Telemarketing is dead, the future is Lead Nurturing

The traditional concept of telemarketing as we know it in the technology sector is dead. Calling prospects cold and expecting them to immediately tune in to your technology and fall into an existing project based on a scripted call is highly unlikely under the best of circumstances, but in a market where cash is king, projects are being delayed and the decision making process is being pushed to the top of the company it is a fruitless task.

telemarketingWhy? Because years of people being bombarded with cold calling where 95% of these calls have absolutely no relevance or understanding of the prospective customers requirements has left people with no desire to converse in order to run through a pre-scripted conversation in the vain hope that they have the answer to all of their business objectives. Having said this, enterprises will continue to invest in technology.

So, if companies still have a requirement to invest in technology and deliver increased efficiency and improve the productivity of their people, but won’t respond to traditional low level marketing, how do you converse with prospects to deliver results and get your slice of their budget?

The Marketing team in most technology companies have a wealth of information on existing customers and relevant prospects, this is usually held in CRM systems, databases or spreadsheets. Information is compiled over a number of years, the information being collected through multiple sources, including Web site hits, conferences, seminars, trade shows, webinars and in the most extreme cases the sales team volunteering information to the marketing team!

It is rare for the intelligence that has been so patiently and costly gathered over a long period of time to be utilized in a timely fashion. Taking the right action quickly is the key to turning that intelligence into revenue!

With any direct marketing campaign there will be between a 1% and 30% response rate depending upon the nature of the activity, the numbers being targeted and the relevance of the proposition to the recipient. Whatever the level of response the sales team will take responsibility for the top 5-10% of opportunities created and want to work them directly. This is where the marketing intelligence starts to be gathered and the 90-95% of respondents remaining tend to be entered into the CRM system or database for future marketing activities, or you may say, “Let’s hope we get lucky next time”.

In reality it is typical that 50% of respondents can be qualified out as not being a good fit for you to do business with in the following 12 months, on the lines of having no budget, no timetable, no need and no access to a decision maker. However this leaves 40-45% of respondents that should be qualified in as companies that do have the ability to do business in the coming 12 months and need to be categorised into when and how they may convert into customers. The categorisation is likely to be based on similar criteria to that that has been used to qualify companies out, timescales, budget, need and access to a decision maker.

The qualification and categorisation of the second tier of prospects from any marketing campaign will allow you to determine the optimum way to manage each prospect company towards the ultimate goal of closing business with them and in many cases bring the timescales forward and increase the budget they have available to spend. By implementing a sequential and relevant contact program with the prospect, based on their requirements and their vertical market in combination with your solutions and developments it will be no surprise to the prospect when they enter the real buying cycle that you are top of the potential suppliers list. They already have a relationship with you, they will be aware of your solutions, how you help them achieve compliance, cost savings, efficiency and productivity gains or whatever business drivers they require.

The only way this can be achieved is by building a relationship with the prospect that they see as benefiting them. A relationship that can only be built, over time, through an effective Prospect Nurturing Program. In summation what may have worked 10 years ago is no longer applicable now. People can spot a scripted cold call a mile off and their immediate reaction is to switch off and put the phone down at the earliest possible stage.

Effective Nurturing of prospects will increase the return from marketing campaigns by a minimum of 10 times within a 6 month period. The past 10 years has seen marketing teams in technology companies “doing the right thing” in running telemarketing projects. By switching their focus away from traditional telemarketing techniques and turning their focus to effective prospect nurturing the marketing team will be “doing things right”.

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