Telemarketing is a hotly debated topic in both sales and marketing circles. It’s a bit of a love/hate relationship. Anyone who knows the Watertight Marketing methodology will know that we’re advocates of gentle permission-led marketing. But, that doesn’t mean we’re averse to picking up the telephone. In fact, it can be an incredibly powerful tool when you have the confidence and content to make it a welcome and effective part of your sales process. This post by Certified Practitioner, Peter Baynes, maps out some key ways to do this. ~ Bryony Thomas, Author, Watertight Marketing
In this age of digital communications, it is too easy for us to overlook the ideal one-to-one messaging tool that is always in everybody’s hand or on their desk – the telephone. In a recent B2B Marketing survey, (The Key To Successful Demand Generation) it was observed that telemarketing, events, websites and email are the top marketing activities that are most effective for demand and lead generation. So, if you are not using the telephone as a tactic in your current marketing activity, then you are missing out on a very powerful, useful and productive channel.
Many of us are wary of the telephone – especially making unsolicited calls to our prospects, even our customers. But, used professionally and appropriately, the telephone call can help us make big steps in building that all important emotional connection and relationship with a prospect or customer.
Now, there are numerous blogs and tips out there on making telephone calls as part of a sales journey (including my post ‘The Do’s and Don’ts of Telemarketing‘) I do not want to unnecessarily add to or repeat those, so I thought I would talk about how you can use the telephone call in the context of the Six Tasks of Marketing, as mapped out in Watertight Marketing against the classic model from Kotler on the stages of a buying decision. Let’s consider each of these tasks, and how they can be applied to the good old fashioned telephone call.
See also: What are the six tasks of marketing?
Telemarketing to raise Awareness:
Marketing Task = Be There
At the start of your buyer’s journey, people need to know you exist, and associate you with your key area of work. How often are you told about people who need our services? And, how many times to we just end up sending an email, and getting no response? By picking up the telephone and making a call you are more likely to make contact or at least be noticed. Even leaving a voicemail, or message with a colleague, will result in the person you are trying to contact more likely to read your email, notice your other marketing efforts, or even give you a return call.
The key here is not to try to make a sale on this call, but to have something non-salesly of interest that they might like to receive… then send the email with that! This is where you need to fulfil the next task…
Telemarketing to generate Interest:
Marketing Task = Be Relevant
The last thing your prospect or customer wants is a call that is wasting their time. How often have you received calls from businesses offering something you don’t need or is totally irrelevant to you, or who start a call “How are you today?”. Annoying, isn’t it? It’s not that I don’t like people… it’s that I already had things on my list for the time they’re now taking up.
It is essential that when you put a call into someone, that you immediately give them a reason for the call that is relevant and of interest to them and their situation. So, for example, if you are making follow up calls to people who downloaded some content from your website, you could open with “I’m calling today as you downloaded our paper on (subject), and I wanted to let you know we are holding a free seminar on this in your area next week, which you may wish to attend.” Now, if this is in follow-up the the Awareness call you made offering them that very paper, it’s a much more natural thing to call them to see what they thought of it. (See the video below where Bryony Thomas and Sonja Jefferson talk through a case study on this exact approach.)
Telemarketing to support Evaluation:
Marketing Task = Be Proven
When you are speaking to a prospect, you need to be prepared to give them some real evidence that you can help them, with a relevant reference from a person or company that they are likely to know or heard of. A short sound bite, delivered early in the call, such as “We helped so-and-so, a business just like yours, reduce their IT managed service cost by 25%” will help establish you as a credible potential supplier. Your call in this context may even be to invite them to a webinar in which you go through the fine detail of a case study. Feeling really confident… ask your current clients if they’d mind you giving prospect their telephone number for a direct conversation.
Telemarketing to support trial:
Marketing Task = Be Helpful
When you are talking to people about your business and they are sharing information about their particular situation or problem they want to solve, try and give something away that is going to help them make the next step. This may involve offering to send them relevant information, such as buying tips, or a something that helps them understand better your solution – say a jargon-buster. This is great if you’ve already built up a relationship and can pick up the phone to say, “Do you remember you were asking about X, I’ve just found this useful thing on that, shall I send it to you?”
If you have someone in a Gateway Product, you may also want to map in check in calls to offer support and get feedback as they are trialling your products or services.
See: How to sell more by including a Gateway Product
Commercial Karma comes into play here – so even if you cannot help your contact, try and be helpful in the way you pass them on to someone who can. Remember nobody is nobody, and they may remember your advice and possibly recommend you to others.
Telemarketing to support Adoption:
Marketing Task = Be Friendly
Any good sales person will testify to the fact that a friendly call can get people over the line in parting with their precious money. But, adoption is also about moving people from choosing into using your products and services. There are lots of chances here to make effective use of the phone. You could call to check that things have arrived safely. You can have a link for them to book in a set-up call, and you can map in points during on boarding where a quick call to see how they are getting on would be welcomed.
Remember when you are using the telephone, do be yourself. Many of us put on our ‘telephone voice’ or let our nerves or fear of rejection affect the way we talk. (Note if you are not confident about making that call, ask yourself why. It may be because you know the call is not relevant or you are unsure how you can be helpful!) Always be polite and professional, and discard all the empty clichéd niceties, such as “how are you?” and “this is just a courtesy call”, unless you already have a good relationship with who you are calling.
Telemarketing to secure Loyalty:
Marketing Task = Be Consistent
Being consistent is about living up to the promises you have made to your prospect and customer, throughout the time you have a relationship with them. That’s right from your first telephone contact them, make sure you do what you say are going to do, and make sure you keep putting the calls in to them. Don’t let them think you only talk to them when you want something, but when you do call, make sure what you are calling about is relevant, or helpful, and always be friendly!
Making telephone calls is not everybody’s cup of tea. Approached in the right way, and at the right time, a telephone call can make all the difference to a relationship and turn a prospect into a customer, and a customer into a loyal one. Don’t ignore this valuable tool when you draw up your marketing activity plan. Try applying the six tasks to the telephone.
Case Study Video: Content-driven telemarketing
Watertight Marketing Certified Practitioner
Peter is an experienced B2B marketing consultant with a strength is supporting high-growth technology businesses. He is based in Surrey and supports clients across the South East.