Start by making sure your telemarketing campaigns are part of a comprehensive marketing strategy.
The word telemarketing has the ability to make some people cringe. Associated with traditional outreach methods of days past, telemarketing for many is synonymous with harassment, scams, and fraud. Nevertheless, telemarketing outreach is still a go-to method for B2B marketers that is difficult to avoid; but in today’s digital age, does it still work?
The answer is yes and no. It works if it is used as part of a holistic outreach program. It works if it is done by people who know their stuff. It works if you’re patient and take your time to nurture prospects (both on and offline) before pushing the conversation to the next level. It doesn’t work if it’s done using the techniques that many offshore call centers typically deploy — that is to bombard the same prospects over and over again with call after call made by low-level people reading a script.
Telemarketing needs to be given a make-over; methods need to be upgraded and outreach conducted to fit into a bigger marketing picture, one where the customer is at the center and can choose how and when to be contacted. So how can we do that? Here are some tips to ensure that calling prospects will work:
Train your telemarketers well
Whether you have an internal team or outsource your telemarketing to an external provider, you need to make sure that the outbound callers are well trained and can hold a high-level discussion with a decision-maker without relying on a script. In addition to technical understanding is the ability to connect with the prospect in a peer-to-peer conversation. One of the most important elements of any call is the ability to react according to the “body language” that the person you’re calling is giving off. But how can you do this if you can’t see the other person? Easy — you can hear it in their voice. You can tell when a person is just trying to be polite, when they are pressed for time, or not really listening; tune into those cues! Ignoring them will only disinterest your prospect more. In addition, it should make the leads you identify of higher quality. How’s that you say? Well, think about it — the fastest way for a prospect to get you off the phone is to say yes. But a yes doesn’t mean that a prospect is an actual sales opportunity. By being in-tune with your prospect’s cues, you should be able to distinguish between genuine interest and an “I just want you to go away” one. Making sure your callers are well-trained to know the difference will make all the difference to your sales pipeline.
Incorporate telemarketing into a holistic marketing plan
Relying only on telemarketing as your main source of leads is like going to a restaurant only to order dessert, and foregoing the rest of the meal. Or like going line fishing when you really need a large net. By implementing a viable inbound strategy that complements your outbound one, you should be able to get a steady stream of leads that can be nurtured both on and offline. Having a holistic approach to marketing and using a variety of tactics including telemarketing is the best way to get the most bang for your buck.
Know your buyer personas
By knowing your buyer personas like the back of your hand, you can create tailored pitches that speak directly to your audience. Knowing their roles within the organizations that they work for will help you deduct pain points or challenges that your solution may help resolve. The better you know your target audience, the easier it will be for you to convince them of your value proposition. When your telemarketers speak the lingo of your prospects, they will be much more effective at winning them over.
Make e-mail marketing and social selling part of your nurture program
It is unrealistic to think that one cold call is all it takes to identify a sales-ready business opportunity. Usually, several calls are needed and most prospects will ask you to send them more information by email before going further in the discussion. Using personalized emails to follow up an initial contact is a nice way to keep the conversation going. Always include a call-to-action in each message and several links where a prospect can access additional information or valuable content. Social selling is a fantastic way to boost the effects of telemarketing — in fact, by using social selling before an initial cold call, you’ll set the groundwork in motion so that the prospect is effectively “warmed up.” You don’t want to rely solely on telemarketing to nurture prospects because calling them time and time again will only get them annoyed if they are not ready to move forward in a sales cycle. By using a combination of social selling and email marketing in addition to spot-basis telemarketing, you’ll increase your chances of getting your message heard.
Telemarketing works if it’s done right. Relationship building is key to any successful sales program and phone discussions need to be part of that. This year, think of how you can incorporate telemarketing best practices into a holistic outreach program both on and offline to get the most value for your efforts.