Telemarketing is a highly effective way to generate new opportunities for many B2B sectors. Recent research by B2B marketing on the views of senior marketers and sales leaders within B2B organisations shows telemarketing and email marketing are the channels that generate the highest volume of leads. The highest quality leads came from telemarketing and exhibitions.
B2B telemarketing may be an important addition to your marketing mix, and provide valuable support to your sales team by generating high quality leads.
Telemarketing should not however be undertaken lightly. Without detailed assessment and meticulous planning it can prove costly, provide unsatisfactory results, and even cause reputational damage to your organisation.
Planning for high performing Telemarketing incorporates an assessment of the 3 R’s:
Relevance is important to think about in 2 ways
Are the Prospects Relevant to You?
Telemarketing may only be an effective route to some elements of your customer base. Lower revenue potential customers are unlikely to be worth targeting through telemarketing while direct engagement by your sales team may be more appropriate for the largest prospects. Telemarketing to generate leads that the sales team can follow up typically works best in the mid-market. This is where there is a reasonably large number of potential clients that you can engage, and where a sale would also create significant customer revenue.
Are You Relevant to the Prospects (and How Do You Demonstrate This)?
Prospects should be targeted carefully to identify those that will be the most interested in what you have to say. Don’t target those that are unlikely to use you as a supplier! Telemarketers are most effective when they have targeted and accurate data – so source data with these businesses and decision makers. Investing in the best data available for telemarketing is almost always worthwhile.
Even the best investment in data is limited in scope. A key part of the telemarketer’s role should be to improve the quality of the database over time, excluding those that you are unlikely to be able to work with, updating contacts and building an understanding of the timing issues for those that are qualified (including when is the best time to re-engage with them if it isn’t now).
The unique selling points and sales messages must be clear for the telemarketer to understand and for them to explain how these benefit the prospect and their circumstances. The Telemarketer must internalise these messages so that they can be presented in a relevant and compelling way in conversation with a senior decision maker. This includes adapting the message in different circumstances and how objections can be overcome. This can’t be done reading from a script!
The way that the message is delivered by a professional telemarketer must highlight and enhance your reputation as a reliable and competent partner. It often takes time and multiple engagements to develop an opportunity after the initial conversation. Each engagement should be enhancing your reputation in the mind of the prospect. Next actions agreed at the end of a call need to be recorded and followed through. When follow up calls are scheduled they should be undertaken on-time, similarly requests for information to be sent must be dispatched promptly and professionally. A clear process and appropriate technology can help ensure detailed and accurate call notes are taken and will remind the telemarketer of the progress so far when they make return calls.
Often timing is an issue as decision makers are not yet ready to proceed or meet. Telemarketing is therefore an on-going process that qualifies and identifies these future opportunities that should be nurtured and supported by other marketing in addition to the agreed follow up calls.
Qualifying and updating the database, and building the brand awareness of the prospects should be viewed as integral objectives of telemarketing activity.
Buyers will typically look closely at and research your business before agreeing to meet or engage meaningfully in a sales dialogue with you. This is likely to include visiting your website. The website should therefore support the messages that are being delivered through telemarketing. For example if your key message is sector experience relevant to the prospect and how you have benefited similar businesses it would be helpful to direct the prospect to the page on your website that has a relevant case study.
Email marketing and content such as articles, news or case studies that you publish should re-enforce and deliver a consistent message. This should be used (along with other digital marketing that can maintain your presence to prospects) to nurture those decision makers that you have qualified as future opportunities but cannot call again for some time. This ensures that when they are ready to speak to you it is a much warmer conversation.