We’ve all had them (probably quite often) unwanted and unwelcome telemarketing calls from people and businesses we’ve never heard of (and really didn’t want to.) We’ve all signed up to various don’t call lists, told our human assistants AND the AI assistants that live in our phones to try to block these nuisance callers (with varying degrees of success) and most of us have had at least one near screaming match with a particularly persistent caller with poor customer service.
In the minds of many, telesales and telemarketers – both B2C and B2B – enjoy about the same reputation as dog catchers and emails from Nigerian princes. But is that really deserved? Are all telesales calls just about interrupting your afternoon in the name of some internet startup we’ve never heard of?
The answer is no, not quite. There is a brighter side to telesales and telephone lead generation/a telemarketing campaign. Some of these calls can be genuinely useful. That’s because there are two types of telemarketers.
As you might not be surprised to see, they can be divided, very simply into good and bad telemarketers. How do you tell which is which? Here are some basic observations.
Makes sales calls to any number they can find, whenever suits them. Probably butchers your name because they are ready from a list obtained from who knows where.
Calls only opted-in people on a well-researched list. Only reaches out to people who are interested and available. Do pronounce names correctly because they are gleaned from a reputable source.
Sounds like a robot reading from a dull script written by a ten-year-old. Is very pushy, borderline rude, and doesn’t listen
Highly trained in building relationships over the phone. Asks a potential client if speaking right now is ok. Always nice, and listens to what you have to say. Attempts to assist you in solving issues and problems relevant to your situation and proves themselves to be an experienced telemarketer.
Attempts to deceive you into purchasing -at any cost, just to try to get the deal (and the commission). Refuses to take no for an answer. Often gets belligerent if you even try to say no.
A good sales rep wants to work with you and is prepared to be patient with you. Understands the buying cycle and first seeks to create trust, answer questions, and qualify you as a client. Not actually trying to close today, but will deal with it professionally if the opportunity is there.
A bad telesales person – and bad telemarketing in general – is all about noise. Bad telesales people attempt to gain the attention of people by upsetting their everyday lives. Bad telemarketing is widely frowned upon and it’s illegal in many cases.
A good telemarketing service for B2B lead generation is a proven way to generate high probability sales leads and assist in increasing sales revenues. Good telemarketers know about the dark side and work hard to earn the trust of the people they call. Good telemarketing works because it’s a one-on-one, personal connection, even for a few minutes. A good caller works hard to help you rather than sell to you.
So, obviously, if you are considering using an outsourcing firm/telemarketing agents for lead generation and/or appointment setting you want to make sure that the people who do it for you fall into the good, not bad category. But what’s the best way to do this for a B2B concern? Here’s a look at some of the most important considerations.
MAKE SURE THEY ARE B2B
As you no doubt know well B2B selling, in general, is very different from B2C, and so choosing a telemarketing company that is not focused on B2B selling will usually prove to be a big mistake from the get-go. B2C calling usually simply involves reaching out to a single consumer and pitching directly to them. B2B calling is very different and often involves making it through several gatekeepers before reaching a decision-maker. This is a special skill that B2C telemarketers usually do not have.
Then there is the way they communicate in general. The ‘level’ of communication in B2B telemarketing is higher, it needs to be more polished and sophisticated, and those aggressive, talk over the prospect type telemarketers we mentioned earlier are the last thing you want.
MAKE SURE THEY ARE LISTENING
B2B telemarketing outsourcing company can be so sold on their way of doing things that they are not really interested in listening to any input from you. This can be especially true if the company claims to ‘specialise’ in your industry – education, law, etc. – as they are sometimes unwilling to take your unique business, and products/services, into account and insist their one-size-fits-all approach is perfect. Which it often is not.
The best lead generation companies offering B2B telemarketing often DON’T specalise in a single niche, but they do specialise in listening. They take the time to learn about your business, your offerings, and the ‘tone’ of your brand’s voice. The telemarketing team asks a lot of questions and does a lot of research before making a single call. This helps ensure that they represent your business in the way you’d like them to and that they set the right tone for conversations with your unique prospects.
TELEPHONE BEHAVIOR ISSUES
Consumers usually directly relate every experience they have with someone representing a company with the business itself.
You’ve probably experienced it yourself. The rude cashier at your favorite big fast food joint is just one of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of employees but their poor service probably left you with a poor opinion of the chain in general. It may even put you off your Nando’s (or whatever) for life.
Inexperienced B2B telesales people – or those overly aggressive ones that are often more used to making B2C calls than B2B – may provoke the same reaction from your prospects if their telephone manner is poor. And even if you then ‘send in’ your very best salesperson to try to put things right it’s probably too late.
When choosing a B2B lead generation company for telemarketing ask to listen to them in action. Ask to speak with their other/past clients about their phone manners. Don’t let unknown players derail your business’ growth!
ADDRESS REPORTING CONCERNS
Another trick to effectively selecting the B2B telemarketing and lead generation company that’s right for you is to discuss their method of reporting. As a paying customer with a vested interest, at each key point of the campaign, you should be kept up-to-date and you should expect a structured reporting process that will monitor the number of calls made and the response rate.
The right company should agree to provide both quantitative and qualitative feedback that provides you with a detailed understanding of how the campaign was received. This should be offered in the ways that work best for you, whether that’s via a check-in phone call, formal written reports, a group chat via Zoom or Whatsapp, or a combination of all of this. Good lead generation companies want happy, satisfied clients, and providing excellent reporting is one way to help ensure this (and we are speaking from experience here.)
Money always has to come up at some point. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for when it comes to telemarketing. One recent trend is for smaller companies and start-ups to try outsourcing B2B telemarketing to freelancers in an attempt to save money. 2020 is crazy, and we understand that thinking, even if we don’t agree with it. Fivver seems to be a particularly popular destination right now.
Unfortunately, most businesses that go this route for B2B are finding that while they do indeed get lots of leads for their money the quality of the leads is poor, something that ends up costing them a lot of money rather than saving it and, in some very unfortunate cases, does long term damage to their brand and their bottom line. The last thing needed in what is already a difficult time.
How do bad leads cost a company money? Aside from the obvious expense of paying the person gathering them let’s do some quick napkin maths here to demonstrate. If you have three of your salespeople follow up on 200 bad leads per month, at 10 minutes per lead via multiple phone calls and emails, that’s more than 11 hours of time wasted per person each month. Think about what else the team could be doing with those 11 hours.
Bad leads do not only waste time and money-for salespeople who receive no return for their work, wasting time on bad leads is demoralizing, even for the best of them. So, if you keep feeding your salespeople bad leads generated from cut-price telemarketers don’t be too surprised when they head (literally or figuratively) for the door.
Finding the right people to make B2B telesales lead generation calls for – finding those good vs. bad callers – boils down to knowing what questions to ask and what to look for. With the key points outlined in this post, you’re much closer to picking out the best B2B telemarketing lead generation partner for you.