05 September 2017 Category: Insider Perspective
In a recent international survey of 1400 marketing professionals*, nearly half of all respondents cited “personalisation: understanding customers and defining a single customer view” as the most essential issue for 2017. Under pressure to better understand and engage with customers, marketers are looking to gain deeper customer insights and create more personal, meaningful and impactful customer interactions. Digital platforms and new technologies have provided marketers with increased potential to capture data and deliver more personalised interactions with their customers. However, is that the same as truly understanding customers – how they are feeling, and what they want?
Humans are emotional and by nature unpredictable. Data alone cannot tell you with certainty what your customer wants, or create an intimate and trusting relationship. For that, the human touch is essential. Marketers, therefore, need to consider channels that provide deeper levels of engagement; and they may be hard-pressed to find one that offers a more personalised, targeted and relevant mode of customer communication than phone-based contact.
Telemarketing is not a one trick pony
When used strategically, telemarketing is an extremely effective platform for building personal connections with customers, as well as gaining the insights required for a deeper understanding of their interests, needs and buying modes.
Unfortunately, it is often dismissed because cold calling by disreputable agencies has, over time, skewed people’s perceptions of what is a unique and flexible communication channel.
Telemarketing, conducted in a personal, flexible and strategic way, either standalone or integrated with other channels, can bring the value of human engagement to a diverse range of marketing strategies.
Here are just some examples, illustrated by a selection of case studies from our online library:
Lead generation and qualification
As more businesses learn to close the divide between marketing and sales, marketing teams are becoming more accountable for both the quantity and quality of leads that they generate and share with their sales teams.
This calls for marketing efforts that cut through the noise to engage more prospects; as well as the expertise to ensure that only high-quality leads are guided into the sales funnel. If leads are not properly qualified before sales efforts begin, sales agents will waste their time chasing dead ends.
A phone-based lead generation and qualification campaign can add immense value here. Telemarketing agents with the relevant experience can interact directly with prospects and immediately begin to build an understanding of their business needs and challenges. Armed with these insights, it’s possible to adjust the marketing message quickly to offer a more personalised and meaningful brand experience for each customer.
Phone-based contact also enables agents to build a relationship with each prospect and qualify them against a pre-defined set of criteria before they enter the sales funnel. This way, sales specialists receive only properly qualified leads – at the point when they are most receptive.
When conducted strategically, telemarketing can seamlessly integrate demand generation efforts with those of an in-house sales team. For example, when fund management firm Octopus wanted to scope the opportunity within the UK market, they collaborated with The Telemarketing Company (TTMC) to generate leads through phone-based contact, as well as ensure that these leads were qualified and prioritised before being passed on to the Octopus in-house sales team. Using hotkey transfers, qualified and responsive leads were passed immediately to an in-house Octopus product expert during a live call. Significantly, over 50% of results were generated from a first call.
In instances where companies receive a large volume of leads, a telemarketing agency that specialises in lead response management can evaluate inbound leads or automation qualified leads quickly and systematically, identifying those that meet criteria to deliver a rich feed of genuine sales opportunities to clients' sales teams.
Where leads or enquiries have become dormant over time, telemarketing can be leveraged to re-activate lapsed leads and accounts. For example, TTMC partnered with Addison Lee to reactivate over 3000 lapsed accounts during an extensive telemarketing campaign to relaunch their Business Priority Plus Account. The engagement also generated a cleansed and profiled database – with new and updated contacts, emails and job titles – from over 8000 live decision-maker conversations.
“As a result of the campaign, we have more clients to account manage on a proactive basis through our sales and marketing channels to drive organic revenue.”
Sales Manager, Addison Lee
Marketing and selling complex B2B offerings requires a multi-skilled sales team that can profile prospects and communicate value propositions strategically. Thanks to advances in technology, much of this can be achieved remotely (rather than door-to-door) – which has given birth to the “Inside Sales” function.
