27 May 2015 Category: Blog
Telemarketing has some pretty negative connotations attached to it. Many of these myths and legends are as old as the hills, so it’s high time some were permanently dispelled. Many of the slurs against telemarketing are due, at least in part, to telemarketing’s younger and more aggressive sibling - B2C sales calls. Many of you will have received such calls and it makes sense that B2B has been tarred with the same brush, but it’s not entirely fair. Contacting the general public at home to sell them something as they sit down to dinner is a world apart from contacting businesses to promote products and services.
Tim Newman, Telemarketing Specialist
The Telemarketing Company
So, using The Telemarketing Company as an example, let’s prepare to bust some myths.
1) Young, Inexperienced and Flighty Staff
If you were asked to picture a call centre employee, what would he or she look like in your mind’s eye? Odds are you’re contemplating a younger individual with little or no qualifications and a killer hangover; he’s been in the job for three weeks and is already looking for new work.
The reality, especially in B2B telemarketing, is quite different. The average age of our telemarketing staff is 38 and the average length of service is 35 months. Our agents all go through industry standard training, according to their specialism – ISMM (Institute of Sales and Management Training) for our telemarketers, for example.
Telemarketing simply isn’t the cut and thrust, pressure cooker, burn-out job that old-fashioned sales positions used to be.
B2B Telemarketing is a case of more haste, less speed.
2) Shady/Dodgy Practices
I imagine that, like most humans in the Western world, you’ve received a phone call at some point that went something like this:
“Hello, Sir. How are you today?”
“Errm… Yes, I’m fine, who is this please?”
“I am calling from your bank and need you to go through security checks”.
Yes, Sir, your primary bank”.
“I don’t use Barclays?”
*receiver slammed down followed by dead tone*
That’s going to leave a sour taste in anyone’s mouth. And with new legislation around cold calling it is more pressing than ever that B2B telemarketing companies are up to speed with the law.
The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is a free service, which anyone can subscribe to (private or business) to opt out of unsolicited calls. All reputable telemarketing companies pre-screen their data in order to remove TPS numbers.
Contrary to public opinion, call centres like ours positively support the TPS register. If you do not want to be called, it isn’t in anyone’s interests for us to call you. It’s a lose/lose situation that we’d much rather avoid.
We are also transparent in our dealings; we make call recordings available to all clients so they have every opportunity to check what we are doing. Our open door policy also means clients can pop in at any time, meet their agents and listen to live calls.
3) Large Impersonal Call Centres
Some call centres are huge. Especially those that deal with inbound customer service calls for large corporations. B2B telemarketing is a different game. Here at The Telemarketing Company, we have around 150 staff at any one time, spread over four floors.
We’re a family run company, which prides itself on having a friendly working environment. We have an open door policy and encourage clients to pop in at any time. What you see is what you get, no smoke and mirrors. For instance, the telemarketer featured at the top of our website actually works here, it’s not just a stock photo, she sits opposite me in fact.
One common gripe, which is rooted firmly in fact, is that a telesales agent reading a script at you verbatim sounds awful. We agree, which is why we don’t do it. Our motto is “throw away the script”; that doesn’t mean we make it all up as we go along, it just means that we are experienced at talking with not talking at a prospective customer.
Because of the range of products that we discuss on behalf of our clients: from hospital beds to vending machines and IT infrastructure to electric trucks, we need to be far more flexible than a script would allow. Our agents are trained in solution selling and use open questions to understand and carefully match benefits to customer needs.
5) Aggressive Tactics
Promoting products via the telephone has picked up a bit of a bad reputation from the world of high churn telesales. Companies engaging in B2C campaigns sometimes work under the premise that if you throw enough mud at the wall, some of it will hit the money button. B2B telemarketing, however, takes the opposite stance: prospects need to be nurtured. Often a client will come to us with a very specific list of people or companies to contact. We can’t afford to annoy any of them, it is vital that we talk appropriately to our client’s cherished hit-list. There’s no specific rush, we just concentrate on getting the message right and getting it to the right person.
On top of that, our customers aren’t generally looking for quick-wins. The priority of most B2B calls isn’t to get people to read us the long number off the middle of their card. Our clients have a wide variety of desired high quality call outcomes: face to face appointments, scheduled phone conversations, webinars, demonstrations, event attendance, customer relationships, or simply improving their personal contact email database.
There is just no need for us to be pushy, salesy or annoying. That would do no one any favours.
6) Telemarketing Is Expensive
Telemarketing can be one of the more expensive marketing channels but also offers a very good return on investment. Recent research by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) gave a figure of £11 return for every £1 spent on B2B telemarketing. That’s not a bad figure by any means. The same DMA report gave the maximum reported ROI as 12,000%. That’s certainly not the norm, but the fact that it can happen, however rarely, speaks tomes.
On top of the financial ROI there are other “soft” aspects which telemarketing can offer. This additional value comes in a number of forms; the most obvious of which is the general raising of your profile. Hundreds of prospective clients will hear your name every single day of the campaign; this is especially useful if you are a new brand trying to make a mark.
We also collect up to date, direct email addresses for the contacts you want to target. We can immediately send your information to the relevant people as and when we collect their email addresses, or we can deliver them to you as a batch at the end of the campaign.
Because we have a conversation, rather than a monologue, we also pick up other peripheral, pertinent information. For instance, if we are not successful on a call, rather than generate a simple “no interest” result, we might generate a “not at the moment” response, giving you a more appropriate time to call back in the future. Or, we might find out why they aren’t interested which can be just as insightful.
I hope the details of those ex-myths have softened your view towards telemarketing in a B2B sphere. We’re not monsters after all. And if you want further proof, why not book in a chat?