Posted by : Amanda Stein Monday, February 25, 2013
Another way to influence what your clients think about you is to talk to them directly. In recent years telemarketing has earned itself a bad name; foreign call centres, boiler room fraud, unprofessional, untrained and poorly motivated call centre agents driven by automatic dialing machines have made the industry (especially the business to consumer field) particularly unpopular. However, a well-trained motivated force of operators can grace your business to business campaigns with a professional, knowledgeable and engaging edge.
With identity theft and fraud being perennial media concern at the moment, contacting customers can be problematic. If you are a financial entity, telemarketing might be something you want to pull out of the toolbox when it comes to generating and qualifying leads, appointment booking and dealing with other corporates.
When it comes to lead generation for your businesses finding the right call centre is all important. It could be said that thanks to all the poor call centres which thrived in the 90s and 2000s now closing down the field has been left open to those which provide the best, most professional service. But what should you look for when you’re thinking about launching a B2B lead generation programme?
In this era of web 2.0 many internet marketing agencies will tell you how important it is to engage with your clients, offer them richness on your website and encourage them to get involved. However, while driving traffic and hits to your site, you’re not really engaging with your customer base, not in the same way that a telephone conversation would.
Your outreach campaign should take a number of different avenues. An e-marketing campaign can provide measureable results; you can see how many people are reading your mailouts, how many are clicking on the links that your press contains and then how many of those visitors convert to purchasers, however, a follow-up call behind a mailout, be that in hard copy or email, can reinforce brand awareness and interest.
That’s just one thing that a well-targeted business to business telemarketing campaign can do.
We expect those in the business community to be online 27/7. What with the explosion of mobile devices, Blackberry and iPhone, we tend to think that everyone is online all the time. Unfortunately, for many businesses this simply isn’t the case so building a fantastic website is all well and good but what if your ideal client just isn’t going to see it? You need to find another way to reach them. A traditional pamphlet campaign or mailshot might reach them if they tend to look at circulars and have time to read your marketing material. Better than to approach the lead directly, over the phone, to identify a need, a decision maker and the budget that they have available.
Speaking of direct mail, how do you pitch it? Do you send a glossy mailout with plenty of images, funky language and contemporary catchwords and jargon? Or is it better to approach the subject in a more formal manner outlining what your company does without frivolity? Both can be effective in their place but can you afford to create a separate set of materials for each potential lead prior to mailing? A call centre operator can judge the required tone to take with a contact in seconds of their picking up the receiver and adapt accordingly, getting down with one contact while speaking with the utmost formality to the next. A human voice allows you the adaptability that printed or otherwise disseminated material cannot. It’s that adaptability and understanding which makes B2B telephone lead generation and qualification unarguably the most flexible means of connecting with future clients.
It’s not just cold calling and lead generation that business to business telephony can help with either. As well as boosting sales, a well-executed and targeted survey can be conducted which, rather than traditional surveys, offers quantifiable, checkable results from people you decide upon. If you have a list of clients and business partners from whom you would like to elicit a response you may, or, alternatively the agency you choose may have directories of companies and individuals who approve of taking telephone surveys, are not registered with the Telephone Preference Service, who can be segregated down into the demographics your survey needs to know about.
Is There An Art To A Successful Telemarketing Campaign?
There isn’t any science behind a successful telemarketing campaign, people respond differently to callers depending on the day, the time of day and their approach. However, while there is no way to tell before dialing which is going to be a good call, there are rules that you should follow to make sure that your campaign goes as smoothly as possible.
Data Is Everything
Getting the best, highest quality data is simply core and key to any good campaign. Calling the wrong department and asking for the wrong person is a waste of time and frustrating for everyone. Instead, avoid cost cutting and ensure that all the contact details are as accurate and up to date as possible. Make sure that your contacts haven’t registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or the Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS). You can do this with the data from your own research or ask that the telemarketing agency you choose do it for you.
Choose The Right Agency
There are small agencies who offer a dedicated service, speaking directly to key decision makers or there are large call centres that resemble battery farms where the operators know nothing of your requirements or your company beyond what is on their script. If an agency prides itself on their scripts, beware! Following a script to produce a quantifiable result isn’t the same as engaging in conversation to identify leads and needs.
Experience And Enthusiasm
The agency you choose should offer you experienced staff who know how to deal with people. Many telemarketing agencies employ temps and part time college and university students. While these people can be as professional as anyone, many are undertrained and only see the time they spend at work as a means to getting paid - it’s not their career. If they’re paid on commission they won’t care about the quality of the leads they generate or the appointments that they book.
Sharing Means Growing
If you’ve run telemarketing campaigns in the past it’s good practice to share your previous results with anybody new looking at what you’ve achieved and how you did it. Did you get what you were after? Were you happy with the way the campaign was conducted? If you can identify what you were happy about and what you would change in future it gives your new agency a good starting point to plan their campaign for you.
Identifying Quality Calling
You should be able to check on the quality of the calls that your contacts are receiving. Relying on the in-house quality control may be good enough for you, knowing that a supervisor is listening in to random calls that their operators are making or you may wish to hear random recorded calls for yourself. As well as quality control this can also help you identify gaps in knowledge where further training might be required or even data that could be captured which hadn’t occurred to you until you hear how the conversations go. Together with quality of the calls, checking back can also afford you stats such as the number of quality contacts made, call times and appointment percentage rates. Important when assessing the ROI of your telemarketing campaign.
Is Your Campaign Cost Effective?
Keeping costs down is uppermost in anybody’s minds, not only today but under any circumstances. However, is going for the cheapest quote going to afford you the results you are looking for? Will fabulously low rates mean that this agency is cutting corners or hiding extra costs, say charging you extra for reports, additional data and quality control? Do their staff earn a living wage or are they paid badly and required to make up their earnings through commissions? If that’s the case their motivation won’t be to deliver quality, but quantity, however worthless.
Cooperation And Communication
Once your campaign is underway you should feel that you are still able to steer it. To achieve this you need to be able to rely on your agency to be responsive, while they are working for you they are a part of your team so you should be able to discuss problems or snags openly with one another. If you need to re-set parameters in order to qualify leads and appointments you should. Equally, if your operators consistently come across the same snags they should be able to report that back to you to see if there are objectives you can reassess.
Amy Fry writes about various topics including personal finances, health and lead generation. For more information about B2B lead generation program visit http://www.marketmakers.co.uk/ or http://offers.hubspot.com/
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