10 significant B2B telemarketing advantages
One of the most significant (and under-reported) advantages of telemarketing is its very high return on investment. For every £1 spent by businesses on B2B telemarketing, the return on investment was £11 as reported in a study by the UK’s Direct Marketing Association.
The advantages of telemarketing to companies become apparent within weeks of its deployment. Telemarketing delivers:
increased prospect engagement,
improved customer and prospect databases,
additional leads and appointments for your sales teams,
an ability to segment your marketing database according to customer type for higher returns,
greater control over your company’s turnover and sales, and
marketing and sales intelligence to improve your product or service offerings so that they are more aligned to what customers and prospects actually want.
If you’ve recently been considering introducing B2B telemarketing to your business’s marketing mix, we’d appreciate the chance to share with you the advantages it brings not only to More Than Words but to our clients too.
In this article, we’ll share with you:
• what telemarketing is,
• the different types of B2B telemarketing,
• in-house versus outsourced telemarketing,
• the ten main advantages of B2B telemarketing, and
• questions to ask when speaking with an outsourced telemarketing company.
What is telemarketing?
Telemarketing describes a marketing channel with which employees within your company (or staff within an outsourced telemarketing working on your behalf) contact one of the three following types of people:
• prospects – companies which have expressed a desire to find out more about your products or services after they have left their details with you,
• suspects – companies which you contact when there has been no prior interest expressed in your products or services but which you believe may have a need for what you sell, and
• customers – companies which have bought from you previously. They may or may not be a current customer continuing to place orders.
You may or may not give the companies that you are calling prior warning that you’ll be contacting them. In most cases, no advance notice is given that a telemarketer will ring.
For B2B telemarketing campaigns in the UK, you must check prior to making an outbound call that the recipient is not on the Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS).
What are the types of telemarketing?
Although many companies use telemarketing to set appointments and to generate leads for their sales team, this route to market offers many more opportunities for your business.
The six main uses to which telemarketing is put are:
• appointment setting - outsourced telemarketing make strong and qualified appointments where a sale can be made when a sales rep is present with a prospect.
• lead generation- find out who’s interested and then let your sales and marketing team take it from there.
• market research - the most valuable insights come from the people who know you best – your customers. market research is also highly useful in finding out why companies which do not buy from you yet choose your competitors
• brand awareness - build an audience of buyers and influencers subscribing them to an email list and to your company's social media platforms.
• event promotion - events are a proven way of drumming up interest in companies, products, and services. telemarketing is an established way of turning prospects and suspects into attendees with whom you can engage face to face.
• data validation and cleansing - your customer and prospect databases are arguably the most valuable assets in your business. by keeping them up to date, you reduce wasted marketing expense within your company and increase the chances of your marketing messages being successfully delivered.
Outsourced telemarketing advantages and disadvantages
There are two ways of introducing telemarketing into your business each of which have their own advantages and disadvantages:
• in-house telemarketing and
• outsourced telemarketing
In-house telemarketing advantages
The main advantages of having an in-house telemarketing team are:
• price – it’s cheaper to run an in-house telemarketing team than use an outsourced service,
• greater control – because the team is based within your office, you’re able to change telesales reps’ pitches and disseminate any sales offers among your reps faster, and
• incentivisation – because of the lower fixed costs involved in running an in-house team, you can incentivise telemarketing reps on the number of appointments they make, the quality of information they collect, and so on.
In-house telemarketing disadvantages
The main disadvantages in setting up an in-house telemarketing team are:
• office and equipment set-up costs – additional space, furniture, telecoms equipment, and computers need to be purchased and functioning before a call is made,
• finding the right telesales manager – most telemarketing and telesales team require tight management in order to achieve results. Selecting the wrong manager results in much lower than expected commercial returns, more employee disciplinary problems, and greater staff turnover,
• competition for telemarketing staff – depending on what part of the country you are in, it is intense and you are at risk of overpaying for staff. Staff wages and commissions should be set carefully to reflect the actual complexity of the work involved and the level of expertise and experience required,
• integration of a reporting system and performance monitoring – in order to determine whether your telemarketing team is delivering value for money, you need to analyse a number of different metrics to analyse performance and to set standards for each team member to achieve and for the manager to oversee. You’ll need to decide on what your KPIs are and then implement a system to monitor whether staff are hitting KPIs
• your management time and sanity – telemarketing and telesales attracts a very energetic, thick-skinned, and often rebellious people to work in it. Even with a great manager, they will take up a lot of your time and attention and you need a strong industry background to be able to make the most of your telesales team.
The most experienced and most successful telesales managers know how to build a team, keep fixed costs down, and run promotions to improve productivity. Although the best telesales managers cost a lot of money, they will save you a lot of money in the long run.
