns to create interest in the company’s products and encourage initial response. They must have excellent analytical skills to identify a prospect’s level of interest in a product and move them to the next stage in the lead generation program. Marketing personnel must be familiar with marketing automation tools, such as Salesforce, which allows them to track the progress of the campaign.
Telesales consultants contact prospects who have responded to the campaign and have shown a high level of interest. They use the information on the prospects’ initial responses to ask questions about their needs and timeline for buying. They ask prospects if they would like to arrange a meeting with a sales representative or a consultant and fix a time. They then pass the qualified leads to the field sales team to follow up. If any prospects are not ready or willing to commit to a meeting, the telesales consultants passes the lead back to marketing, who then e-mail further material to maintain contact and build relationships. To carry out this role, telesales executives need good interpersonal skills to build a rapport with their contacts.
IT professionals work with the sales and marketing team to select and set up software and systems to support the automation of lead generation programs. They must be familiar with the software solutions that are available and must also have a good understanding of the business aspects of lead generation.