How our telemarketing increased the sales for Douwe Egberts

Lochlan Choules is the telemarketer for Douwe Egberts and responsible for appointment setting for this internationally renowned coffee brand that’s 260 years’ old. For such a famous client to employ The Lead Lab shows how this small firm can compete and win large contracts based on the quality and return on investment that their telemarketing campaigns deliver. Within the first couple of months of engaging The Lead Lab, Douwe Egberts had to increase their sales teams just to keep up with the volume of bookings they were receiving.

Lochlan’s daily job is to ring round the prospect list provided to him and book appointments for Douwe Egberts Business Development Managers to then visit them and win contracts. The leads are mostly in the hospitality sector and Lochlan mainly books new leads, where no previous relationship exists, so he is the first point of contact, which means his manner and approach has to be welcoming, informed and professional.

“I have been handling the Douwe Egberts account for nearly 18 months now and the prospects I speak to are all across the UK. When I start a new campaign there is usually a script in place which I use for the first couple of weeks only, and then after that, I know how to tailor each call based on the indicators that I receive from them on the phone. It’s all about creating that personal connection on the phone as I don’t want to come across as a robot and that’s something we all work hard at here at The Lead Lab.”

By having a dedicated and consistent telemarketer such as Lochlan on their side, means that the Douwe Egberts campaigns can be very seasonally driven, for example, stadiums tend to look to renew their coffee contracts at the end of the football and rugby season. That’s when a very targeted campaign can win those contracts from incumbent providers. The Lead Lab also targets hotels and leisure centres year round, so there is always scope for growing the sales outreach for Douwe Egberts.

One downside often highlighted by companies employing an outsourced telemarketing company is that staff turnover is so high. A key company ethos at The Lead Lab is to find and retain loyal staff and look after them well, so the relationships they establish with their clients are nurtured so both telemarketer and customer feel secure and confident.

“Once a personal rapport has been established with a prospect then the next thing is to make sure I am talking to the decision maker and I introduce myself as the PA to the Regional Director and then I establish their requirement. I need to know if they are tied into a long term coffee contract and if they buy the sufficient volume of coffee that warrants setting up an appointment for Douwe Egberts to go in. I know so much about their service now, so I can talk around how they can get equipment for free on loan if their orders reach a certain volume level, so this can then lead onto discussions about cost savings. It’s always important that I am fully aware of the pre-requisites needed to qualify the prospects, and I know how to ask questions about whether they hold large conferences or if wedding receptions take place at the hotel, or how many bedrooms they have etc. These all reflect the volume of coffee products they need.”

Once an appointment has been set, Lochlan then issues a calendar invite and electronic confirmation of time and place.

One of the reasons that Douwe Egberts remains a long standing client is Lochlan’s relationship with them, and his feedback is welcomed, as it is there to drive appointments first and foremost.

“They always welcome our feedback as we are the experts at what we do, we don’t just read a script and we do input into what makes the campaign successful. If I suggest a change to make it easier to book an appointment or establish a lead, then my thoughts are listened to. If I notice a pattern in the conversations I’m having then I’m encouraged to feed that back so we can target a specific sector better – such as a particular day or time to call that gets the best results. I like that.”

Lochlan also has a good relationship with Douwe Egberts’ National Sales Managers who look after the Regional Managers. Every couple of months they come down and they all have a meal and go out socially. This goes a long way and makes the business relationship friendly and respectful and it is a testament to the different approach The Lead Lab takes as a business. Unlike other telemarketing call centres they don’t take the ‘Big Brother approach’ but empower their telemarketers to take pride in the appointments they set and the relationship they nurture with their clients.

“I come into the office in the morning and they make me a cup of coffee and then I’m on the phone all day. The coffee’s Douwe Egberts of course…another perk of the job!”