The severity of the consequences caused by these disadvantages may be multiplied if you or your senior management team have little or no experience in telemarketing and telesales.
Telemarketing outsourcing advantages
The main telemarketing outsourcing advantages include:
• no up-front and on-going investment costs – you do not need to set aside room within your commercial premises for a telesales team. There will be no furniture, desking, IT, and telecoms cost to factor in – these costs can sometimes run into £10,000s depending on the kit you choose,
• experienced staff and management are already in situ – you don’t need to go through the laborious process of choosing a manager and staff members to work on your campaign. You also won’t need to pay a recruitment consultant £1,000s a time for each new member of staff,
• no employer obligations – the telesales manager and the staff working on your campaign are employed by your outsourcer so you have no legal employer obligations towards them. For example, no notice periods, no redundancy periods, no disciplinary meetings, no workplace pensions, no training obligations, and so on,
• you can scale up and down how many telemarketers are working on your campaign – you’re fully in control of how much your company invests in telemarketing and you can change that level of investment according to the needs of your business,
• professional scripting and objection handling – your account manager at your outsourced telemarketing provider plus the telesales manager and selected members of staff working on your campaign will device opening scripts, objection handling scripts, and closing scripts for your campaign. These scripts will be run by you for your approval prior to them being used,
• live campaign reporting – most telemarketing companies will provide you with live campaign reporting via a shared spreadsheet. They will also normally immediately report to you when they have found a lead or made an appointment which needs urgent attention from your sales team.
Telemarketing outsourcing disadvantages
The main telemarketing outsourcing disadvantages are:
• no guarantee of appointments – most telemarketing companies do not guarantee a defined number of successful results for the campaign they carry out on your behalf. This means that you may receive absolutely no return on your investment. There are companies which offer pay-per-lead appointments however, before engaging them, please check on how well they “qualify” each lead prior to sending them over to you,
• no guarantee of the information you require – you may use an outsourced telemarketing company to gather further information on clients and prospects. You may not get the details you want on each company because of how any gatekeeper prevents a caller getting through to the targeted person and, if your rep does get through to the targeted person, they may be reluctant to share the information you want,
• lack of control – because you are not there in the office with the manager and staff when they’re calling on your behalf, you have to take the company at trust that they are carrying out the campaign in the way that you specify. Many telemarketing companies offer a recorded-call service where you can listen to previous calls made on your campaign. You should select a company which offers this if you want to hear these calls – they’re also useful for training a future in-house team if you think you might invest in one eventually,
• linguistic and cultural barriers – if you choose to use an outsourced telemarketing provider based outside the UK, there may be significant issues because of the different versions of English used (did you know that India has 14 different versions of Indian Standard English all of which vary greatly from British Standard English). There may also be annoying and unprofessional cultural issues (for example, calling someone by their title (Mr/Mrs/Ms) and then their first name rather than their surname).
The 10 main advantages of telemarketing
There are 10 main advantages to a telemarketing campaign for your company – when planning your own telemarketing department or choosing an outsourced supplier, you should be as clear in your mind as possible about what you want them to achieve.
An in-house telemarketing manager or a sales rep at an outsourced telemarketing firm will be able to help you prior to the launch of a campaign to identify the areas likely to offer the greatest financial and information returns to your company.
You should focus on which of the ten following advantages will bring your company the greatest benefits:
• initiating personal contact with buyers
• generating appointments for out-of-office sales staff,
• generating interest for follow up by the sales team,
• how to better cultivate and harvest your existing customer database,
• fact-finding on databases bought through reliable third parties,
• is greater control over the sales process important to your company,
• why B2B selling and purchasing still requires a conversation between two people,
• why most of your competitors will not be using telemarketing and telesales, and
• using telemarketing to get valuable feedback on your products and services.
1. Initiate personal contact with buyers
Lead generation and selling to other businesses is far more complicated and involved when selling to consumers. You may have heard that B2B marketing is and always has been Human2Human marketing but we’d advise you not to believe that.
B2C marketing is often triggered by a personal impulse and persuading the recipients of these messages to buy takes little to no time.
Selling to businesses is completely different. It is far more rational and almost immune to personal impulse especially when a decision maker or an influencer is not spending their own money. Even shareholding directors of smaller companies take a lot of time in choosing one supplier over another.
No matter what you’re selling to businesses, the sooner someone from your company can speak to a decision-maker or influencer within a business, the better chance you have of winning the business. A telemarketer can open up a general conversation with a company for a sales rep to take it from there.
2. Generate appointments for out-of-office sales reps
Travelling salespeople are expensive. In addition to the wage cost, there are travel costs, mobile phone costs, hotel and lodging costs, and more. Salespeople should not generate their own leads.
