B2B Sales - The phone's not dead - Part 1:Framing the Conversation
My Lead Agency regularly produces Best Practices blog posts, often spanning multiple days, or even a week. This week, we're building off a previous blog we crafted last week, asking "Is telemarketing misunderstood?". We hope you enjoy Part 1 and invite you to return for parts 2 thru 5, as we release one segment per weekday.
OK - First, lets define telemarketing. For the purpose of this post, I am specifically referring to the use of the telephone for business to business lead generation. Not B2C, not inside sales; real B2B sales, and B2B marketing, that utilizes the phone as the message vehicle. Inside sales is sales, it isn’t telemarketing and, well, B2C telemarketing (or telesales) is dead... if it isn’t, it should be. Does anybody actually switch phone companies because of a telemarketing call?
So - B2B telemarketing. Used to be you’d buy a list from a broker, hire a couple of guys, write a script and hammer the list to pressure people to set an appointment with a sales rep, maybe schedule a demo, whatever. Then sales follows up with the leads, attends the meeting or demo... Or in most cases they try to for a couple of weeks before giving up and moving on to something else. When they do end up connecting with a lead it usually turns out not to be a real opportunity. Sales becomes frustrated with marketing; money and time are wasted. We already know what gives B2C telemarketing a bad name, but this scenario right here is what gives B2B telemarketing a bad name.
Well then, if we can't just throw a person on the phone and expect results, then what can we use telemarketing for? The way I see it, telemarketing in a B2B environment should deliver on 1 or more of 3 specific functions which require quite a lot of thought and planning and at least two very different skill-sets:
1) To support other marketing and lead generation efforts by helping to create and cleanse lists, gather market intelligence and to promote marketing initiatives like webinars, email, online and trade-show marketing;
2) To follow-up and qualify leads that are generated through other marketing activities in order to qualify them before they are sent to sales;
3) To proactively uncover sales opportunities via tele-prospecting, making more outbound calls (and therefore covering the market more efficiently) than sales reps who have quotas, proposals, meetings and customers taking up a huge chunk of their time. Why is this more efficient than quota-carrying reps? It’s simple. Once the rep finds a deal, they stop prospecting and transition to closing. While that’s a good thing, it doesn’t continue the requirement to always be filling the sales funnel with prospects.
Join me for the rest of the week as we discuss these telemarketing functions and explain why it ain’t just “Sell, sell, sell...”