Telemarketing benefits? In this digital age?! Yes!
Telemarketing may be associated with a traditional approach to marketing, but it’s certainly not old hat. It has many benefits, including encouraging more natural, flowing interactions which develop trust. Try to forget the associations with harassment, scams, and fraud; credible B2B telemarketing, delivered professionally as part of a wider marketing strategy, can and does work and is still a go-to method for B2B marketers.
Telemarketing may have become more difficult and gatekeepers are doing their best to kill the approach, but, in our experience, it is definitely not outdated. You just need the right approach, the right people and the right experience to deliver results. In the DMA’s Marketer Email Tracker 2019, email came out on top as the most important marketing channel (91%, followed by social media (83%), but interestingly telemarketing was named as the third-most important channel at 79%.
Telemarketing can help you develop positive and profitable customer relationships through which you’ll develop trust and brand loyalty. How?
Telemarketing can make prospects and customers feel more comfortable. Peer to peer discussions with knowledgeable individuals will develop better bonds than a stilted, script-driven conversations. To get this right you must:
- Make sure your telemarketing team knows your product/service inside out so you can answer any questions and provide reassurance
- Speak your prospect’s language
- Ensure you’re calling the right person, at the right time with the right information
For some, the big question remains, in today’s digital age, does telemarketing still work?
The answer is yes, and no. As we’ve already mentioned, telemarketing works if used as part of a holistic multi-touch marketing programme delivered by experts. It works if you acknowledge Rome wasn’t built in a day and take time to nurture your prospects, using a multi-channel approach. We admit that it doesn’t work if it’s done using inappropriate, broadcast, repetitive techniques that bore, irritate and offend recipients.
To continue being an important part of future marketing strategies, we all need to give telemarketing a break, and a makeover, in 2019. Methods should be upgraded, consideration given to fitting it into a bigger marketing strategy and most importantly, make sure that the customer is number one and all activity is customer-centric.
Telemarketing pros and cons
One of the main benefits of using telemarketing is that it allows you to create immediate rapport with your customers and gauge your customer’s level of interest in your product or service. Additionally, it allows you to:
- Provide an interactive and personal sale service
- Explain technical issues more clearly
- Generate leads and appointments
- Increase your geographical sales territory
- Sell to both existing and new customers
- Achieve results that are more measurable than some digital marketing approaches
Of course, there are some disadvantages, which we shouldn’t ignore. In particular, you need to consider that:
- Telemarketing has a negative image and can be resented, particularly B2C arena
- Data cleanliness can be dubious; ensure contacts have opted-in reducing the potential risk of breaking the law
- Buying data lists can be costly
- Having an internal call room is resource intensive in terms of recruitment, salaries, training, CPD and office space and facilities
Notwithstanding the potential negatives, telemarketing benefits still prove its pedigree. Here are some tips to ensure that calling prospects in 2019 will work:
- Train your telemarketers well: Whether you have an internal team or outsource to an external provider, you need to make sure that the outbound callers are well trained and can hold a high-level discussion without relying on a script. Technical understanding coupled with the ability to connect with prospects are vital.
- Incorporate telemarketing into a holistic multi-touch marketing plan: A holistic approach to marketing using a variety of tactics, including telemarketing, is the best way to get the best ROI.
- Know your buyer personas: Don’t underestimate the importance of creating tailored pitches that speak directly to your audience. Learning the roles they hold within the organizations they work for help you deduce challenges that your solution may help resolve. The better you know your prospect, the better conversations and results you will have.
- Define your audience: carry out desk-based research, including telephone profiling, to get the inside track on your prospects to help identify:
- Relevant contact credentials and buying personas
- Current IT environment and preferred suppliers
- Challenges and paint points
- Preferences, i.e. how they choose suppliers, what’s important to them from a supplier etc.
- Renewal dates
- IT decision making hierarchy
- Analyse your profiling findings
- Group contacts / companies with similar sales triggers or challenges into segments
- Remove any companies that you’ve profiled as unsuitable
- Underpin telemarketing with e-mail marketing and social nurturing: Personalized email and social follow-up is a positive way to keep any conversation going. Ensure you include a call-to-action and links to your website where prospects can access additional information or valuable content.
- Design personal & relevant, resonant communications
- Create personas to target individuals with personalised messaging
- Design content and value propositions to suit the profiled intelligence and audience segments
- Focus on the subject line and header not just the body of the email
- Test, test, test your despatch
- Monitor, nurture & engage
- Nurture contacts with further relevant communications
- Handover interactive contacts to the sales team for qualification
Fundamentally, telemarketing brings a bonanza of benefits.
Does it work? Yes, it works if it’s done right! Relationship building is key to any successful sales program and phone conversations need to be part of that. Get the basic right and use it as part of a strategic multi-touch marketing campaign and telemarketing will deliver the bonanza of benefits it has the capacity to promise.
The legal bit … in this current era, with GDPR n place and ePrivacy looming, we thought it would be prudent to add a postscript on the legal basis on which we can make marketing calls to businesses (courtesy of the ICO).
In the B2B arena the rules are the same as for calls to individuals. So, you can call any business that has specifically consented to your calls – for example, by ticking an opt-in box. You can also make live calls to any business number that is not registered on the TPS or the CTPS, but only if they haven’t objected to your calls in the past and you are not marketing claims management services. You should remember that some businesses (sole traders and some partnerships) register with the TPS, and others (companies, some partnerships and government bodies) register with the CTPS. For business-to-business (B2B) calls, you will therefore need to screen against both the TPS and the CTPS registers, as well as your own ‘do not call’ list. With reference to telemarketing, the text proposes prior consent for ALL electronic communications including live marketing calls. However, there is a provision allowing Member States to adopt an opt-out consent regime at a national level for telemarketing. This would mean the UK could keep its existing approach with the requirement to screen against the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The DMA supports maintaining the TPS as moving to an opt-in regime would not affect the rogue traders that already flout the law to make nuisance calls. There are specific additional requirements in the proposal for callers to display their phone number or to at least use a special prefix to indicate the call is for telemarketing purposes. Consumers must also be able to block such prefixes if they choose.