In the Internet marketing world, with all the latest lead generation and qualification technologies, I’m often asked if b2b telemarketing is still relevant. My answer is an enthusiastic, “Yes!” In fact, telemarketing continues to play a vital role in our client’s lead management programs, with proven success. According to Marketing Sherpa’s 2011 B2B Benchmark report, 86% of marketers are maintaining or growing their telemarketing investment.
Marketing is now, and has always been about building relationships. While online marketing and inbound techniques do their part in the customer lifecycle, nothing replaces a 1-on-1 connection. This is where telemarketing still plays a vital role.
As a marketing activity, telemarketing cannot stand alone. It should be used in conjunction with a holistic nurturing campaign. Telemarketing should be another component of your marketing mix used to qualify, educate and nurture your prospects. Nurturing programs, complete with automation and scoring, make marketing more efficient and give you a better understanding of who your prospects are and what their current needs are. But there comes a time when the online relationship needs to evolve. That’s the point where you should pick up the phone to further qualify the prospect.
Telemarketing is most effective when it’s conducted with a highly defined set of process rules and procedures. Who gets called, when, how often, what is the call script, what to do with the information gained, and how to track all of this for management and improvement is key to the success of the program. The need for this type of process generally means your sales team is not going to be able to handle these calls efficiently or effectively. Qualified telemarketing resources ensure that you’ll be able to qualify the contact information, their needs and their buying status. Handing over the sales-ready leads to the sales team, and putting the longer-term leads into a nurturing process for future follow-up creates a finely tuned lead management process that will reduce your sales cycle time, and increase your close ratios.
Telemarketing is more relevant than ever. In the Marketing Sherpa study cited above, 35% of executives surveyed said that telemarketing is a “very effective” component of their marketing mix. Efficient and cost effective, it provides a powerful way to break through and reach prospects with a personal touch.
Are you using telemarketing in your lead management program?