Let’s consider an example. Considering just wages at £40,000 per year, the real cost is £46,720 after National Insurance Employers’ Contributions and workplace pensions. Assuming 4 weeks’ holiday a year, let’s assume that their canvassing effort produces 8 appointments a week for them to go on. This is an effective cost is £121.67 per appointment. Let’s then say that the average profit per appointment was £500. Your rep could generate £4,000 of profit for 48 weeks of the year at a cost of £898.46 for 52 weeks of the year.
If your sales rep were working with a telesales rep who could book them 20 appointments a week, the number of closing opportunities would rise significantly. If you paid your telesales rep £22,500 a year, the real cost is £26,280. Combined wage costs are now £73,000. The telesales rep generates 20 appointments a week bringing the average cost per lead down to £76.05 per lead. Your rep retains their average return of £500 per appointment so 20 appointments a week now returns £10,000 worth of profit.
Under your current arrangement, your rep is returning £145,280 profit per annum. When working with a telemarketing expert with the skills to book 20 appointments a week, your rep now returns £407,000 after their costs and the telemarketers’ costs.
You have speculated an additional £26,280 in your telemarketer’s wage but your return from the rep increase by 180% (£261,720 in cash terms).
You should free your sales reps from the responsibility of generating their own appointments. Sales reps and telemarketers require different personalities and skillsets to do their job well and your company will benefit from a far greater return by employing both rather than trying to make a great telesales rep out of your sales rep. HubSpot has a great summary of the differences here.
3. Generate interest for sales team follow-ups
According to industry surveys, the number of travelling sales reps (sometimes call outside or external sales reps) is decreasing as more businesses rely on the internet to gather the information they need on a proposed product or service. In recent years, many outside sales reps also report that the number of people involved in a purchasing decision has increased with the inclusion of influencers (those in a firm who don’t have spending responsibility but whose opinions are valued).
Many companies’ outside sales reps are now expected to do business over the phone – including closing the deal. In other firms which have traditionally relied heavily on telesales, there are now two distinct teams – the lead finders and the deal makers. Lead finders are responsible for discovering which businesses are interested in a product and service providing the deal makers with as much information as they need to shorten the decision making cycle.
Already have a stubborn telesales team?
The corporate culture within an existing telesales team can be one of the hardest change projects within any company. Telesales and telemarketing is a very stressful job and, compared to many other types of job, they tend to cope with alterations to the way they work (or even the software package they use) worse than their colleagues.
You may benefit from using the services of an outsourced telemarketing company to experiment with new approaches to booking appointments, generating leads, and gathering information. Make sure that you use a company which records all calls for you so that they can be used for training purposes when you’re trying to persuade stubborn sales reps that there might be a quicker and better way to get to the desired end result.
4. Cultivate and harvest your existing customer database
You might already benefit from a high percentage of repeat orders from existing customers. Generating new business from an existing customer costs 20% as much as finding a customer new to your business. You are three times more likely when pitching to sell to an existing customer than to a new customer.
Some companies have finely honed the art of customer retention to such a point where their existing clients account for more than half of their profit. Indeed, according to a study by Bain & Company in conjunction with Earl Sasser of the Harvard Business School, a 5% increase in customer retention can improve net profitability by 25%-95%.
You should make use of email newsletters to stay in touch with your clients at least once a month to your business customers but corporate clients value personal contact more. Stay in touch with them to monitor their experience of using your product or service and phone them up to demonstrate ongoing improvements to your product or service to show clients how your continued investment in what you sell directly benefits them.
Telemarketers can be given questions to lead the customer to determine whether they are close to making another purchase from you. When discovered, these leads can be passed to your sales reps and sales teams to turn into revenue.
Your existing customers can also be incentivised by personal telephone contact to suggest referrals and to leave positive reviews of their experience with your company on online review sites.
5. Fact-find about potential customers using third-party lists
Despite the introduction of GDPR in 2018, the return on investment on business to business email marketing continues to increase. In its last report, them UK DMA demonstrated that, for every £1 spent on email marketing, £42 turnover is returned over a typical corporate customer lifetime.
In addition to purchasing and using an email database, you should use the reports generated by your broadcast platform to contact the companies which open your email and click through to your website.
Many providers (More Than Words included) also report on the number of times each recipient opens and clicks through – you can, in most cases, justifiably determine that these recipients are closer to the decision-making part of the buying cycle than others. Unless your competitors are also sending emails to the same recipients, only your company will know that these companies are at the point of buying.
When you buy in a third-party list, you may want to specify in as much detail as possible the types of business you wish to target to a maximum of, for example, 2,000 records. Your in-house team or outsourced telemarketing provider can then call these selected targets to find out:
• the information that you need on when they’re next going to buy your product or service,
• which company they’re using already (and any contract terms they have), and
• who the people involved in the decision-making process are and more.
