How effective is telemarketing for B2B lead generation?

31 May 2015

Telemarketing for B2B lead generationAccording to research undertaken by Marketing Profs telemarketing ranks as the 3rd most effective lead generation tool. This is high praise when you consider that Inside Sales and Executive Events are 1st & 2nd respectively.

Why consider telemarketing?

There are lots of reasons.

  1. Building a pipeline of qualified opportunities for your sales team
  2. Validating appropriate contacts and gaining insights into their current business landscape
  3. Increased awareness of a service/solution within target group of companies
  4. Introducing a new product/service to an existing customer base
  5. Re-engaging inactive customers
  6. Qualifying inbound enquiries (e.g. digital, trade shows)
  7. Thanking your existing customers for being customers

What are the strengths of telemarketing?

Immediate feedback – we can find a lot of reasons to include a prospect in a campaign – they may be in the right role, the right industry or the right size company. They may be a perfect prospect or they may also be very happy with their existing services, product or provider. Managing the feedback on a company and contact level will mean you can include or exclude them down the track. Either way a conversation will qualify where they are at.

People respond to people – good quality conversations are memorable. In an increasingly digital world having a warm, intelligent conversation with a clever person means something. Not every person is happy to speak to a telemarketer but knowing when to stop talking and say thank you for your time goes a long way.

Measurable – A well-crafted telemarketing campaign will include enough call activity to adequately cover the contacts. Detailed campaign reporting will give you the ROI metrics to validate whether the campaign was a success. It is important to look at the campaign outcomes and assess the value of each. A lead, nurture, email opt-in and new contact are a few that can be measured.

Tangible and intangible benefits – Telemarketing campaigns are outcome orientated. Whether you are looking to build a sales pipeline or maximize RSVPs for an event you can learn a lot from the conversations your telemarketers have. Thinking broadly about what insights would help you – who influences decisions (internal stakeholders; external thought leaders); established systems and the relationships that support them; pressure coming from the business for change – and you can get much more than you expect from the call.

Activity can be adjusted quickly – Test marketing campaigns are not as prevalent in B2B activities. The pressure to get campaigns executed in as shortest possible time, as cost-effectively as possible, makes testing, assessing and campaign adjustment more a theory than a practicality. With telemarketing support you can assess if the messaging is resonating. If it isn’t connecting you can update it.

Validates your data – data quality is a huge issue for most companies. Outbound telemarketing activity is often restricted to prospects but as customer contacts change over time don’t underestimate the value of including customers.

What are the weaknesses of telemarketing?

Data – Unfortunately most companies neglect data. Customer data responsibility can be shared across a business – finance & administration; service; sales & marketing; senior leadership teams etc. Keeping the contact data up to date is rarely a proactive task.  Where the activity is targeting new contacts you are challenged with renting, buying or building the campaign contact data list.

Quality of telemarketer – First impressions matter. Depending on how prepared your tele teams are you can either make a good impression or a bad impression. There is a tendency to value cost over quality and outsource telemarketing to an offshore provider is not always the best option.

Singular purpose of the call – where a telemarketer is measured or remunerated by the number of leads they identify there is a tendency for optimism. The way ‘leads’ are defined varies widely from provider to provider. A focus only on leads overlooks the invaluable intelligence an open ended conversation can reveal with an influencer or decision maker in a targeted customer.

Impatience – an important contact, be they a client or a prospect, is hard to get hold of. They either actively avoid you or they are in meetings, travelling or any combination of reasons. If you have selected the company as a prospect or if they have selected you as a client, you should ensure you include enough touches to get through. Two attempts to a C-level executive is very optimistic.

Lead management process – A disconnect between sales and marketing will result in business opportunity being wasted. Clear definition of the role sales and marketing play including agreement on lead definition; SLAs on lead follow up; timely feedback on lead quality and pre-defined next steps will improve campaign success.

There is no hard & fast rule on whether internal, external or a combination of both works best for B2B organisations. An experienced B2B lead generation agency like MIH can help you to organise everything you need to carry out a successful telemarketing campaign. We’ve had some great telemarketing and lead generation successes for clients. Talk to us today.

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