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Kate Heron 21st September 2015

'Cold Calling' - a thing of the past?

We take a look into why telemarketing is so regularly disputed and the simple qualifying techniques businesses can adopt to avoid those negative associations of a cold call.

Telemarketing is often ill cited when it comes to the all so well-known (and regularly disputed) subject of the ‘cold call’. With the development of technology and readily available databases for a multitude of businesses, the telemarketing and sales worlds are under constant criticism regarding how they should and shouldn’t be making contact. See the full article on Sales Initative by clicking here.

A simple google search of the word ‘telemarketing’ brings with it a multitude of definitions and classifications ranging from good, bad, overstated or downright incorrect. Conveniently, Google are able to scan through each and every nook and cranny of the World Wide Web that vaguely references this broad and somewhat extensive word and returned this simple, yet precise definition:

Telemarketing: the marketing of goods or services by means of telephone calls, typically unsolicited, to potential customers

Unsolicited’, ‘unwelcome’ or ‘unwanted’ are not words which should be running through a prospects mind before you’ve even begun to pitch your services and cold calling within the B2B sector should and CAN be a thing of the past through simple qualification procedures. The distinction lies in whether your prospect has been targeted, engaged, shown interest or is aware of your offering BEFORE you pick up the phone and any good lead generation company or sales team SHOULD be directing all efforts to those leads which are more likely to be interested in your product.

Far too often businesses favour quantity of calls over quality and find themselves stuck in a rut in terms of appointments or leads generated. However, with numerous simple techniques which marketers can use to engage with prospects prior to calling, the cold call can easily become a thing of the past.

Data for telemarketing

In order for any campaign to become successful and particularly that within the B2B sector, marketers must start with what is potentially the most important aspect of any campaign – the data. Telemarketing relies heavily on quality of data from the offset, so correct data sourcing and capture is a fundamental building block which needs constant attention to maintain and enhance. As a telemarketing company, we often find that bought data can become worthless if not prioritised correctly. Have you targeted the right type of organisations, the right size and the right type of individuals within those organisations? The relevancy of these three aspects within your offering can determine how qualified your data is and the likelihood of your offering being accepted. Start by looking at your customers or those who have spent before and use the characteristics of this data to shape any additional records you purchase or collect. Most of the time you’ll find a trend within customer base and this can be used to determine and refine your own target audience.

Email as an awareness and education tool

Email marketing is a powerful tool which can maximise exposure of a campaign and should be being used as an extension of your current marketing and sales efforts.

Topical updates with a point of interest to your target audience can work as a great way to update potential prospects or encourage interest in your offering. However, although plugging your product within every email can seem like the most likely way to generate sales, this can often lead to complaints of spam and turn off a potential customer. Avoid this by providing readers with interesting information related to your offering so that they in turn get something back from engaging with your mailer. Not only this, but by maintaining a relevant recurring point of contact, businesses requiring your services or similar services will know your name before you even pick up the phone – turning that cold call into a lukewarm one.

Sophisticated email marketing platforms allow users to access intelligence of who opened an email campaign, what links they clicked on and how many times they clicked on each link. All this information can then be used by marketers to assess and target those which may have shown a more vested interest in the email than others. This method of qualifying leads is relatively straightforward and can have a substantial impact on the coverage and awareness of a campaign as well as prioritisation tool.

Your website

Perhaps one of the simplest and least optimised methods of collecting leads for your marketing efforts is through your already content rich website. Website tracking software such as google analytics (which is completely free!) can provide you with website visitor tracking statistics, allowing you to view exactly who is visiting your website, what pages they clicked on and how long they were on each page, amongst other statistics.

These statistics are easily pulled off and can help form a list of already warm leads for your sales team or email marketing campaigns. Not only this, but analytics like this can provide invaluable information on your website, giving insight into how visitors find and use your site and how you can optimise this to keep them coming back.

Targeting, prioritisation and awareness are each factors which, with a combination of the above aspects, can help businesses to generate leads, build business databases and marketing platforms and hopefully in time, wrap up those negative preconceptions of the cold call.

Written By Kate Heron
Kate graduated with a first in Marketing & communications. She supports delivery of multi-channel marketing campaigns, ensuring that communications are aligned across telephone and email marketing channels.

Also written by Kate