Telemarketing has a bad reputation, but where else are organisations going to get the all-important new business leads?
It is time to recognise the role that telemarketing plays in the sales process. Rather than deferring to the marketing department, the sales team has to take a proactive approach to campaign creation. It also needs to ensure that highly qualified, relevant leads are seamlessly received and acted upon. This reduces the cost of sale and improves conversion rates.
Also, organisations need to take a harder look at who is delivering the telemarketing campaign. In the highly competitive, complex business-to-business environment, there is a new generation of educated, ambitious individuals using telemarketing jobs as a fast-track to senior sales and marketing positions that are transforming the quality and value of the lead-generation process.
Telemarketing is not about gentle brand building. It is about delivering highly qualified, good-quality leads to the sales team. Such lead generation should be quantifiable, not just on the number of sales appointments set up, but on actual business conversion rates.
While most organisations recognise that telemarketing is the primary method of lead generation, achieving quantifiable business value from the investment will require a major shift in attitude. Too often, marketing departments turn to telemarketing in a bid to justify marketing spend. This is an approach that completely misses the point of what a focused, sales-led lead-generation campaign can achieve.
Not only must the sales team take a far more proactive stance in the creation of the telemarketing campaign, but every organisation must also ensure the results of that campaign are tightly integrated into the sales process.
Taking this approach should also move the lead-generation process away from an intermittent effort to a constant source of relevant leads for the sales team.
Telemarketing is one of the very few opportunities for direct contact with prospects. As such, it is an area that demands more attention and far better service. It is only by taking the right approach up front and using the right people with the right skills that telemarketing will become an invaluable component of a coherent, integrated sales process, rather than an irrelevant add-on to the overall marketing strategy.
Jamie Vaughan is managing director of V2 Communications.
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