I was asked today what a client will achieve from a telemarketing campaign. They wanted us to provide a definitive answer to the question ‘if we spend X, what results will we achieve?’
That is a common question or request. It stands to reason that clients want value for money and a return on their investment. They want as close to a cast iron guarantee as possible. But, how many methods of marketing and lead generation are guaranteed to work? How many can you precisely measure to within a small margin of error?
The reality is that whilst benchmarks, KPIs and the like are useful and give some indication of likely results, those ratios are only workable when all of the defined parameters are the same and you calculate results over a significant period to iron out anomalies. Equally, one must ask the question whether one client is the same as another even in the same industry. Are they all targeting exactly the same prospects, and the same job functions, with similar products and services at the same time of year with the same amount of activity? And, with the same level of marketing support e.g. LinkedIn, mailers, case studies etc?
Damn lies and statistics
Perhaps when you’re talking about selling insurance or relatively commoditised products or services to large numbers of businesses and making many thousands of calls, it is possible to establish likely outcomes. And, those results may be consistent month in month out. However, the fact is that unless you benchmark over time and specialise so you can reliably predict outcomes for calling the same decision-makers in the same sectors in the same size and types of companies, the ratios aren’t likely to be compelling. So many factors come into play in b2b telemarketing, not just the quality of the caller. Below are some of the variables that go into establishing benchmarks for a successful b2b outbound telemarketing campaign.
We always start with data. That’s because it’s the most important factor. If you have a good twist from which to start with the right names, job roles, phone numbers and so on, you won’t invest (waste) a good amount of the time reaching the wrong people. That’s assuming you know what job role makes the decision concerning your products and services in the first place. Get that wrong and you bounce from person to person, all the while reaching voicemails and gatekeepers. This sucks time, and cost, out of campaign and slows down the pace at which you can expect results. So, make sure to undertake a disproportionate amount of work on data before you start off.
Is every proposition the same? How strong and compelling is it? Why should a prospect see you if they do it in house or already have a contracted supplier? You have to think long and hard about what would make your number 1 prospect take your call and get off the fence. If you don’t have anything differentiated, the best telemarketers won’t succeed.
Timing and receptiveness
With the best will In the world, if the prospect isn’t looking for new suppliers or has no budget or is tied in for 2 years, your likely success rate will fall. Once again, it’s hard to overcome that inertia. That’s why consistent calling over time to build a sales pipeline of timely call-backs is essential. As much as we’d like to build Rome in a day, that may not always be possible. Nurturing, on some lead generation exercises, is a necessary part of success.
If you absolutely need to speak to the CEO or other C-suite decision maker of a Fortune 500 of FTSE 100 company, that’s a challenge however you look at it. There are layers of IVR routers, gatekeepers and inevitable meetings and trips that get in the way of the availability of these senior level contacts. Therefore, either you need to be patient or you need to fish in a shallower pool. Regardless of this, you will need to find something that ensures that they’ll engage once you do eventually reach them.
If you only want opportunities that are pre-qualified and that have an immediate need for a substantial requirement, those hot ones are less plentiful than more lightly qualified leads. And, it takes more time to unearth them in the first place. Think about your level of qualification and what constitutes a good, valid lead for your sales team. The greater the depth, the longer it will take unless you devote a significant amount of calling time.
Investment in time
Building the sales pipeline needs to take into account all of the above. Of course, it depends on all of the above factors and some exercises will be more successful than others. Some kick off successfully straight away. Those are generally leads with lighter qualification at less senior level. The results will be partly commensurate with the amount of time you put in.
Value of sale and ROI
In many ways, this is related to our previous point. The fact is that if your value of sale is high, decisions are typically slower, often made by committee, need to be budgeted and planned and have several layers in the process. If your average value of sale is significant, telemarketing can be a great door opener. But, conversion may be slow. Therefore, once again, either you need to devote a significant amount of time in the early days to pipeline build you have to accept that payback may take a while to come to fruition.
We could let an article about telemarketing success factors end without mentioning the quality of the caller. However, you shouldn’t have a caller on the phone representing your business if they can’t do the job. Once again, all telemarketers are not made equal. Some are better than others. Some suit certain propositions and campaign types more than others. Therefore, caller choice is important. Yet, regardless of this, even the best callers will struggle if the parameters above aren’t aligned.
So, is it easy to predict and guarantee results from any given telemarketing exercise? Not at all.
Is it reasonable that clients would want to know likely returns? Of course.
If you need to generate new business for your company and you need to re-engage with lapsed customers, introduce new products or services to current customers, book sales appointments, demos or generate quotes for your sales team, give GSA a call now. We can help with;
- High quality bespoke data building to generate fresh targeted marketing lists
- Data cleaning and validation to ensure you have up-to-date information on your customer database
- Telemarketing Appointment setting for you or your sales team
- Lead generation
- Customer care telemarketing to drive customer satisfaction and to unearth new opportunities to do business
- Cross-sell and up-sell to your current customer base
- LinkedIn network building
- Integrated marketing including email and LinkedIn campaigns