Marketing Blog & News

Top Ten Telemarketing Best Practices

  1. Before engaging on a lead generation program it is critically important that marketing and sales management work together to create and agree upon the definition of a “sales-ready” lead for your organization. Factors to consider include the length of your sales cycle, steps within your sales cycle, how your prospects evaluate your products/services, etc. Answering these questions will help determine when marketing should pass a lead to your sales team.
  2. Do not underestimate the importance of nurturing your long-term leads and qualified prospects by developing a multi-touch, multi-media approach. E-mail alone is not an effective nurturing strategy. Keep in mind that nurturing is a relationship building approach and that relationships are most often developed via conversations. Therefore telemarketing is a critical element of an effective contact strategy. Email, Micro Websites, Direct Mail and Events are excellent vehicles to re-enforce your message and should be a part of your Nurturing strategy as well.
  3. The most effective way to engage prospects in an ongoing dialog is to communicate with them based on their individual business priorities, needs, industry, etc. An effective approach is to build prospect profiles to understand your market’s top challenges, infrastructure, etc. Once this information is obtained, you can group your market into major segments based on commonalities and develop contact strategies that are tailored to each segment. This allows you to provide relevant information to your prospects based on their individual situations, which will position you as a valuable resource as they enter the sales cycle. This strategy will create a relationship with your prospects, which is a major advantage over your competitors.
  4. Tracking and analyzing customer data helps you to distinguish your most valuable and profitable customers. Additionally, it allows you to pinpoint the characteristics, which are possessed most often by organizations that purchase your products and services. Reviewing trends within your customer database can help you to more accurately target new prospects for your marketing activities.
  5. Set solid goals for your marketing programs. What are you hoping to gain from your marketing initiative? Your goals should be explicit, measurable and achievable based on historical data. Most importantly, you should present your goals and receive buy-in from executive management (whoever controls your spending). If the executives do not agree with your definition of success, you will inevitably have a difficult time sustaining your funding.
  6. Make sure that the “right hand knows what the left hand is doing” within your marketing organization. By this, it’s important that all communication (telemarketing, print advertising, direct mail, etc) to your prospects and customers is both consistent and streamlined. You don’t want to approach the same customer with differing messages. Make sure that your lead generation messages correlate with your company’s active marketing initiatives and that you are timing your “touches” appropriately.
  7. Although using integrated marketing contact strategies including direct mail and email is extremely effective, you should not begin your telemarketing phone call with a question such as: “we just sent you a mailer…do you recall receiving it?” This type of question allows the prospect to immediately end the phone call by simply stating, “No, can you resend and call me another time?” It’s hard enough to get your prospect on the phone, so do not waste your opportunity! Telemarketing should be used to strengthen the messages within the mailer or email and position the benefits of your offering, while probing for pains. While it’s OK to reference the mailer, do not build your opening statement in the form of a question. Instead try “you may recall in the document that we mailed, our customers are realizing a 20% reduction in their total cost of ownership through…”.
  8. Listen to what your market is saying and adapt your messaging where appropriate. One of the best aspects of utilizing telemarketing is the flexibility of the medium. Unlike direct mailings or e-mail communication, verbal messages can easily change or adapt according to feedback or new circumstances. Given this, it’s extremely effective to listen to your telemarketing calls on a regular basis in order to uncover market changes that may require a new or modified message. With telemarketing, messages can be changed – and tested – immediately with little or no additional cost.
  9. Focus on positioning concrete benefits in all of your marketing communication. Avoid marketing buzzwords that do not have real meaning to your prospects and stay away from focusing on your product or services’ features. Always remember that benefits are what sell your product/service.
  10. The best way to ensure that your marketing program receives ongoing funding is to show a Return on Investment. Tracking lead opportunities through the sales funnel is a critical step, which should not be overlooked. Utilize marketing campaign codes to identify and track lead opportunities within your CRM or SFA system. Your marketing partners should provide lead data in a format, which can be integrated into your SFA tool for ongoing tracking. Or you may consider using an online lead distribution and tracking service. Also, it’s a very good idea to reach out to your sales team on a regular basis to solicit their direct feedback on your marketing leads, the quality and the content.