How B2B Telemarketing Lives and Dies By Context
Success at anything is about recognising the context you are operating within and tailoring your approach to maximise results. Think of a runner who alters their race strategy because the course terrain is rougher than expected. So, how can you apply this principle to your lead generation campaigns?
There’s no point in ignoring the peculiarities of your situation and stubbornly pushing on. Far more effective is investigating and analysing the market and political context you are operating within, then re-strategising accordingly.
Imagine a company, we’ll call them MADEUP, sells IT support services on contract. They engage their telemarketing team to generate leads in a new geography. The team does all the right things, researching accurate data, building a proposition, creating meaningful questions to gain the information they need, even researching the culture of this new geography. And when they begin calling, the feedback quickly comes back that most companies in this market do use a support service, but are already signed up to four-year contracts. How does MADEUP react to this news?
- Flip out! Go mad! Tell the telemarketers they need to push harder, make more calls and really put the squeeze on prospects, because the sales team should be bringing in leads, not problems.
- Desperately try to reason where the magic is! Some kind of killer line the telemarketer can deliver on the phone that will encourage these prospects to disregard the remaining 2 years of their established contract and start engaging with another supplier.
- Declare that the telemarketers need more in-depth technical training, because only then will they be able to delve deep enough to find that killer reason for the prospect to switch.
Believe it or not, these are real-world reactions to what is, from the prospect-base, a condition rather than an objection.
So, how does MADEUP get a good result from this investment, within the context of market conditions?
Firstly, it’s all about information, organisation and process.
- Basic but vital - be certain your telemarketers are speaking to the right contacts, in terms of seniority and responsibility. Do this by building it into your questions.
- Feed the news about contracts back to the business; and adapt the pitch to include a question about existing contracts.
- Make sure there’s a field to capture this specific piece of information in the system they’re using. You don’t want this critical data lost in the call notes.
- Create a pipeline report for companies with existing contracts, breaking it down by date of expiry.
- Now your pipeline has an approximate value. Work out the likely deal size for each of these organisations, apply your average close rate (albeit, in this instance, from other geographies, so you may have to adjust down if you’re new to this market). Now you have the likely financial outcome from the activity, split across a timeline. This is a context-sensitive pipeline report that demonstrates a realistic outcome to the business.
- Plan when to contact companies based on the likely date they will begin reviewing new suppliers.
- Build this into your CRM system, so that salespeople are reminded of when to call these prospects. Make sure their managers have visibility of whether these calls have (or have not) taken place, by producing regular reports.
It seems obvious, but we know of many real world situations where the market context of lead generation has not been identified, or has been ignored by organisations, in favour of unrealistic expectations. Internal politics is often to blame, but it is much better to recognise the context of a campaign and react to it in a positive way, that will realise revenue, if not immediately, then in the medium-term.