Anyone who has attended a marketing conference, seminar or event this year will have heard from someone the phrase “Cold Calling is Dead”. As a marketing services agency who specialise in telemarketing you may expect us to disagree however you’re in for a shock… we don’t (well not completely!).
The Customer Acquisition Barometer published by the Direct Marketing Association in association with The Media Octopus is packed full of insights about how both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) companies acquire their business. These are 12 of the most interesting facts and statistics from the report:
Elequa, Marketo, Hubspot, Silverpop all immensely powerful tools for marketers. When used properly they have the ability to turn thousands of strangers to visitors and from visitors to leads.
Using the potent combination of social media, blogs, landing pages and effective content management these systems have revolutionised not just the way companies market but also the way that we as B2B and B2C consumers go about making our purchases.
How you manage and work your B2B data is at the heart of any good marketing strategy. Whether you operate in the B2B or B2C world; accurate, clean and secure data is the lifeblood of any company. Through understanding your data you should have a good knowledge of your existing customers, what their buyer behaviours are and also who your potential new customers might be. This is why you will often hear marketers fretting about their data and how they can get the most out of it.
The fact is, data is a living thing and it changes all the time. Businesses go bust, phone numbers change, companies move premises, email addresses change and people move roles, it really is a moving feast and unless you keep on top of this, it’s easy for your data to become out of date and become something that people waste their time on.
Nothing is likely to irritate a marketing person more than a chunk of data that they are targeted to achieve leads from, only for them to find that the data is so hopelessly out of date that they haven’t got a hope in hell of achieving their numbers. This is why having a robust game plan for constantly cleansing and updating your data should be a part of your thinking.
Touching Your B2B Data
Ideally you want to be ‘touching’ your data every 3 months. By touching we mean getting in contact with them, either by email or phone to confirm that the contact still works there and the email or phone number is correct. With good automation software and a strong CRM strategy, this process can be automated and out of date data can be identified, updated and discarded if appropriate to do so.
In the digital environment, customers and prospects communicate with organisations on a variety of different platforms. These include email, phone, social media, tablets, mobile, apps etc. Having ‘one view’ of your customers and prospects is a challenge that most organisations face. One solution is to use a reputable automation platform integrated with your CRM. This will make it possible to gain an understanding of how your customers and prospects interact with you, giving you insight into the best way you can engage their interest.
So, when it comes to your data there’s a lot to think about. It needs to be cleansed, duplicate records removed, contact details updating, industry categories may need updating and you need to understand how the people behind the data are currently engaging with you. This is no mean feat and it requires a degree of expertise to do it accurately and effectively.
Delivering the Right Message
If you can get a handle on your data then it makes segmentation so much easier and it allows you to deliver the right message, to the right people at the right time. By managing your data effectively you will also soon see where there might be gaps in your target market and this allows you to generate inbound campaigns to fill those gaps or buy-in data lists to supplement your database.
And then there’s data protection to think about as well. Businesses have a responsibility to keep certain personal data up to date, accurate and safe. If this is not managed appropriately then you might fall foul of EU regulations and face a hefty fine. You can find out more about data protection by visiting the information commissioners website https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/
Taking the Pain Away
In summary, your data is only as good as the time you invest in it. You can waste a lot of time contacting redundant data and your carefully constructed marketing plans can come apart at the seams if you don’t have a well thought-through data strategy. Specialist agencies like GCL Direct can take the pain away from managing and maintaining your data by implementing multi-touch campaigns and building in automation and CRM strategies. By doing this, you can be confident that the integrity of your data is as robust as it can be.
All businesses have a budget and when it comes to outsourcing telemarketing then the more bang you can get for your buck is clearly an attractive proposition. This is why so many companies get lured in by ‘pay per lead’ telemarketing companies believing that it makes sense to only pay for a bona-fide lead. On the face of it, this just sounds like common sense and it’s only when you delve into the reality of per lead that you start to realise maybe it’s not such a good idea.
So why isn’t pay per lead exactly what it says on the tin?
Well, it may sound like a bit of a cliché but ‘quality over quantity’ is what you should be looking for in any telemarketing campaign that you do. Pay per lead companies are driven by numbers because that’s how they get paid. This philosophy drives behaviours in a telemarketing team that you don’t really want and the desire to get numbers, irrespective of qualification and quality, takes precedence.
Imagine how your sales force is going to feel when they get these leads. They may initially be motivated by the numbers that are coming through but when they make contact they will soon discover that the so-called leads that have been generated are not qualified, not relevant for now and at best, lukewarm. It’s amazing how quickly you can damage the mind-set of your sales team and if you give them lousy sales leads and waste their time, you will soon see a lot of negativity creeping in. Negativity which is perfectly understandable when they have been expecting to receive prime sales opportunities.
It’s true that there are many telemarketing companies out there vying for business and the way they can differentiate themselves from each other is through price and through promising pay per lead programmes that intend to save you money. However, this can often be a false economy when you start to see the amount of wasted sales time involved in chasing leads that aren’t worth the effort; then managing the fall-out as disgruntled sales people start to vent their spleen about the rubbish leads they are getting.
Benefits of the Time and Labour Model
In light of this, working with a telemarketing company like GCL that operates a defined time and labour model is a more considered way forward. There is not the same pressure to panic sell in order to drive numbers and the telemarketing team will take considerably more time in qualifying the lead as a genuine sales opportunity before passing it forward.
A time and labour model may cost more but in terms of return on investment it delivers. It’s a fairly simple equation; Better qualified leads = more genuine opportunities to sell = a more motivated sales force = a better bottom line.
Pay per lead forces the situation and often results in the telemarketers pushing too hard, over-promising, using hard-sell techniques and when they’re really under pressure, just making the sales lead up to hit a target. Do you really want your brand to be sold in this way to your potential prospects?
Of course you don’t. The last thing you want to do is have to implement a PR campaign to undo the damage that a pay per lead telemarketing team has inflicted!
Data can’t tell you everything. Whilst many marketers have become very good at using digital data for personalisation, identifying customer behaviour and determining how to tailor marketing messages, that data alone can’t give you the full story.
Big data has been a hot topic in the marketing industry for a while now and whilst it can tell us quite a lot about what’s going on, where it’s happening and when things are taking place, it doesn’t really tell us why customers behave the way they do. Big data can track customer behaviour but it can’t explain it. And that’s why the raw data is only part of the story. The actual process of conducting market research either face to face or over the phone can provide valuable insight and understanding into customers behaviours.
Getting true value out of your data
If you want to get true value out of the data you collect on your customers then you need to get better at understanding the market trends as well as the social, political and technological factors that underlie that behaviour. Understanding the motivation and why customers behave the way they do will give you much greater insight and without making human contact, you’re unlikely to derive this information.
The collection of raw data certainly has a key role to play in gaining insight about your customers and that’s why organisations across the globe are pouring billions into it. But, this doesn’t change the fact that human interaction and customer engagement matter.
In a world that is dominated by online interactions, the human touch still resonates. Speaking to your customers directly about the things that affect them is the only way to get under their skin and understand the way they tick.
Asking the right questions
In the B2B environment it takes time to build accurate profiles of your customers to understand what influences them and how their buying cycle operates. The best way to understand your customers is to speak to them, ask the right questions and listen to what they are actually telling you. This is why many organisations are now looking again at telemarketing to nurture customers, drive successful marketing automation, and speak to customers at the right time. This is how valuable insight is built and how future sales strategies can be reliably informed.
In conclusion, you really need to understand all aspects of your customers, use that understanding to drive more intelligent data capture via automation and then use all the insight you have gained to drive meaningful long lasting engagement. If you can achieve this, you will see the positive effects of your efforts on your bottom line.
To see how telemarketing can help you better understand your customers read the Definitive Guide to Telemarketing in the Digital Age