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Telemarketing is dead

Telemarketing is dead. How many times have I read that comment on LinkedIn or heard that expression? Didn’t they previously say that about direct mail? Yet, direct mail has seen a resurgence not least due to the huge amount of clutter in people’s inboxes and through social media. We’re swamped with information overload. It’s hard to find the time to work out what’s what.

A proactive lead generation activity

The fact is that telemarketing is a proactive lead generation activity, unlike most others. The thing is that with most marketing solutions you have to wait for customers to come to you. And, they need to find you first. Don’t get me wrong, we are huge advocates of inbound lead generation and social media. So, we are not saying telemarketing is the only solution out there.

Amplifying the effectiveness of other channels

However, telemarketing can amplify the effectiveness of other channels. Whether that’s to follow up click throughs, inbound enquiries or to follow up event leads, it means you don’t have to wait for an outcome. Telemarketing can be used in many ways to grow your business. That includes contact with current and lapsed customers to offer them new products or services or an incentive to buy more.

Telemarketing is a numbers game

Let’s face it, telemarketing is, to a great extent, a numbers game. Of course, there will be some prospects who will never pick up the phone or who are well guarded. That’s where other forms of marketing come in to try to reach them (where persistence on the phone doesn’t work either). But, our experience shows that some do pick up the phone. We’re looking for the 1 or 2 that do answer. They could become your best clients.

Does anyone buy from a cold call

There is also a school of thought that says that no-one actually buys from a cold call. The reality is that’s just not true. Over the Christmas this year, we helped a client generate over £2m of revenue from calls to existing and lapsed customers. And, we’re not talking about low values of sale.

Once again, our experience tells us that prospects do respond to calls, especially if they are professionally carried out. Whilst we’re not necessarily talking about telesales here (where you actually take orders on the phone), the call is part of the sales process. Perhaps the call is to set up a web demo, a call with a sales person or a face to face meeting. It’s the first part of the sales transaction at which telemarketing is aimed. That is particularly powerful where the value of sale is high. Once the sales person is in front of the prospect, the rest of the process is exactly the same as any other business deal. Telemarketing is just the door opener.

Do big companies use telemarketing?

There is a perception that cold-calling is all about PPI and double-glazing. But, that’s somewhat far from the truth. It’s fair to say that the telephone is a tool much used by PPI and double glazing sellers. However, it’s equally used by some of the world’s largest corporations with extremely high sales values. They find that telemarketing is an effective way to reach their target decision makers that they fail to reach using other channels. We’re talking here about quality business to business calls. As we mentioned above, we shouldn’t forget that some calls are to existing customers and to those from whom we haven’t heard from in a while. There are lots of reasons to keep in touch by phone including new product launches, offers, customer care calls and the like.

Hasn’t telemarketing been replaced by social?

We get the point and, in fact, a good proportion of our business comes from enquiries generated via search engines.  And, that comes from the hundreds of blogs and videos we have on our site that we distribute through social media. Google and the other search engines like GSA and feature us highly in search. We’ve had great success generating leads for our business through the many blogs and videos on our site. But, who has the time to spend creating blogs, videos, infographics and other content? It’s important but success won’t happen overnight. We’ve been creating content for several years. And, you’ve got to hope your target decision-maker sees the content. All in all, it is a significant undertaking. Social and content development are big commitments.

Telemarketing is the only direct form of marketing

With the above in mind, telemarketing is the only truly proactive form of direct marketing. With every other channel, even at events, you have to wait for the customer to find you. You need to generate enough noise for them to see you. That’s an expensive way to market. You can, of course, run Facebook or Linkedin ads, undertake PPC or email campaigns amongst other choices. But, in the end, either you have to wait for customers to take action or you’d benefit from adding telemarketing to the pot to ensure that your investment in those channels isn’t wasted.

Ultimately, people still buy people. And that combination isn’t found in any other form of marketing. So, is telemarketing dead? Well, it has to adapt to challenges and it has to evolve. But, it most certainly is alive and kicking.

GSA helps businesses become more effective in their marketing and business development. We run outbound telemarketing campaigns into the UK, Europe and further afield. Also, with our experience, we provide telemarketing training to help sales teams improve their results.  If you’d like to know more, give us a call.


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