Nothing is worse than being stopped in the middle of something important to answer a call from an unknown number, only to realise it’s an unexpected, irritating sales call (with extremely bad timing). What’s worse is that usually the call is completely irrelevant to your day.
This is just one of a long line of reasons that cold calling is dying. So why do many companies small and large still go ahead and dial?
Working in B2B Marketing for many years’ means cold calling used to be an essential and key part of my marketing strategy. I now advise clients against this, purely because it just doesn’t deliver the results anymore.
In the past I would plan telemarketing campaigns based on dial counts (usually 3 to 4 to get through), so I would expect each day to have around 15 conversations. Now however, it is more 10 dials to get through, average of 6 conversations with a lot more disappointment. The plan would usually work out at around 10% of conversations turning to leads which would mean 1.5 leads a day, this at least makes it worthwhile. Today the ratio is around 0.6 leads a day – or around 3 a week compared to the 1 a day previously achieved. Added to that, we rarely achieve a 10% conversation rate, because even if you do get through to someone, they rarely had the time to talk. Imagine what that is like now?
The issue is clear and growing but what is the solution and do you have one to replace successful telemarketing campaigns of the past to drive good results for the future?
Our experience suggests that as a marketing channel the telephone still plays a vital but only when it is part of a targeted, integrated campaign.
Here are 7 steps in order to successfully use telemarketing within future campaigns:
Step 1 – define your target audience, the more niche – the better.
Define your audience and then tighten it, focus on a particular interest and niche.
Step 2 – think about whether your audience needs your offer.
Profile your audience in detail. What is your value proposition to each niche? Use all sources of data to build your profiles, this should help make it as targeted as possible.
TIP: Remember to check your data against Corporate TPS to ensure that you are not planning to call businesses that have already signed up.
Step 3 – Create compelling personalised messages
Create compelling messages and surround them with innovative visual content in order to attract the attention of your target market to the campaign.
Step 4 – ensure your value proposition is presented through every marketing channel
Ensure your proposition is presented through every marketing channel that your target audience may use, with a fully integrated campaign. Cover email marketing, digital outputs, social media, sponsorships, phone, sms and direct mail.
Step 5 – Test, test and then test.
It is extremely wise to test your campaign with whatever time you have through each channel with a small selection of your target audience to ensure that the messages resonate.
Step 6 – Measure each channel separately
Measure each channel separately to ensure each give a clear ROI and make sure you deliver the campaign over a specified time period. When using telemarketing, do so on the back of an email, direct mail delivery or activity through social media or digital outlets. Your audience are far more likely to engage in conversation if they have just received or interacted in your campaign with interest.
TIP: Avoid scripts, be personal. People can see through sales spiel very quickly so ensure that whichever member of your team is calling really adapts and involves themselves in the conversation.
Step 7 – Measure a lot, test, keep going with what works, scrap what doesn’t.
The results need to deliver an ROI in the timescale allocated, if you’re going over in regards to timescales, then you are likely losing money so things need to change. Frequently review the campaigns, grow with them so you can learn what works and what does not work for your business.
Overall, using the phone as part of an integrated campaign will improve campaign results. However, be wary of using it in isolation. Cold calling can now result in a poor reputation and could completely cut your chances of ever selling to a contact or business. Please stop and think before you cold call.