Do you use telemarketing in your lead generation efforts? How satisfied are you with your process? Which techniques can you use to boost the effectiveness of your calls and improve ROI right away?
These questions and more are answered in a new survey from telemarketing vendor TeleNet Marketing Solutions. The firm polled a group of B-to-B technology marketers on their approach to telemarketing and came up with some exclusive new data that we looked at first and that you can apply immediately.
“We wanted to make sure as a provider ourselves that we are always looking for ways to improve our processes and best practices, using the latest information that’s out there in the marketplace,” says Kathy Rizzo, VP Marketing, TeleNet.
TeleNet analyzed the results by comparing responses from the entire field with a select group singled out as “best-in-class” telemarketers. These marketers demonstrate what Rizzo says are two critical characteristics of a successful telemarketing operation:
- Ability to directly track and report ROI from telemarketing efforts.
- Overall satisfaction with that ROI and the quality of leads from the channel.
Based on that comparison, Rizzo and her team found several differences in the way best-in-class marketers and the average respondent approach their telemarketing strategy. We spoke with Rizzo to highlight specific areas of telemarketing that you can examine to improve your lead generation.
Here are five data charts and her top tips:
-> Tip #1. Establish a formal communication process with sales
The ultimate success of telemarketing campaigns depends on your sales team’s ability to work with the leads you pass along. It’s essential that marketing and sales be partners in the planning, execution and follow-up measurement of a telemarketing campaign.
Having a strong relationship with the sales team, including a formal feedback and communication process, was a big differentiator between best-in-class marketers and the rest of the survey group:
o 63.6% of best-in-class marketers said they had a strong relationship with sales
o 20.6% of the remaining group said they had a strong relationship with sales
A formal communication process can take many forms, depending on the size of your organization. It should combine:
- Data-driven analysis -- weekly or monthly reports pulled from your CRM system to show what happened with telemarketing leads passed on to the sales team.
- Dialogue between sales and marketing team members -- weekly or monthly conference calls with key team members to discuss results, propose approaches for future telemarketing campaigns, and share insights on new conditions in the field.
-> Tip #2. Measure sales acceptance of leads
Another reason to establish a formal communication process with your sales team is to collect detailed data on the acceptance rate of the leads you pass along.
The vast majority of best-in-class marketers said they track sales acceptance in addition to overall ROI:
o 88.0% of best-in-class marketers track sales acceptance of leads
o 32.7% of other marketers track sales acceptance of leads
Simply calculating which leads are accepted by sales and which aren’t isn’t enough, though. A good lead-tracking system should also collect information on why the sales team rejected the lead.
- Some leads may be rejected for legitimate reasons -- the prospect’s budget evaporating between telemarketing qualification and a sales person’s follow-up call.
- Other leads may be rejected for logistical reasons -- failure to make contact with the prospect. In cases like that, marketers can establish a policy that sends leads back into a marketing process, rather than letting a previously qualified lead simply evaporate.
-> Tip #3. Examine your use of telemarketing for specific goals
Most marketers use telemarketing to qualify leads generated through other campaigns or to register attendees for events and webinars.
The survey asked best-in-class marketers to specify their uses for telemarketing:
o 90.9% said they use telemarketing for cold calling
o 72.7% said they use telemarketing to qualify leads
o 45.5% said they use telemarketing to register attendees for events
o 61.5% of other marketers said they use telemarketing for cold calling
o 53.8% said they use telemarketing for lead qualification
o 23.1% said they use telemarketing for event registration
Here, we can see that the much-maligned technique of cold calling is actually a prominent component of a well-organized telemarketing strategy. Despite cold calling’s bad reputation among sales and marketing professionals, MarketingSherpa’s own research has also shown that the technique can be very effective.
In the 2007-08 Business Technology Benchmark Guide, prospects were asked whether they responded to vendor cold calls:
o 53% of decision makers said a cold call resulted in a vendor being added to their list or database for consideration
o 40% said they invited a vendor to provide additional information
o 39% said that a vendor was invited to pitch their products in person
So, if you’ve been skipping cold calling in favor of other telemarketing goals, it may be time to reconsider the technique. According to Rizzo, a successful cold-calling campaign should:
- Start with a well-defined, targeted list, such as a specific industry vertical or job description.
- Use a message specifically geared toward that industry or audience, highlighting a unique pain point and describing specific benefits your company can provide.
“If you think cold calling is just picking up the phone, getting the Yellow Pages and going through a list of names, that’s not targeted enough,” says Rizzo.
-> Tip #4. Include print collateral in your telemarketing follow-up
Telemarketing campaigns typically include email follow-up in the communication mix. But when the survey asked marketers what type of media they integrate into their telemarketing strategy, best-in-class marketers showed a higher use of print media in addition to email communications:
o 63.6% of best-in-class marketers use both email and direct mail in their telemarketing campaigns
o 38.2% of other marketers said they use both print and direct mail
To incorporate direct mail in your telemarketing strategy, Rizzo recommends marketers consider a customized print mailer program. Such programs allow the telemarketing team to create print materials specifically targeted to qualified prospects based on information they collect during a phone conversation.
-> Tip #5. Focus first on the quality of your telemarketing leads
The survey asked marketers to indicate their satisfaction with eight aspects of their telemarketing strategy, including the quality of campaigns, the quantity of telemarketing they do and their lead distribution strategy.
A clear difference between best-in-class marketers and the rest of the group emerged:
o Only 9.1% of best-in-class marketers said the quality of their telemarketing campaigns needed improvement
o 51.4% of other marketers said their telemarketing quality needed improvement
This discrepancy leads Rizzo to suspect that a lack of quality in the data or leads being generated by telemarketing campaigns is a big reason why many marketers surveyed were unsatisfied with their overall marketing approach -- keeping them out of the best-in-class group.
Focusing first on improving the quality of your lists, scripts and the leads they generate can help you solidify your overall telemarketing strategy. From that position of strength, you can then move on to tackle more advanced techniques, such as the development of a comprehensive lead-nurturing program. Useful links related to this article
PDF Download of the complete report:http://www.telenetmarketing.com/news_release/pdf/16/How_Do_You_Compare__TeleNet_Marketing_Survey_Results.pdf
TeleNet Marketing Solutions: