Companies that apply B2B teleprospecting “consistently achieve 90 percent of their sales team quota; experience at least a 10 percent year-over-year increase in average revenue per sales rep; and they gain an average 7 percent year-over-year improvement of the bid-to-win ratio,” according to global B2B research advisory firm, SiriusDecisions.
There are a variety of approaches marketers use to create successful B2B lead generation campaigns today. Digital marketing, SEO, social media marketing and inbound marketing are on the rise. Meanwhile, cold-calling and other telemarketing techniques are slowly becoming a thing of the past.
Unfortunately, this means teleprospecting is often being neglected in today’s sales and marketing strategies. And not working teleprospecting into your overall lead generation marketing strategy could be a costly mistake.
Finding the right lead generation marketing strategy
To be clear, teleprospecting is not the same as telemarketing. Although both are methods of communicating with a prospect via telephone, the goals and results of each method are quite different. While telemarketing focuses mainly on gathering new contacts and updating existing databases, teleprospecting is a more in-depth and long-term approach. Both are effective B2B lead generation methods, but they serve very different purposes.
Telemarketing campaigns typically aim to reach as many people as possible, with a simple goal of collecting contact information by cold-calling long lists of potential customers using a generic script. Unlike telemarketing, teleprospecting is a long-term approach used to get a clearer picture of the customer’s needs by asking specific questions in order to qualify or disqualify a potential prospect. Teleprospecting calls are not usually cold calls, as they tend to be triggered by an action first taken by a potential customer.
Teleprospecting is based on targeting a specific market, and asking for permission to follow up vs. bombarding customers with countless unwanted phone calls. Instead of calling everyone on a list, teleprospecting focuses on defining particular criteria and segmenting those lists before making any calls.
Aligning Sales and Marketing B2B lead generation efforts
There are numerous benefits to including teleprospecting in your lead generation marketing strategy, however, one of the most beneficial aspects is the potential to better align your sales and marketing teams. A teleprospecting campaign done right can address leads that would otherwise fall through the cracks.
It is common for marketing to feel as though the leads they are providing to sales are not being followed up on as often as they should. And in that same regard, sales teams will often complain that the leads they are receiving are not quality, and therefore not worth the time spent calling them. Because of this disconnect, a high number of potential sales opportunities are often discarded.
When a company invests in teleprospecting, their sales and marketing teams are often forced to work together in order to identify the right leads at the right time. When sales and marketing work together to qualify leads before making initial contact, it increases the chances of reaching a decision-maker, and knowing the specific challenges and opportunities they must address as a business. By personally engaging prospects in two-way conversation, the potential to find qualified leads that may otherwise be disregarded is increased.
When teleprospecting is right for B2B lead generation
Teleprospecting is more commonly used in B2B lead generation vs. B2C lead generation, and the product or service is often both expensive and complex. The goal of this particular type of call is to first determine whether the product or service you’re offering is the right fit for a specific business, based on their unique needs and challenges.
These calls are more interview-like than a telemarketing call, where the caller asks the prospect questions aligned with their business goals rather than rattling off benefits to purchasing a particular product or service. The caller is then expected to set up the appropriate next steps in the sales process, such as scheduling a follow-up call or product/service demonstration.
By incorporating teleprospecting into the sales process at the right time and to the right audience, you can effectively produce sales ready leads and increase the overall success of your lead generation marketing strategy. In order to hit that sweet spot, however, the caller must understand the target market’s needs and how the product or service they’re offering can provide value, and they must be able to portray this to them in a compelling way.
Telesprospecting Done Right
In order for teleprospecting to have the biggest impact on your B2B lead generation efforts, it must be done right. Follow these steps:
HAVE A GOAL
Before making your first call, it’s important to know what you want to achieve. Be sure you’ve clearly defined your target market. What industry are you after? What size company are you targeting? Who would be the decision maker(s) for such a company? What are you looking to accomplish by making this call?
HAVE A PLAN
Be sure to have a well thought out plan. In addition to defining your target, you’ll need to know what qualifying questions to ask, and how to counter any objections. You will also need to define how to measure and assess the results of your campaign.
In order for a teleprospecting call to have a chance at being successful, the callers must go through the sales call process step by step. First, the caller must find a way to get past the non-decision makers or gatekeepers. Once they’ve earned the trust of the gatekeeper, the caller can then ask to speak to the decision maker.
ASK OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS
It’s important to avoid asking questions with yes or no answers that may lead to awkward silences, or worse, the prospect hanging up. By asking specific questions about daily processes and known challenges, you’ll increase the chances of getting them to agree to a follow up call.
ASK PERMISSION TO FOLLOW UP
You’ve got the right person on the phone, and you’ve discussed their needs and how your company can help. Now is the time to schedule a follow-up call. Again, avoid asking closed-ended questions. Instead of saying, “Can I follow up with you?”, say, “When is a good time for a quick demo?” or “When can I expect to hear from you?”
When an investment in time and resources is put towards teleprospecting, it can be an extremely useful way of increasing the results of your B2B lead generation marketing effect. When executed properly, teleprospecting is the most intelligent tool to add to your B2B lead generation mix. Learn more strategies with this free guide to B2B lead generation.