When you hear the word ‘telemarketing’ it’s easy to imagine those irritating calls that stop you during a productive moment for a completely irrelevant pitch, disturbing us at the most inconvenient times.
But thanks to new regulations, Cold Calling is being clamped down along with nuisance text messages, imposing fines of up to £500,000 on companies that choose to ignore requests not to be contacted.
Unfortunately cold calling has damaged the reputation of telemarketing, which is why numerous companies feel uneasy about using this traditional form of marketing against the much less intrusive methods of digital. With such large fines hanging over their heads, it’s understandable that they don’t want to run the risk of being seen as a pest.
But in a recent study carried out by B2B Marketing amongst 200 business managers, 90% of marketing managers found B2B telemarketing was either effective or very effective for their business, with 60% describing that it was critical.
As a key tool for B2B brands, especially in the means of nurturing prospects, where does this traditional method sit amongst the new digital kids on the block, and how can businesses really utilise it to its best effect?
Encourage the Calls
Contact forms, email address and social profiles, there’s so many ways for customers to contact us, but all a little impersonal don’t you think?
Putting up an instant barrier between company and prospect makes the business seem unapproachable and can place an uncertainty in customer expectations. If they can’t get hold of you when they have a question, how difficult is it going to be when they’ve got a problem?
Whilst text and email contact is a preferred method by Generation Y, there are still many that would prefer to pick up the phone and speak to real person, rather than having to continuously go through emails and contact forms to get the information they need.
It’s surprising in this modern age that so many companies are still reluctant to issue their direct contact details, such as a telephone number on their websites, when as this is the first port of call it can be an easy way to deter potential leads.
If you don’t feel that your audience is telephone savvy then issue set numbers for each of your current marketing tools including your Facebook profile, website and literature. A company such as Calltracks can allow you to track these calls and help you to determine which marketing channel is the most successful for your business.
Encouraging customers to make the initial contact through a call rather than an email can significantly increase your conversions. Enabling the relationship to begin via the phone, will make it feel far less intrusive when you use this method again to contact them in the future. Communication should then be more seamless and not be seen as an irritant.
Have a Clear Goal
The very nature of telephone marketing can be lost on those who are eagerly searching for business, as they hound old and new customers with offers to entice them back.
But this pushy approach rarely converts because it’s being completely dishonest to the customer, and abusing the relationship. There’s no authenticity in just attempting to boost sales. You’re not checking to see how they’re getting on with their product or how you can help them, you’re in it to benefit yourself rather than building a mutual relationship.
It’s clearly now time for telemarketers to re-access the goal of the telephone conversation.
Essentially a tool for both customer retention and lead generation, as a business you need to understand your customers’ needs and requirements. .
Take the time to educate your team on their attitude and approach, and you’ll find that telemarketing can be the most effective way of giving the best customer service.
There’s no doubt that digital marketing has taken over a majority of many businesses marketing budget, with eMarketer estimating that digital advertising alone will grow by 12% this year to £8.1bn spend, it can seem that the traditional methods of marketing are going to begin to fall at the back of the queue.
However, the lesson that many businesses forget to realise, is that there’s no instant win with digital marketing, you can’t just use one method and become an overnight success.
As clearly illustrated in both surveys and reports, telemarketing is still effective, it just has to play nicely with digital marketing. Whilst digital will play its role in gaining the data we need about our audience, telemarketing will be the in road that helps us to use this data to contact our customers on a more personal level.