Many marketing organizations are enlisting the services of third-party teleservice providers to drive qualified sales-ready leads via teleprospecting. And whether teleprospecting is a new endeavor or you're looking to replace or augment an existing vendor, embarking on a pilot program is usually a smart first step.

A pilot program will allow you to test your chosen vendor(s), your approach, target market, and messaging. It also provides you with an understanding of the results you can expect from the initiative itself, such as how many leads and what types of leads are generated as well as the impact to the sales pipeline—lead acceptance by sales, conversion to pipeline, etc.

But not all pilot programs are created equal. Running a pilot for too briefly—perhaps only four to eight weeks—can provide inaccurate and inconclusive results. Instead, marketers should plan on investing at least 12 weeks in their next pilot program.

The longer a pilot program, the more accurate the results, and the more likely you are to create leads that your sales organization really wants.

Here's why.

1. Ramping up takes time

No matter how seasoned the teleprospecting agents are or how much training is conducted, the majority of pilot programs will include a ramp-up period. During this timeframe, the agents learn the best ways to use your unique messaging and value propositions. They also need this time to gain confidence in their new-product knowledge.

Agents use ramp-up time to uncover the unique layers of the decision-making process at each targeted organization, determining who to really speak with to obtain the most meaningful leads. Those contacts often differ from the contacts within the target database.

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image of Kathy Rizzo

Kathy Rizzo is vice-president of sales and marketing at TeleNet Marketing Solutions, a lead generation and lead nurturing company.

LinkedIn: Kathy Rizzo