What is B2B telemarketing and is it still relevant today?

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    B2B telemarketing is dead, long live B2B telemarketing. A telemarketing strategy made up only of cold calling random people is a thing of the past. But inbound telemarketing, where businesses take calls and follow up with a lead after they’ve expressed an interest, is alive and well. Trouble is, it isn’t always thought of as telemarketing.

    In today’s digital marketing world, B2B marketers shouldn’t dismiss the value of a good phone call to driving sales. Picking up the phone to follow up with a lead or to make a targeted and timely cold call still has its place within a modern marketing strategy. In fact, 41% of salespeople say that the phone remains their most effective sales tool.1

    When used as part of a broader marketing strategy, B2B telemarketing remains highly relevant. And not just more just relevant; as the B2B space still relies on personal relationships to build trust, it can be very effective.

    What is B2B telemarketing?

    Is it that thing where someone calls you during dinner and tries to sell you a new credit card? Or is it something more? Simply, B2B telemarketing is one business contacting another to sell its products or services or to learn more about the other business’s products or services. Its goal is to generate leads, build relationships, and close sales. For this, there are two types of telemarketing: inbound and outbound. 

    Inbound telemarketing

    This is when a customer initiates contact with the business because they’re interested in certain products or services, which the business then follows up on. Typically, this is when sales teams follow up with a lead over the phone. Contact can come in the form of a call or email, or they may reach out through social media.

    Phone-based sales conversations are alive and kicking in B2B marketing. These conversations can be when someone has contacted the business asking to start a conversation or if they’re is looking for product information. This is inbound telemarketing.

    Outbound telemarketing

    The form of telemarketing that usually comes to mind, outbound marketing is when you contact other businesses, usually to gauge their interest in your products or services. This can be referred to as cold contact, including cold calling via phone: a technique used to generate leads by contacting potential customers without having had any previous contact with them. And it works, as research shows that 82% of buyers are willing to accept meetings when a salesperson reaches out to them via phone.2

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    What are the types of B2B telemarketing campaigns?

    There are several different types of B2B telemarking campaigns, each with its own set of goals and objectives, and each requiring a different approach. We highlight 5 of these campaigns below.

    Lead generation

    Almost every sale begins with a quality lead — B2B telemarketing is about finding, making and following up with them. Leads can be generated through:

    • Inbound telemarketing: Calling customers who have already expressed an interest in the product or service via a conversion point or who requested more information.
    • Outbound telemarketing: Cold contacting customers or potential customers on a targeted list or database.

    Sales follow up

    This campaign follows up with a prospect who’s expressed an interest in your product or service or with whom you previously interacted but didn’t receive a firm response. Or, once someone has provided their information through a conversion point, sales teams can follow up and gauge interest.

    Inbound support

    This is when your business receives calls directly. It’s your inbound sales and customer service function and includes everything from providing product information and pricing to answering customer questions and addressing concerns. In many cases, inbound sales support can be the difference between making a sale and losing a customer.

    Market research

    Surveys, competitor research, and trend analysis can be done through telemarketing. By conducting market research, you can: 

    • Get insights into the needs and preferences of your target customers.
    • Understand how your products/services can satisfy those needs.
    • Determine how a product/service is perceived in the market — this can be used at the start of a go-to-market or growth strategy.

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    Benefits of B2B Telemarketing

    Today, so much marketing is online or automated. Yet, despite the growth in automated customer support, there are still many benefits to B2B telemarketing. 

    • Return on investment: Research shows for every £1 spent on B2B telemarketing, you can expect an £11 return. 3
    • Boost sales: Sometimes, a chatbot or automated email simply won’t cut it — 50% of customers say that it’s important to them to speak to a human before making a large purchase.4
    • Personal connection: B2B telemarketing can effectively reach out to prospects and make direct contact with your target audience to create a more personal connection.
    • Cost-effective: Data is important to pick up the phone to the right people. This has a cost. But compared to fully-fledged marketing campaigns, telemarketing is an attractive option cost-effective option.

    When done correctly B2B telemarketing can be a powerful tool to:

    • Move prospects through your sales funnel 
    • Generate new leads 
    • Build long-term relationships with customers.

