Sometimes it seems that for every technological advance, there is a counter-force at work. Take the telephone. It’s a strategic tool for B2B lead follow-up, telemarketing and telesales. But with the ascendancy of voicemail and its handy helper Caller ID, it has become increasingly difficult to get a live prospect on the line.
For the sales rep, the question becomes: How do I break through the voicemail barrier, beat the technological gatekeeper and deliver my message? To leave a message or not to leave a message? That is the question you must answer. Here are some B2B phone sales tips to help you.
“More than 60 percent of companies plan to invest in technology for ABM to better align sales and marketing over the next twelve months.” — Sirius Decisions, 2015 State of Account Based Marketing
Account based marketing (ABM), a term coined by ITSMA in 2004, is not new. As shown by Sirius Decision’s research, however, it is gaining traction. Companies are voting with their wallets by investing in technology to support the strategy.
Account based marketing recognizes that large organizations have tremendous sales potential, and each should be treated as its own market. Instead of fishing for business with a net, this strategy is like fishing with a spear. There is no waste.
Vendors identify their targeted large accounts and focus on each holistically. With some Fortune 500 companies reaching revenues higher than the GDPs of some nations, there’s a strong rationale behind this approach.
The funeral for outbound marketing took place several years ago. Friends and relatives celebrated its life and moved on, letting inbound marketing fill the void. But now, what was old is new again. Outbound marketing is coming back to life. This begs the big question, “Why?”
Don’t get me wrong, I like lead scoring. It’s highly effective in increasing the efficiency of generating qualified leads. There is, however, a caveat. It does not do the whole job.
What does lead scoring do? You score leads based on their engagement level with your content as well as on the strength of demographic criteria that qualifies them. When you do so, you’re able to spot the hottest prospects, narrowing down the list, so you know who to call. In this way, it increases productivity.
Effective digital marketing and automation make outbound marketing more efficient. They do not eliminate the need for it. That’s because you need a two-way conversation to answer all the qualifying questions.
Some of your leads, for example, could be opening your emails, reading blog posts and downloading white papers. But how do you know if they can afford the product, service or solution you’re offering? You may have captured your leads’ titles, but every organization is different, so how do you know if they have the authority to buy? You can’t even start to guess who else is involved in the buying decision.
“Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder,” Mason Cooley, an American writer.
It’s September. We’re almost into the fourth quarter (Q4) and John, the Vice President of Sales, is in a mild panic. It’s not surprising. After all, time’s running out to meet his quota and sales are soft.
How did he get into this position?
When he arrived at work at the beginning of January, he was full of optimism for the New Year and ready to tackle the sales challenges. Ahead of him stretched twelve long months to make it all happen. Plenty of time to fill the pipeline, nurture leads and convert them into sales. Or so he thought.
It seems like this missing link is made of gold. What are these sales lead management teams doing that is multiplying the number of ready-to-buy prospects while cutting marketing costs?
But things didn’t work out that way.
Each month sales fell just a little short. And John thought he could tweak a few things to catch up. It didn’t work. Now, he’s about 5% down year to date. Making up those lost sales in the last quarter will require some heroics.
Does this sound familiar?
Too often glass-half-full leaders fail to take strong actions to get sales back on track until they’re up against the wall. Time, their friend at the beginning of the year, zips along and turns into their enemy. And, as Cooley noted so wisely, procrastination makes hard things become harder.
When you’re managing business-to-business telemarketing representatives, you can record their conversations and use them as learning opportunities. If one agent is particularly productive, you can listen to recordings of her phone calls to determine what sets her apart from the others. Also, if another is having difficulty meeting their goals, you can re-live their conversations and learn where they go off track.
Before doing anything, however, become aware oflocal and federal laws related to recording calls and ensure that you abide by them.
When you’re listening to recordings to find out why some representatives are successful and others struggle, pay attention to these areas.
We hear so much these days about the customer-driven buyer’s journey and that more than half of the sales cycle occurs without prospective customers contacting a sales representative. The new buyer’s journey puts ever-increasing pressure on marketing departments to handle the pre-sales process.
Although marketing technology, with its lead scoring, data integration, and automated content delivery tools, can help marketers respond quickly to inquiries online and deliver targeted content, it’s often not enough. That’s why the best marketers still match high tech with the human touch—especially when their product line is complex, and the sales cycle is long.
It’s not enough to capture a lead, follow up, pass the lead to sales, and hope for the business. You need to turn requests into qualified leads and ideally sales-enabled leads. Marketing’s job is to get salespeople in front of prospective customers. And one of the best ways to do that is to work with a professional telemarketing service that specializes in B2B sales and develop a proven appointment-setting strategy.
Even in a world where people are able to conduct much of their business virtually, face-to-face meetings still play an important role. In fact, Meetings Professionals International conducted research that shows 40% of prospects convert during in-person meetings.
So, how do you get more live appointments?
Follow this step-by-step process to fill your salespeople’s calendars with well-qualified sales appointments:
Like most B2B marketers, you probably agree that the most successful way to create qualified leads is by using a human touch.
In its study, B2B Marketing found that 40% of marketers believe telemarketing is the best vehicle for generating high-quality leads. That’s second only to live, in-person events that were cited by 43% of respondents. Even in the era of online marketing these traditional tactics, where we talk one-on-one with prospects, stand out.
It’s one thing, however, to know that you need to add telemarketing to your marketing initiatives. It’s another to make it happen.
Selling telemarketing to the powers that be and ensuring it pays off comes down to executing it the right way — the way that’s most likely to maximize ROI.
While some marketing leaders want to test the telemarketing waters by doing it in-house, this isn’t a fair test. Why? Because statistics show that the ROI of in-house telemarketing isn’t as high as when it’s outsourced. Read more.
If you work for a company that sells in the business to business market, outsourcing your appointment setting to professionals may be a smart move, but you should ask some critical questions first. Here’s a list of questions to make selecting the right business to business appointment setting company easy for you.