Want to find out more? Check out our site here: www.theleadlab.com

Model of retention is our model for success

With the launch of the new website, it is likely to help reposition The Lead Lab within a very competitive market, the digital future is looking bright and ambitious for the company’s founder and managing director, Toby Blatchford-Tagg. Toby started out as an independent telemarketer in 2012, working from home for just one client. The client was so impressed that they asked Toby ‘is there more of you?’, as they wanted him to manage the telesales on other companies within their group…and so The Lead Lab was born out of successful necessity.

 Five years later and with a staff of 24 working out of their Exeter office, The Lead Lab now services B2B and B2C clients nationwide, with particular success in catching and retaining clients from London. Their portfolio now lists brand names such as Douwe Egberts, The FD Centre, and the largest credit insurance company in Europe.

Toby puts the company’s success down to being competitively priced, but equally importantly, they only offer long term telemarketing solutions. Toby says, “Our telemarketing campaigns are not about stop-start marketing, but about making the campaigns commercially sustainable, whereby we start a model that then drives its own success. Our price point allows us to become our client’s long term experts without the added cost of recruitment, as we are used as an outsourced member of their team and we share the responsibility in achieving successful sales and a return on investment.”

 The telemarketing industry is known for its high turnover of staff, but it’s a trend that The Lead Lab has bucked, having not had a member of staff leave them in over a year. Toby believes that looking after staff on an emotional level is really important and so they have regular social evenings and have an open plan office that helps keep things on a family level. The business is still a nice enough size to have a buzz within the office space each day, and knowing that their employees are happy resonates strongly within The Lead Lab business model.

The Lead Lab’s future ambition is to grow staff to 100 within the next three to five years and continue to show that their innovation in phone telesales, alongside a disciplined use of technology and digital marketing, can help any company to reach and retain customers. One goal will remain constant, and that is to implement campaigns where results can be properly measured so that the clients can evaluate the impact of every spend.

www.theleadlab.com

5 reasons why we win London telesales business

Although the Lead Lab is based in Exeter, Devon, we have a lot of clients outside of the South West, and we boast a significant client base in London. We never hesitate in chasing London work, as the big firms there usually have high client values and are very professional to work with.

Here are my top 5 reasons why London companies should always consider placing their telesales campaigns outside of the city limits:

We can work remotely and yet still provide you with full visibility at every stage of the campaign.

In fact, implementing a telesales campaign with us can often give you more insight into how sales are going than the sales person who is sitting down the other end of your office. We communicate and report regularly through conference calls and give you access to live call recordings and campaign metrics.

We embrace constructive improvement

We give feedback that’s good and bad because being open is what we are all about. Working with clients is a collaborative partnership and it all leads to better ROI at the end of the day if we embrace constructive feedback from callers as we go.

We understand that telesales today has a digital arm 

Most of our clients have large campaign spends, so the days of cold calling alone are long gone. Digital marketing, email campaigns, and social media touch points, combined with personal engagement make us appear friendly and approachable at every stage of a campaign.

We know busy listeners can be time-poor

We are not phone bashers and we understand that the people we talk to are often time-poor, so we know when to go in with short sharp memorable offerings, followed up with links to more in-depth information when needed. We are smart about the type and variety of telesales activity we set up.

We embrace a family feel with modern tech

We are an ambitious company and we are hungry to grow our opportunities. As a result we have a competitive price point and we invest in what’s important in maintaining a sustainable telesales office: a family feeling within the firm so it’s enjoyable to work here, good phone lines, fast computer networks, smart engaged staff, a knowledge of digital selling and low overheads that reject the extravagant spends of some London telemarketers.

In short, we are not just a room full of people with headsets on. We believe in spending money on the important stuff and investing in our people.

www.theleadlab.com

How to Choose a Telemarketing Company

In most sectors, there are many providers offering what seem to be the same or similar services. With lead generation services, it’s no different. Therefore, working out the criteria for how to choose a telemarketing company is important so that you get the provider that best suits your needs. You don’t want to pick a telemarketing provider that hides poor performance behind a mask of fancy promises.

