Let’s not get bogged down in the endless telemarketing-is-dead-vs-alive debate that’s been raging for years now. It’s worth pointing out that all throughout this time, while its supporters and detractors continue to argue with each other, telemarketing has remained among the most effective tools for generating leads. That should tell us something about whether or not telemarketing has really outlived its usefulness.
It’s worth pointing out, though, that telemarketing hasn’t exactly been enjoying a sterling reputation among many of the persons at the other end of phone calls: the decision-makers.
In fact, according to one study, about 72% of cold calls tend to be flat-out rejections.
But therein lies the main issue: it’s not telemarketing itself that’s the problem. Instead, it’s how it’s being misused that’s inflating its spammy reputation. Telemarketing is still very much a useful tool, but it needs to move past the antiquated cold calling, spray-and-pray tactics in order to keep up with the changing marketing and sales landscape.
The buying cycle is evolving.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past 10 years, it’s hard to miss the signs that the way B2B buyers make their purchases has changed. The buying process has become longer and more nonlinear.
For instance, buyers are increasingly taking a more active role in finding out about solutions to their business problems, and they’re only likely to talk to sales at later stages of the buying cycle. Also, companies with 100 to 500 employees tend to have as many as 7 different people involved in the buying decision.
Clearly, dialing numbers from a list at random and delivering the same message over and over again simply won’t cut it in this environment.
Information abounds, but insight is at a premium.
Each day, we generate nearly 3 quintillion bytes (that’s 3 followed by 18 zeros) of new data. But only a tiny fraction of this will actually turn into insights that help us make better decisions and better leads.
The same thing can be said of most decision-makers ‘ situation when dealing with vendors.
Almost 60% of buyers report that sales reps are unable to adequately answer their questions, while about 42% of reps feel they don’t have enough information before making calls.
Telemarketing should be used as a platform for delivering actionable insights that help your target decision-makers reach informed buying choices. Use these effective profiling tools to eliminate unwanted data.
Telemarketing is just one piece of the puzzle.
Another key trend that should shape how you use telemarketing is the increasing adoption of so-called “multichannel” marketing strategies (combining the strengths of different marketing channels to achieve a common goal). It has proven effective in the software industry.
Telemarketing, when combined with other tools, shows some very promising results. For instance, you’re 1.7 times more likely to close an appointment with a prospect if you’re in the same LinkedIn group than if you aren’t. Also, the power of emails makes it an ideal tool for improving call response rates when used as an initial touch point.
The numbers speak for themselves. Telemarketing is no longer a stand-alone tool. It’s now part of an ecosystem designed to accompany decision-makers in their buying journey.
In stark contrast to the statistic cited earlier that 72% of cold calls tend to fall flat, a survey of more than 1,000 senior executives has found that 75% of respondents say they have agreed to an appointment and attended an event that came from a cold call or email.
This really builds the case that telemarketing’s spammy reputation is highly undeserved. But, in order for this channel to rebuild its tarnished status, we also have to rethink the way we use it.