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Pete Winter

Written by:

Pete Winter

Jan 23, 2012

The Death of Telemarketing


Thinking about using the services of a telemarketing company to sell your services? If so, here are three things you need to be aware of:

1. Telemarketing is not just about making the call

The telemarketing companies may have promised that they can bring you in lots of business, purely by making the calls. They may have assured you that they - or you - don’t need to do anything else. However, by using an inbound marketing strategy to connect your telesales with other marketing activities, you could actually see a much better return.

2. Your telemarketing campaign is not just about a list
However great the telemarketing companies say their lists are, they are just lists. Have the telemarketing companies told you where the information has come from, how up to date it is and whether they have additional data that will make your cold calls convert into customers? Your telemarketing campaign is not just about a list – it’s about a list that is targeted, segmented and up to date.

3. Telemarketing is personal
Those telemarketing companies may have promised high volume calls, but are they prepared to take an individual approach with each one of your prospects? With more insight into each prospect and a script that reflects what’s important to them, you could see a much higher return.

What’s changed with telemarketing?

Telemarketing or telesales is a familiar part of the business marketing armoury. For many years, it has been viewed as an important resource to bring in new business - either in-house or on an outsourced basis. Yet, used on its own, telemarketing has proven to be both costly and time consuming. In a recent LinkedIn survey of UK businesses, just 14% of companies surveyed stated that they had used telemarketing. A surprising 95% of these said they had found it only moderately effective or not effective in creating new leads. The survey also showed that just 8% of companies asked said that they plan to use telemarketing in the future. 

The cold call is a fact of everyday life. With British consumers receiving an average of six cold calls a month at home, three-quarters of people want cold calling to be banned, according to a recent survey (Source: Which). Both domestic and business prospects are becoming increasingly resistant to the lure of the cold call, however well delivered. This means that creating new leads from cold calling is becoming more challenging and time consuming. With telemarketing usually undertaken via a contacts database, it can often be ineffective and yield a poor return on the time and money spent on it. As a marketing activity, telemarketing is very time-heavy for businesses to undertake in-house - whilst proving costly to maintain on an outsourced basis.

So, does this mean the death of telemarketing?

Transforming your telemarketing returns

The answer to the previous question is - no, not when it’s done right. There are some key things that businesses can do to improve their telemarketing ROI:

Connect and combine to create business

Telemarketing on its own is less than likely to work effectively. But use it as part of an inbound marketing approach and you can make your cold calling strategy much more effective - and reduce your overall costs. This means combining your telemarketing activity with your marketing across all the other channels. Instead of starting cold, you can start to connect with people on Twitter or Facebook, for example, and then develop that relationship through your telemarketing. Integrate your marketing activities so that they support and complement each other, rather than seeing telemarketing as a separate offshoot of your overall marketing approach.

One recent survey showed that 66% of consumers surveyed indicated that "consistent and relevant communication provided by both sales and marketing organizations" is a key influence in choosing a solution provider (Source: Genius.com).

By connecting up your entire approach, you can create a longer and more profitable sales cycle. Nurtured leads have been found to yield a 9% larger average deal size than an unnurtured lead. Creating a stronger sales cycle could follow, for example, the pattern of going right through from linking with a prospect via social media, to taking them to a landing page to an offer of an eGuide, then to automated lead nurturing messages to continue to warm up the contact - creating a potential customer who is interested in knowing more about your product or service in a more permission-based way. Leads nurtured in this strategic way have been found to have a 23% shorter sales cycle (Source: Market2Lead).

Why call a stranger when you can call a potential customer?

Why cold call people who have no interest in what you’re selling? Do this on a mass scale and you’re looking at a serious drain on cash and time. Use an inbound marketing approach to gain up to date intelligence on your prospects instead of using outdated lists. Inbound marketing gives you advanced analytics that show you the entire customer journey from first touch to first sale - and well beyond. Inbound marketing technology also supports your approach with a leads dashboard showing potential new customers at individual level, plus lead scoring technology to prioritise who you contact first. So, instead of phoning up cold with little or no information, you have intelligence that gives you a clear insight into each prospect you’re contacting and how to win them over. You can also use inbound marketing to help segment the people you want to reach into different industries, interests and other categories, all helping to make your approach more targeted.

Prepare a script - not a spiel

The added intelligence you can gain from using inbound marketing alongside your telemarketing allows you to communicate more effectively with your prospect once you’re speaking to them. You can apply your insight about them and about information they may have looked at already on your website and adapt your script to better meet their needs and business pains.

The phone call is just the beginning

Many companies opt for telemarketing as a one-off blast when sales are dwindling. Their focus (understandably) begins and ends with that phone call. But what if the phone call was just the beginning? It is really, when you start to consider your potential customer’s buying cycle, instead of only your selling process. Applying inbound marketing approaches allows you to keep every type of lead in the loop. Connecting up your marketing activities, you can send prospects further information and continue to nurture them towards selecting your product or service – when they are ready to. Instead of them resisting your phone calls and never speaking to you again. You can also use inbound marketing to link up your telesales more cleverly with your offline activity, such as using dedicated URLs for exhibitions

Is telemarketing dying? On the contrary. Backed up by the added intelligence and more qualified leads provided by inbound marketing, telemarketing can now provide a better ROI to business.

Three ways to make telemarketing pay

Telemarketing does offer a return to businesses when it’s done right. But many companies rely on the old way of doing things - even though the way people connect and communicate with brands has changed for good. Here are three ways to make your telemarketing pay:

  • Get up to date intelligence

Check your intelligence. How much do you actually know about your prospect? How much more effective could your telesales be with the additional insight provided through an inbound marketing approach?

  • Connect up your marketing

It’s called telemarketing so why keep it separate from the rest of your marketing activities? Increase the impact of your telesales by linking it up both with offline and online marketing approaches.

  • Go beyond the phone call

Create a broader reach and greater impact for your telesales by going beyond the phone call. Create a plan to act fast on the prospect responses you get and keep your potential customers in the loop, whatever stage of the buying cycle they are at.

Ensure you are delivering an exceptional customer experience beyond the telephone with our Customer Experience Audit now! 

Topics: Inbound Marketing Lead Generation

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