Most marketers would struggle to differentiate between Cold Calling, Prospecting and Telemarketing. Add Telesales into the mix and there’s even more confusion. The popularity of these B2B marketing tactics wax and wane over time, but it’s important to know what each brings to your business marketing mix.
Telemarketing has replaced telesales to become the standard term for the range of telephone marketing tactics used by most businesses. To get the best from a telephone campaign, it is important to understand their differences, their approach and when is the best time to use each tactic in your lead generation campaign.
Much like ‘marketing’, telemarketing can be used for a range of different activities, from:
- Communicating with your existing customers;
- Reengaging with lapsed or old customers;
- Speaking to prospective customers;
- Following up other marketing activities with prospects; or
- Identifying new business prospects that you’ve never contacted before.
The elements of Telemarketing are clearly quite different activities and when using a specific tactic in your B2B marketing mix, the following key distinctions will help determine the approach to use:
Cold calling is often what people think of when talking about telemarketing: calling someone out of the blue, without any knowledge about them or their interests in the product or service your selling, usually at a time that’s inconvenient. We’ve all been at the end of a cold call: usually from someone overseas while we’re trying to cook dinner.
However, cold calling has a place in a business marketing strategy. Targeting and planned cold calling (to a segmented list) can usually generate a larger database of new business prospects more quickly and more cost-effectively than other marketing activities. Using a trained telemarketer with experience, patience and the right demeanour to cold call can raise awareness and get your message across to prospective customers who may consider your business in the future. Don’t expect many sales from cold calling, but it’s a great way to fill your sales funnel.
Prospecting reduces the costs from finding new customers or generating interest in your product or service by identifying quality leads in your database for your sales team to work on and close. Prospecting lets people know more about what you have to offer and should engage them to some form of action: the next step in your sales funnel.
Prospecting can also be used to gather more information and data about your customers or prospects for more specific marketing and ultimates sales. A good telemarketing will gather qualifying information (when they’re likely to purchase the product or service you offer), nurture the lead with information about your business, and improve your brand reputation by setting expectations about how your company communicates, operates and acts.
There’s a range of ways to be more effective in your prospecting, but an open and honest approach to the call and person is often the most effective. Why are you calling them? Who is it that’s calling and what are they expected to do? You only have a few minutes (if that) to maintain their interest and get them to spend the time with you.
At The Lead Agency we try to include telemarketing as part of any comprehensive lead generation campaign. A well-planned and executed telemarketing program is the most effective and direct way of setting sales appointments, updating and completing prospect data, or generating interest and information for cross-selling opportunities. The results of any telemarketing campaign are also easily measurable.
Telemarketing can also provide considerable support to helping you achieve other aspects of your B2B marketing initiatives:
- Get in on the ground floor with a new customer
Ongoing, regular telemarketing is an effective and efficient lead nurturing tactic. Cold calling might help open a dialogue with a new prospect. However, that is often before your prospect has started their buying process. Regular telemarketing can help identify prospects and then continue to nurture those prospects until they’re ready for a sales person to close the deal.
- Generate data on your prospects and customers
We use telemarketing regularly to communicate with existing customers, or even customers who haven’t purchased for an extended period. Focusing on customer satisfaction enables you to determine how happy that customer is with your business and identify opportunities for upselling or cross-selling. At the same time, your telemarketing campaign can help complete more of the information necessary to turn a prospect into a sales lead. In the past we have found useful competitor data from prospects to help target a future sales promotion or approach.
- Build brand awareness
For most B2B marketing, b2b brand marketing campaigns are an extravagant cost that is difficult to justify. However telemarketing can be used for companies without a significant market presence as another way to enhance awareness and provide a positive brand experience of your company.