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  • Tracey Twynham

Telemarketing – the lockdown era

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us many things and made us live our lives in an extremely unusual way. It has changed our mental and physical responses to situations, it has made us reassess our futures as well as our relationships with one another and with the way we work. Our work life balance and our approach to our very existence has been irretrievably altered – to some extent for the better and to some extent for the worse. What we can say with great assurance is that life won’t ever be the same again. The phrase ‘new normal’ is vastly overused, but accurate. We’re learning to live in a different world, almost a parallel universe.

From the smallest day to day changes to large scale governmental and societal disruption, Covid-19 will leave its scars on humanity. But we're not going to take on that subject in this blog. We’re taking a much less expansive look at the pandemic’s effect on B2B marketing and telemarketing in particular.

Prior to the pandemic many thought that telemarketing was on the decline, becoming a dying branch of marketing. The digital arena was in the ascendancy and speaking to actual human beings rather than bots was seen as terribly old hat. As a marketing services agency that proudly boasts telemarketing as one of the key pillars of the varied marketing campaigns we deliver for clients, we have always maintained the effectiveness of telemarketing. We believe people buy people, that conversation is king, and that human-to-human contact is the most effective way to build and maintain strong relationships. If your aim is to develop compelling, multi-touch marketing campaigns, telemarketing is a vital weapon in your arsenal. Alongside digital and direct marketing telemarketing still means business and still gets results.

How has Covid-19 affected the use of telemarketing?

Not long after we locked down (the first time) we wrote a blog about telemarketing proving highly effective for home working environment. Our call room agents relocated to home offices, continued to make calls, and actually talked to people. Yes, they were getting through and having conversations. No gatekeepers, few voicemails, and no daunting receptionists. In the first eight weeks of lockdown, productivity on telemarketing campaigns was high and results even higher; CPB UK generated leads which resulted in £1.5 million worth of pipeline for our customers.

We believe telemarketing proved so fruitful because CPB’s database contains a large number of mobile phone numbers giving us the confidence that we can get hold of the right people and active decision makers. It is our data that sets us apart and gives us the capacity to return the following impressive results (and pipeline) for our customers.

  • 3,000+ sales opportunities qualified

  • £5m+ value (to date) of converted won business leads

  • £5.4m of live pipeline, that’s still bubbling away and waiting to be won

Telemarketing isn’t about closing sales, it’s how you open relationships. It’s about having in-depth knowledge of your product, understanding how it can solve your customers’ challenges and applying this knowledge to build relationships and meet their needs.

How You Can Open Relationships with Expert Telemarketing

Picking up the telephone is still one of the most effective lead generation tools in technology telemarketing. Yes, we know all about the benefits of social and digital, however, much of marketing is about basics and building a rapport through human-to-human contact.

Telemarketing makes a significant impact and is a vital component of an integrated multi-touch, account-based marketing solution. Talking helps to open doors and build relationships. It helps to develop trust and raises brand awareness. In this competitive age, to win new customers you need a unique differentiator.

Conversation is King

Talking to prospects is the best way to discover exactly how you can meet their needs. It’s not just about content, we believe it’s about conversation. Contact people when, where and how they prefer; making communications personal and relevant results in better ROI. Speaking to qualified contacts enables CPB UK to nurture prospects through the sales funnel quickly and proactively, resulting in rapid pipeline results.

Pandemic telemarketing – the peaks and troughs

Now you’re convinced about the merits of telemarketing in a multi-touch approach, we’d like to add a little extra flavour to the pot by highlighting the extent to which we have seen telemarketing dynamics change during the pandemic and how telemarketing has proved its value.

CPB was lucky that its database contained a large number of direct dial and mobile phone numbers. As switchboards closed and it was harder to get through to contacts on main phone numbers, our telemarketing agents were able to up the ante and to get straight to the decision makers. CPB UK did not rely on switchboards and gatekeepers, we were able to continue to generate leads for our clients by using the direct dial and mobile numbers we have spent years gathering.

This graph shows the change in contactability of switchboards and the subsequent rise in direct dials and mobile contact from the end of Q4 2019. From Q1 2020 the ability to contact people via switchboards fell off a cliff. Hitting a low in Q3, we saw a modest improvement towards the end of last year but, with the advent of lockdown 3, a tailing off again during the first part of 2021. In contrast we saw the opposite reaction to the use of direct dials and mobile phones. Offices may have closed but remote working was taking off and CPB UK capitalized on its data to get through to the right people and maintain a high level of lead generation, pipeline creation and sales conversions. Our data gives us access to:

  • 55,000+ direct dials and mobile numbers

  • 200,000+ IT end-user email addresses

With restrictions easing, we expect to see people returning to office environments and that getting through to decision makers via their central switchboard will once again become a route to contacting prospects. This leaves agencies with a powerful mix of direct dial, mobile and central switchboard data in a very strong position.

Telemarketing lessons we won’t forget

The key to CPB UK’s telemarketing success has been the depth of intelligence in our data, meaning that when switchboards shut, we had 2 alternative methods through which to contact prospects. Our lead generation efforts were not stymied by poor data with no depth. Our regular database cleansing also stood us in good stead as we knew we had accurate data that could be relied upon.

As we approach the summer months, where some experience a slump in sales, we will be making best use of this intelligent data to ensure we can continue to get through to the key decision makers; working from home is not a barrier. Our data in one of our key strengths and it has been this that has allowed us to continue to deliver successful marketing campaigns through the pandemic, resulting in impressive sales and ROI for our clients.


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