6. More controllable than online and inbound marketing
Content marketing and inbound marketing are growing in use by B2B companies wanting to attract attention from and build credibility with firms which would benefit from the product and service they offer.
The idea behind content marketing and inbound marketing is to leave a trail of breadcrumbs around the internet and on social media for potential customers to find. Underpinning this strategy is research which shows that potential customers need to see you and your brand up to 20 times before an enquiry is made.
Most consumers and business buyers are more likely to search for the answer they have to a question on your product or service before they search for a supplier. With this change in buyer behaviour, the best way to secure an advantage over competitors is for your page to be found and for visitors to leave their details (for an email newsletter, for example) or follow you on social media if they’re not quite at the stage where they’re ready to make a full enquiry.
Content marketing and inbound marketing works but this is a process in which the prospect is very much in control.
With telemarketing and telesales, you’re in control of how many companies you contact and how you follow up on initial expressions of interest.
7. Greater influencer over purchasing decision timing
Telemarketing and telesales gives your company back a much greater degree of control over the sales process because you’re now speeding up the number of times that a prospect has seen you.
In the process, you’ll have answered a lot of the questions they would have had in the future about the advantages and disadvantages of your product or service. Questions they may have searched for online three or six months later have been answered now because you’re in active and two-way conversation with a decision maker.
You can use a telemarketing or telesales campaigns to better understand which companies are going to come into the right part of the buying cycle over the next 18 months. An initial call where the right questions are asked should be followed up by contact from a member of a sales team who can use the information used during the initial canvassing call to start guiding the client to the point of purchase.
8. Business gets done when people talk to each other
Most B2B sales still require personal contact before a deal is closed. Our average email database order as a business is around £1,000. For most businesses, this is an insignificant amount of money when considered against either their turnover or the amount of money they have in the bank but it still requires due diligence on the part of a buyer.
You will find that, for most products and services, making sales to businesses (or to the public sector or to schools) still requires one person to speak to another person, build a personal rapport, answer the questions that need answering, and a sales rep to ask, at the end of process, for payment details.
Although most telemarketing and telesales companies (More Than Words included) will not close the deal over the phone for you, they can create the conditions required for a personal relationship between an account manager at your company and a decision maker within a target customer company to begin.
9. Most of your competitors will not use this telemarketing
Demonstrating just how much added value telemarketing delivers to companies is often very difficult at first. That’s because business owners, marketing directors, and senior managers in companies may simply be put off by their own personal dislike of receiving these types of calls.
If this is you, your distaste for telemarketing and telesales should not dissuade you from investigating the possibilities of using it for your own company either in-house or via an outsourced service.
Some people don’t like receiving email marketing. Other people will never join a business social media platform so you’ll never find certain prospects that way. Gatekeepers may stop the vast majority of postal marketing mail from getting through to them.
It is the responsibility of a company’s management, its sales teams, and its marketing teams to find as many potential buyers as possible, discover as much about them as possible, and put themselves in a position where they’re pitching for the business and not one of their competitors. Telemarketing continues to produce results for B2B companies with returns on investment significantly higher than the amount of marketing budget allocated to it.
10. Get valuable feedback on your products, services, aftersales, and future demand
Using telemarketing to gather feedback on your products, services, and the quality of your after-sales support gives you a valuable insight into how your actual customers view you and how likely they are to stay with you.
You can use the feedback in two different and equally important ways:
• as a whole – you can use the database as a whole (or significant parts thereof) to examine how your customer base as a whole (and individually self-selected segments) view the performance of your business and where you need to improve, and
• customer-by-customer – during telephone canvassing, you will identify situations which need escalation (because the customer may be upset enough to leave for a competitor) and situations where there is an opportunity for a further sale (which can then be passed to your sales reps)
You may also choose ask customer which products or services (or features of your products and services) they would be keen for you to develop and to find out how much they would be willing to spend on those improvements.
Booking telemarketing for your company
Telemarketing is an investment for any company but, done right, it will be one of the most reliable and profitable routes to market for your products and services.
Not only will it help you find new customers:
• you’ll have better intelligence on the types of companies you should be target,
• you’ll speed up the sales process,
• you’ll sell more to existing customers, and
• you’ll have a better idea of where your company is succeeding in the eyes of customers and where it needs to improve.
We offer three specialist services to clients:
• telemarketing to businesses
• telemarketing to the public sector
• telemarketing to schools
To find out more about telemarketing for your business and to speak to us about the advantages of using our outsourced telemarketing service, please call us on 0330 010 8300 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org