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March 20, 2014

Improving the Odds with Business-to-Business Telemarketing

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor


Despite the technological advancements made in marketing and sales in recent years, when it comes to prospecting, not a whole lot has changed. Ultimately, sales personnel still need to make first contact with potential customers by picking up the telephone and reaching out via a voice call. Analytics and automated dialing systems can make it easier to identify prospects and place calls, but the skills of an outbound sales person are still required.


While consumer-based telemarketing is a relatively inefficient way to make sales today – the plethora of Americans using cell phones or registering their numbers on do-not-call registries makes it harder than ever – business-to-business telemarketing can be one of the most effective methods of turning warm leads into hot ones. Convincing a sales team of this truth can be challenging.

Suzanne Stock, writing for Business2Community, notes that a good sales manager can help build enthusiasm in the sales team for B-to-B telemarketing, resulting in more contacts, more second meetings and more closes. By making the process more effective, managers can boost the legitimacy of the method in the sales team’s eyes. Among her suggestions:

Help the team understand that B-to-B telemarketing isn’t an annoyance. According to a recent UK-based study, business-to-business telemarketing was identified by business managers as one of the least annoying forms of advertising, with only four percent of respondents identifying it as annoying.

Ensure their lists are pitch-perfect. Nothing will discourage a sales team faster than having them engage in B-to-B telemarketing from outdated or inaccurate lists. An outbound campaign is only as effective as the raw materials used to engage in it. This might mean paying more for lists, but in the long run, it will yield better results.

Set realistic but concrete goals. Sales teams should understand not only how many calls they are expected to make in a day, but what percentage of them result in further action, such as appointments or renewals. Setting the goals ridiculously high may look great to executives, but not if they are a fantasy story that never becomes reality.

Keep scripts flexible. While it’s OK to ensure that sales personnel are hitting the right notes at the right time, leaving them some options to approach a call according to their best instincts will help them stay engaged with the process.

Analyze your previous interactions to find the right time of day. For some sales campaigns, the likelihood of reaching a receptive decision maker might be early in the morning. For others, it might be lunchtime when prospects have a few minutes to talk.

Ensure sales personnel have all the information they need. Nothing will put a called party off faster than a sales person who is ill-equipped to answer questions with valid information.

Telemarketing solutions such as those offered by VanillaSoft can help sales teams dial faster, thanks to automated dialing technology, make more contacts, keep better track of lists and leads, set appointments and ensure sales people are sharing the appropriate information at the right time.

If you already engage in B-to-B telemarketing, it’s almost a guarantee that your processes could be improved. If it’s a method that you’ve written off as ineffective and unpopular, it may be time to update your views and your technologies. 


Edited by Rory J. Thompson


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