The goal of outbound Inside Sales is to generate demand and build relationships with multiple customers across an array of touchpoints, including phone-based contact. It requires multi-skilled sales specialists who can prospect, sell and cultivate relationships over the phone, supported by other communication channels. Unfortunately, these skills are in high demand and organisations battle to hire, nurture and retain the right people for this complex role.
A smart solution is to partner with a specialised agency that can provide high performance, high calibre Inside Sales/Telesales support across the whole buying cycle, from cold call and high volume transactional sales through to ongoing account management with C-suite decision-makers.
Allianz Global Assistance had never employed phone-based sales for their extended warranty programme for prestige automotive sector clients, but needed a way to increase sales momentum. An initial Telesales pilot with TTMC, focusing on customers whose warranty had recently expired, tripled sales performance and the pilot developed into an ongoing partnership with the agency.
“The Telemarketing Company and its people are extremely well organised and have a true understanding of the need to adapt to the culture of Allianz Global Assistance and most importantly our Client. They understand our needs and have remained flexible and committed to creating a win for all involved.”
Finance and Insurance Operations Manager, Allianz Global Assistance.
Events, seminars and webinars can be an exceptional way to generate high quality sales opportunities where prospects are willing to commit a significant amount of time and energy to learn about the benefits of your product or solution. Understandably, getting prospects to make that commitment is not a trivial task, especially when a financial commitment is also involved. It requires a more compelling case than can be communicated via email or social media alone.
Speaking to invitees directly is a much more powerful way to pique their interest, explain the value of the event and confirm their registration. It’s also a unique opportunity to find out why certain prospects have not replied to an invitation and, critically, understand where they are in the buying process and how your proposition might help them. Perhaps they’re simply not available on that date, or they might offer some valuable insight into why your proposition doesn’t quite meet their needs, giving you the opportunity to address the shortfall!
Through engaging these prospects in an actual dialogue, these reasons can be better understood and relationships can be nurtured for future marketing efforts. Having secured registrations, you can’t rest on your laurels – a reminder call shortly before the event ensures the key people do turn up and gives you the opportunity to set up one-to-one meetings with relevant personnel, so that the event really delivers the ROI you need.
When conducted professionally, telemarketing can provide a full package of support for clients engaging in event marketing programmes. This includes generating demand for these events, ensuring registrations are managed effectively, enhancing the accuracy of prospect and attendee data, as well as keeping the lines of communication open after the event for market research purposes or to encourage repeat event attendance.
Step Exhibitions, a specialist events company, organises a large programme of annual events across a wide range of sectors from healthcare, cosmetics and pharmaceutical, to buildings and property. They have worked with TTMC over a number of years to drive paid delegates and footfall, integrating telemarketing into an omni-channel campaign. Given the size and complexity of the requirement, it has been critical to work with an agile agency that can support a large programme, whilst flexing to accommodate the individual needs of each event.
“The flexible, consultative approach of The Telemarketing Company fits our internal strategy perfectly. We run a large, complex programme of sector specific events and they have been able to adapt and tailor our proposition to the relevant target audience for each individual event."
Director, Step Place Ltd & Step Exhibitions Ltd.
Getting telemarketing right
These are just a few of many case studies that highlight the value of well-executed outbound B2B telemarketing. By engaging the right telemarketing agency, you can collaborate with a professional partner who has the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to put your marketing strategies into action effectively.
Are you ready to explore what telemarketing can do for your business?
The Telemarketing Company draws on more than 27 years of experience to provide a range of high-quality demand generation services. We offer tailored services and solutions; and as every client has their own unique market and business goals, we take a personal and flexible approach to every campaign. Our organisation has the agility and expertise to accommodate all types of clients and objectives, no matter whether a standalone or integrated campaign is required.
At a time when many marketers are looking to offer more personalised and relevant customer experiences, we operate with the attitude that no two campaigns are alike. We take a flexible, consultative and transparent approach to every campaign, offering our clients full access to call recordings and considering their input at every stage of the campaign. We are also able to draw on a team of telemarketers with different styles and skills to accommodate different campaign requirements, brand identities and corporate cultures.