    Are there disadvantages?

    B2B telemarketing can be a great way to reach potential clients, but you should be mindful of the drawbacks. Most of these issues centre around cold outbound contact. For example: 

    • It can be intrusive: Some people don’t want to be cold called, full stop. If you’re not careful to contact the right people in the right way, it can feel intrusive and leave them with a negative impression of your business. This can lead to… 
    • Reputational damage: If a business repeatedly calls someone who isn’t interested in their product or service or, worse, hasn’t opted into being contacted for marketing purposes, they might share their experience online, with colleagues and family. One bad experience can have wider effects.
    • Data and compliance issues: To run a successful B2B outbound telemarketing campaign, you need to have people who have either opted in to receive calls or have a legitimate interest in hearing from your company. Sometimes data lists can be outdated, which wastes time and makes it difficult to justify using the data in your campaign. This issue is mostly eliminated with inbound telemarketing, as businesses have contacted you first.

    For B2B telemarketing to be useful as part of your marketing strategy, you need the right data to contact the right people. A marketing partner, like a digital marketing agency, can get this data for you — by obtaining leads and making sure everyone’s opted in. That way, yu can make sure you’re complying with data protection and privacy laws, and contacting the right people.

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    How can businesses use B2B telemarketing today?

    B2B telemarking, particularly inbound, remains a relevant and effective marketing tactic — if used correctly. But basing your entire marketing strategy on telemarketing just won’t cut it. This is particularly true if you’re a SaaS or tech business that uses a product-led growth model that aims to remove as many salespeople as possible.

    The key is to use telemarketing as part of your overall marketing strategy that includes a mix of inbound and outbound marketing, and digital and traditional channels.

    • Within an integrated marketing campaign: Your marketing doesn’t have to be binary. It doesn’t have to be inbound or outbound. Building an integrated marketing plan combines traditional and inbound marketing. Including cold contact within this modern strategy can help businesses reach potential clients who might not otherwise be aware of your products or services. 
    • To contact potential leads: BDR salespeople use outbound telemarketing to make contact with potential leads to help qualify and nurture them. You can build trust by providing valuable information that addresses common pain and interest points and position yourself as a go-to source for solutions. Once this is done, you can begin nurturing your leads with additional content that moves them closer to buying decisions. 
    • At all stages of the buyer’s journey: A business might want some high level information about your product or service as they become aware of their problem. But they might also want to speak with someone directly before making a purchase. Wherever they are in their journey, businesses can track them, tailor the information they provide, and use the human touch of a phone call to move potential buyers towards a purchase.

    But it all depends on high quality leads… 

    Embarking on a telemarketing campaign without a strong dataset of high quality leads is like aiming to complete a checklist without a list of tasks. To get this data, you’ll need good lead-generation strategies. To be effective, lead generation must target businesses that are likely to be interested in what you have to offer and the decision makers within those businesses. This can be done through:

    • Inbound marketing tactics such as SEO and targeted content that speaks to the needs of your ideal customer. 
    • A combination of inbound and outbound marketing to cast a wider net for potential leads.
    • Targeting your ads to people who are likely to be interested in your products or services.

    Using B2B telemarketing services in your marketing campaigns

    The value of a useful and timely phone conversation shouldn’t be underestimated.  Telemarketing isn’t a marketing relic. Cold calling can be used within a broader marketing strategy. And inbound telemarketing remains a crucial part of the buyer’s journey. B2B telemarketing — when done right — remains highly relevant today.

    And for a telemarketing campaign to succeed, businesses need qualified leads. At Gripped, we support your B2B telemarketing campaigns by helping you generate high-quality leads and curate personalised content that addresses those leads’ pain points.  

    Our lead generation strategies create the foundation of a successful telemarketing campaign. Get in touch with us today for a free growth audit.

    1  24 New Sales Statistics for 2022 from Our Groundbreaking Studies!

    2  53 Cold Calling Statistics – Do Cold Calls Still Work?

    3  Good Call: Why Telemarketing Is A Potent Ingredient In The Marketing Mix.

    4  27 Customer Experience Statistics You Need To Know.