How to Manage a Lead Generation Team

how to manage a lead generation team

Team management is an essential component in every aspect of your business. No matter which industry you’re in or what kinds of products or services you offer, creating an efficient and compatible team will be a crucial part of your success.

Nowhere is this truer than in the lead generation aspect of your business. Not only does the lead generation team need to interact with prospective customers, but they also need to coordinate with both the sales and marketing departments.

The complexity that comes with enabling quick and clear communication between three different groups of people requires a high level of coordination and compatibility. So, if you want your company’s lead generation process to operate without a hitch, you need to ensure the team responsible for this process is managed effectively.

This article will walk you through the critical elements of managing a lead generation team. By the time you’re finished, you should have a thorough understanding of what it takes to oversee a group of people who are responsible for attracting prospects and obtaining their contact information.

The goals of a lead generation team

The lead generation team.

Create lists of prospects

The first responsibility of the lead generation team is to perform market research and come up with a list of prospective buyers. This list should include both companies that might be interested in your product, as well as the specific people in those companies your team should contact.

Reach out to prospects

Once the list of prospects is developed, the team needs to call these prospects and attempt to turn them into leads for the sales team to follow up with.

Qualify and grade prospects for the sales team

After each round of phone calls and emails, the lead gen team should give each lead a quality score and grade to signify how likely they are to buy. Only qualified leads should be sent to sales.

Ensure you have the right expectations

Effective lead generation teams are led by managers who understand what the organization’s specific lead generation goals are.

For example, the goal might be to have the lead generation team bring in 40% of new business next year.

If you’re managing that team, you need to know a bunch of stuff:

  • How much business your company typically brings in over a year.
  • The sales funnel activity involved in obtaining a single sale.
  • What your lead to conversion ratio is.
  • And a host of other data related to the lead generation and conversion process.

You’ll also have to synthesize that data and turn it into an actionable and achievable roadmap. Based on the value of an average deal, you’ll have to estimate how many phone calls, emails, in-person meetings, and other touchpoints you’ll need to reach your goal.

Don’t overwork yourself

Staff to oversee the lead generation team.

Many companies assign a member of their marketing staff to oversee the lead generation team. To maximize their ROI, these companies often ask the new manager to maintain their other duties while managing the team.

If your lead generation team has less than four people on it, this might be doable. But once you hit the four-person mark, management becomes a full-time job. Whoever is in charge of the team will have to deal with all of the following tasks:

  • Devising and refining training materials.
  • Coaching new team members in lead generation techniques.
  • Conducting routine interviews with each team member.
  • Motivating the team.
  • Sitting on conference calls.
  • Coordinating with members of the sales and marketing teams.

Even the most efficient, hard-working individual will find it impossible to complete these tasks while still finding time for their regular duties. It's important for employers to recognize the strain excessive workloads can place on their employees and take steps to alleviate it. However, if workplace hostility continues due to the employer negligence, it's crucial to address these issues promptly to ensure a healthy and productive work environment for all.

Figure out how many lead generation representatives you need

One key aspect of running a lead generation team is ensuring you have the right number of representatives.

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Hiring too many can cause your company to overpay for the value the team brings in. But on the flip side, hiring too few will lessen the impact of the team and decrease the potential revenue it can bring in.

To figure out the proper number of representatives for your team, you’ll need a few pieces of data:

  • The number of target buyer profiles in your target market segment.
  • The number of conversations required to adequately cover your target market with an acceptable amount of touches.
  • The percentage of calls that turn into conversations.
  • How many calls a rep is capable of making each day.

If you have some estimates for this data, you can use them to determine how many reps you’ll need to hire to meet your annual lead generation targets.

Here’s an example. Say there are 500 companies in your target market segment. Each company has three buyer profiles that your reps will be targeting. If you’re aiming for one conversation per quarter with each buyer profile, your reps will need to have 6,000 conversations per year to cover the market segment adequately.

If a rep is capable of making 40 calls per day, and 20% of those calls turn into conversations, the one rep can make about 10,000 calls per year, with 2,000 of those calls resulting in conversations. As you’ve already determined you need to have 6,000 conversations per year to hit your revenue goals, you would need to hire three lead generation reps to handle the workload.

Before you go using this formula to quickly determine how many people to hire, know that these are rough estimates that require a lot of data. If your company is relatively new, or you haven’t been tracking this data, using an analytical approach like this isn’t going to work.

If you do need to estimate, I suggest erring on the side of fewer employees until your outbound lead generation process becomes a bit more organized. You can always onboard and train people relatively quickly, and working with fewer people will make it easier for a new manager to learn the ropes and streamline processes.

Organize your lead generation reps efficiently

Once you’ve got a team size hammered out, you’ll need to decide how to organize the members.

The easiest way is to have all reps report to the team manager. This ensures the team has a focused direction, and all team members are kept up to date on best practices and new techniques.

If your team has more than four reps, you should consider placing at least one sales rep under the team manager. In this scenario, some companies forego a lead generation manager entirely and instead have the sales reps report directly to the VP of sales.

You’ll also need to decide who the team manager reports to. Most lead generation teams report to the sales team, though some choose to report to marketing instead. Either way, the team should act as a bridge between the marketing and sales departments.

Recruit the right people

Recruit the right people.

Now that you know how many reps you’ll need and how you’re going to organize them, you need to hire the right people.

The qualities of the ideal candidate for your company’s lead generation representative position will vary based on several factors:

  • The products or services you’re selling.
  • The companies and people you’re selling to.
  • Your company’s resources and culture.

There are some characteristics in the ideal candidate that tend to be universal regardless of industry or company culture, though.

  • Excellent communication skills ‒ both written and verbal.
  • Some sales experience ‒ but not too much. You want someone who has experience selling or recruiting over the phone but isn’t discouraged by the need to make a ton of phone calls. 1-2 years of experience is the ideal number.
  • Has some interest in your product or service. This one is optional, but it helps if your lead generation reps are genuinely excited about what your business is offering.

Get a lead generation process in place

To ensure your team is capable from the get-go, you need to put an easy-to-follow process in place. Without this step-by-step hand-holding, your team will never get into a productive routine, and your lead generation will suffer as a result.

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The exact nature of this process will vary depending on the product you’re selling, the types of people you’re selling to, and the methods you’ll be using to communicate with these people.

Your process should include the following information, though:

  • A loose conversation script for reps to follow.
  • The number of touches each prospect will need.
  • The amount of time between each touch.
  • A way to label each lead based on how far along they are in the sales funnel.
  • A way to transfer leads from the lead gen reps to the sales reps.
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Shawn Manaher
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of Ignite Marketing. He's one part local business growth specialist, one part campaign strategizing ninja, and two parts leader of an awesome nerd pack. He won't eat pancakes unless you call them flat waffles.
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