Effectivenes of Telemarketing Lead Generation
There are a number of marketing methods that you can employ to generate new business or to create “leads”. In fact, the ways of generating new business are almost endless. However, there are four methods that stand out as viable commercial options when considering the allocation of your marketing budget and as such, the vast majority of business people will find themselves choosing between them. Those methods are: Direct Mail Marketing, Email Marketing (or spamming), Pay Per-Lead Marketing and Telemarketing. As a business person, it’s unlikely that you will care much as to who ultimately gets your marketing dollars and your decision will fundamentally be an economic one. In light of that, information on the effectiveness of each method is highly important and if we’re to be frank, all four marketing methods have suffered their share of criticism over the years. They are all, however, undoubtedly capable of driving your business in their own way. This article then, aims to help you decide amongst the viable options by assessing the reputation and effectives of one, namely telemarketing.
Is Telemarketing a Victim of Its Own Success?
Telemarketing has been around for longer than most would think. It originally began to establish itself in the late 50’s as telephone call charges began to drop. Since then telemarketing has been a consistent performer and as such, is a very popular lead generation format. This popularity, ironically, has been the motivation behind a lot of telemarketings’ critics. Some have suggested that the telemarketing industry is saturated and that increased consumer awareness is responsible for diminishing ROI’s in the sector. Both of these assertions, however, don’t really stand up to scrutiny.
Let’s firstly take the claim that the market’s saturated; economically speaking, a market’s saturated when supply meets or exceeds demand. If we accept that this is the case then, it would no longer be sensible to set up a telemarketing company, as there would not be enough demand for your services to turn a profit. Perhaps that’s true but even if it were, it would tell us nothing about the effectiveness of existing telemarketing services. It’s easy to fall foul of the market saturation argument; however, it is just another incarnation of Yogi Berra’s apocryphal quote; “Nobody goes there no more, it’s too crowded!” As a footnote to this point; if the proponents of the saturation argument are really suggesting that it’s not the telemarketing industry that’s saturated but the population itself; i.e. People just can’t take any more marketing calls! Then the argument is again, erroneous. Quite simply, if you’re conducting a b2b telemarketing campaign for an industrial food processor, you won’t be calling newsagents. Likewise, you wouldn’t call restaurants if you were marketing a new magazine. It’s just ridiculous to assume that all telemarketing companies are calling the same people. So in reality, you can pretty much guarantee that telemarketers are targeting different businesses or in the case of b2c telemarketing, different demographics.
Secondly let’s take the argument of increased consumer awareness. This argument is palatable because it flatters us; we are all consumers as well as business people and it’s natural to feel that we’re just too savvy to be wooed by wily telemarketers. Well, that’s not what the figures say. Fortunately for telemarketers, we’re just as easy to sell to as we’ve always been and there is a number of reasons why. We may actually be much more versed in dealing with telemarketing companies but they are also more experienced at dealing with us. With more sophisticated profiling software the industry has become more efficient and telemarketing agencies are able to target more effectively those who will benefit from a given product or service. Also telemarketing was originally seen as an in-house operation, due to market competition and the comparative advantage of specialist telemarketing services though, the industry is now mostly outsourced. This development of telemarketing specialists has done much to keep costs down and increase efficiency. What this means is that the popularity of telemarketing has actually benefitted us by making the industry more efficient, quite the reverse of the market saturation argument!
What Are The Benefits of Telemarketing Over Other Lead Generation Methods?
Key Performance Indicators
One of the great benefits of telemarketing as a way of developing business leads, is that it's incredibly easy to keep track of how effectively your campaign is being managed. Unlike direct mail and email marketing, the results are measurable on a day to day basis. How many calls are made and the relationship of calls to appointments, sales or hot leads is very clear. This has a range of benefits but most importantly it means that problems can be identified very early on. It’s not unusual for marketing scripts or material to need fine-tuning from time to time but with a direct or email campaign, as you only get one shot at the copy; getting it wrong can be disastrous. Because of the human aspect in telemarketing though, you are able to get instant feedback on how the script is working and experiment to find out what works best. This ability to make running repairs means you can increase your campaigns’ efficiency and therefore save money.
Keeping Abreast of Market Conditions
This relates to the feedback issue discussed in the previous section but more precisely, people usually see marketing as a one way street. Telemarketing companies, however, are able to gather a great deal of information about your sales prospects. So rather than blindly sending out material and hoping for a reply, a good telemarketing agency will be able to help you judge the market conditions. Often the best way of doing this is by questioning prospects who refuse the service, just a few questions at the end of the script such as; which supplier do you use or what deal have you been offered by your existing supplier? Allows you to better target and refine your marketing strategy, making you more attractive to future business prospects and helping you to keep on top of market trends.
It’s impossible to develop a relationship with junk mail. Not a particularly contentious statement but also not true of telemarketing. Especially in business telemarketing, smart telemarketers develop a rapport with the prospect and this is beneficial in its own right regardless of whether it turns into an immediate sale or not. Psychologically speaking, people are much more receptive to salesmanship if they have, or at lease feel that they have, a relationship with the prospective company. In a great many industries, it’s untenable to expect prospects to switch suppliers or make a big purchase immediately, which ultimately means that the point of sale is naturally a little way down the road. A great residual effect of telemarketing then, is that where marketing material (even if it’s a great introductory offer) is easily forgotten, a well developed rapport is not. So when the time to reassess suppliers or replace equipment does eventually come, you can pretty much count on the prospect remembering a person rather than a flyer or email.