2019 marks 20 years in business for TeleNet Marketing Solutions, which is no easy feat in the business-to-business marketing world. Two of the company’s founders, Gregg Garrett and Kathy Rizzo, offer their observations on the marketing teleservices industry over the last twenty years, as well as insights on what the future holds for b2b marketers.
Q. Looking back over the last twenty years, what has stayed the most consistent in your business?
Gregg Garrett: Outbound cold calling has always been a large piece of our business. It never died, as some industry experts had predicted. We’ve become smarter in our targeting and our approach has evolved thru the integration of email and online content; however, proactive outbound teleprospecting has consistently made up at least sixty percent of our business. People still want to talk with people.
Kathy Rizzo: I would add that quality has consistently been at the center of our business model. Everyone in our organization is measured on quality in some capacity. While cost per lead and lead per day metrics are certainly important, it’s the quality of our leads that impact our client’s pipeline the most. It’s what keeps them coming back quarter after quarter, year after year. Our very first client from 1999 remains one of our largest clients today.
Q. That’s impressive! Surely you’ve seen some major changes in the marketing world over the last 20 years. What stands out the most?
KR: The alignment of marketing and sales teams has improved dramatically, paving the way for TeleNet to be much more tightly integrated with our clients’ sales teams. In many cases, our lead development representatives (LDRs) work directly within our client’s CRM systems, we have access to account executives’ calendars in order to schedule appointments, and our LDRs facilitate warm introductions between prospects and account executives. We truly work as an extension of our clients’ sales teams. We’ve come a long way from emailing leads as a Microsoft Word attachment.
GG: Key performance indicators have also expanded, giving a clearer picture on what’s contributing to a campaign’s success or struggle, allowing us to create better action plans. Twenty years ago, our KPIs were mainly centered on dials, talk-time and lead rates. Today, our system provides us with a lot more information, giving us the ability to examine a plethora of metrics around data usability, market intelligence and LDR productivity. Also, with the tighter client integration Kathy mentioned, we have a lot more understanding of how TeleNet positively impacts our clients’ pipeline and revenue.
KR: The tighter sales and marketing alignment has also impacted the criteria and requirements of a sales-ready lead. It’s no longer a one-size-fits-all definition based on BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeframe). Nowadays lead criteria are different for nearly every TeleNet client, depending on many factors such as the sales team’s bandwidth, account segmentation, product type and market awareness.
Q. Looking into your crystal ball, what changes do you anticipate over the next 20 years? How will TeleNet change?
GG: Great question. Data intelligence is going to continue to improve, allowing marketers to create more relevant messaging, as well as help us target the best accounts and contacts possible via teleprospecting. We are already leveraging our clients’ ABM tools to prioritize accounts, which are more likely to be in the buying cycle. However, I think there will be more data intelligence in the upcoming years, giving our LDRs a comprehensive buying history of each targeted account, which in turn will allow more pinpointed conversations. That will translate into even higher quality leads for our clients.
KR: The role of the LDR will continue to evolve and develop as well. While the phone will remain a very effective medium to reach and speak with prospects, we’ll more heavily integrate online chat and social media outreach into our marketing campaigns, expanding the role of our LDRs. I won’t be surprised if cell phone laws are adjusted to be less restrictive, as the business world becomes more and more mobile. If that happens, it will expand our callable market, and pave the way for integrating relevant text messaging into our outbound prospecting initiatives as well.
Q. Any advice for business owners who would like to make it to the 20 year mark?
GG: We’ve done our best to create an atmosphere in which employees truly want to be here and are rewarded and recognized for their hard work. Nearly all of our managers and account executives started in entry level positions at TeleNet and were promoted as they learned our business and excelled in their positions. This internal advancement has been a huge factor in our success and ability to be very consultative with our customers. My advice is to establish clear career paths and a reward system for your employees. If you do that, they will in turn help you build your business and grow your clientele.