Telemarketing specialist, Ian Heslop, talks strategies in B2B direct marketing.
Since the 1970’s in business-to-business marketing, telemarketing continues to be the most cost-effective way to reach a target. As the industry evolves, telemarketing is becoming more scientific than ever.
Ian Heslop, Director of Operations at Velocitii, has been in the telemarketing industry for over ten years. Throughout this time, he’s learned that while it’s inevitable that some people will refuse to take the calls, there’s plenty of planning that B2B marketers can do on their end to optimize their calling strategies.
Marketing before the call improves results.
Before telemarketing, it’s worth doing front-loaded research to get the best possible data about the profile you’re targeting. When telemarketers make calls, they need to know exactly whom they’re talking with to be able to engage them in the conversation.
To drive sales revenue and gain qualified leads, it helps to have a fully integrated direct marketing campaign. This could include a number of direct marketing components–such as direct mail or email.
Pairing telemarketing with a direct mail piece could make your calling more successful because there’s something to reference during the call. If you send an interesting mail piece, it’s likely that they will remember it and be more willing to talk. “If they’re interested, you can engage them immediately. If they’re neutral, you can still try. And if they’re not interested, they’ll be direct about it,” said Heslop
In addition to a memorable communication piece, it’s just as important to engage prospects by giving them an offer they can’t refuse. Heslop said that some of his clients offer a $25 Amazon® gift card for completing a demo. Offers like this can have a very positive outcome and improve the performance of your campaign.
Brand awareness is key.
There’s an overall brand component that comes with telemarketing. According to Nielson research, 60% of global consumers prefer to buy new products from familiar brands rather than switch to a new brand. This can become a challenge for startup brands looking to telemarket.
“One of the biggest obstacles is working with companies who don’t have a well-known brand,” said Heslop. “While it’s possible to introduce your brand over a call, it’s much more effective to do it with a direct mail or additional communication piece.
It’s helpful to create awareness before beginning a telemarketing campaign. While this can be done through direct mail or email, another practical way is by attending tradeshows. In B2B, this is ideal because you can be seen by hundreds and thousands of people in a similar or identical industry.
“There’s nothing more effective than having a face-to-face conversation in this type of environment,” said Heslop. “It’s all about making your brand known so that you can directly market your products better.”
Use the correct data and people.
With that said, it’s important that your telemarketers act as an extension of your brand. According to Heslop, this is a big change the telemarketing industry is moving toward. Since prospects are apprehensive to trust new brands, it’s important to hire telemarketers with the correct skill set to reflect the brand in their calling.
“The level of industry and technical knowledge you need to successfully have a conversation with the decision maker is pretty vast,” said Heslop. “It’s never foolproof, but the correct people behind the phone with the best data can make or break your success.”
Follow up before it’s too late.
Timing is everything in telemarketing. However, often it can be hard to determine when is the best time to follow up after sending a direct mail piece or email. According to Heslop, following up with telemarketing all depends on giving the communication piece enough time to reach its destination.
If you’re sending a direct mail piece, Heslop suggests at least 5 days–and if you’re sending an email, it’s best to call the day of or the next day to assure it’s still fresh in the prospect’s inbox. Between calls, Heslop recommends 10 days before calling again.
When it comes to dealing with prospects who are hard to reach, you just have to keep trying. “Telemarketing requires tenacity,” said Heslop. “The key is to reach someone who is an influencer, someone who can drive the decision maker to make a decision.”
Telemarketing calls for strategy.
Taking everything into account, telemarketing requires a great deal of time and effort for everyone involved. More than just the call itself, there’s plenty of work that needs to be done on the business end in order to improve telemarketing performance. From collecting the right data to buying the best list, strategy should be considered from the very start.