Check out our video on how to create a successful telemarketing campaign

However, this is only a fair question once you’ve already made a decision to outsource your telemarketing activity. And, that becomes valid only assuming that telemarketing is deemed to be either your best route to market or that it should form part of the go to market strategy for your business in the first place.

You see, whilst telemarketing can still be extremely effective, even in this digital age, it isn’t the only answer. But, we could say the same for most methods of outbound marketing. In an ideal world, customers would beat a path to your door and you wouldn’t need to undertake outbound marketing. Inbound is all the rage and, if your business is fortunate enough to receive lots of fresh incoming leads, inbound enquiry management is probably what you need if you get so many enquiries that you’re unable to handle the workload. That’s a totally different telemarketing exercise to where you need to knock on doors so to speak.

The other consideration here is whether to do it in-house or outsource. Check out our video on this. There are pros and cons of both approaches.

If you’re considering a telemarketing project, your first task is to establish whether your product or service offering and your target market lend themselves to telemarketing in the first place. It’s fair to say that telemarketing works out most cost-effective the higher the value of sale. That is likely to deliver a stronger ROI from your telemarketing activity. If purchase is a considered decision, it’s probable that a person to person communication method is required. And, that is the strength of using telemarketing.

So, if you’ve decided that outsourcing telesales is for you, you need to consider how you’re going to filter the quality suppliers from those that talk a good game but ultimately, fail to deliver.

This comes down to a number of basic factors.

Work on your shortlist

You probably need to check out a number of agencies before shortlisting. The quickest route is to look online and that means both websites and social presence. What do the agencies say about their business and approach? How do their websites compare?

Of course, recommendation carries the most weight. If you know someone that has used an agency in the past, that’s great. It doesn’t necessarily follow, however, that they will deliver for you, though. Your proposition and target market and the level of difficulty and/or complexity could be hugely different to the person that made the recommendation. Equally, the person that recommended you may have undertaken a large project whilst your trial project may be small by comparison. In that case, costs may differ dramatically so, you still need to do due diligence. Speak to a few companies and ask the questions for which you need answers.

Check out testimonials

Whilst it’s technically possible to fudge this, a series of robust testimonials (especially from reputable companies) is a good indication that you’re in safe hands. If your agency is willing, ask them to provide references to which you can speak to really check them out.

Consider experience

I specifically didn’t mention industry experience here. There are different schools of thought here. Some companies insist on experience of their industry. However, every company has a different approach and often, the company and decision maker targets may be different. Equally, if calling is undertaken, just because you’ve targeted a specific company in the past, doesn’t mean that the same company will be open to another approach. Likewise, it’s not always the case that the same telemarketers will be on the campaign. What’s more, the art of telemarketing is generally in building rapport, asking the right questions, getting the intro to the call right and understanding WHY the customer should buy rather than what they are buying. That means that it’s more about the quality of approach and briefing, the validity of the data and the ongoing campaign management than simply having done work in your field in the past. Therefore, don’t jettison an agency purely because they lack experience in your field. Some companies even prefer to avoid any potential conflict and work with an agency that hasn’t worked for a competitor.

Find trusted advisers

When you check the telemarketing company out online and when you speak to the telemarketing agency staff, do you get the sense that they have your interests at heart or does it feel that they want to sell to you at any cost? Hopefully, the days of the latter approach have gone. However, watch out for an agency that seems so sure it can help that it reels you in with lofty promises. It’s much better to hear a balanced viewpoint. Not every campaign is successful. It’s more reassuring to hear a ‘warts and all’ account of telemarketing than a gung-ho approach that promises the earth and ultimately under-delivers. Do you trust the person at the other end of the phone? Often, the salesperson wins the business then disappears from view.

Therefore, it pays to meet or speak to the people that will be delivering the campaign. You don’t necessarily need to speak to the actual caller(s) at this stage (you should be able to suggest a change of caller if you’re not happy anyhow) but it is important to have faith in the operational person that will manage, measure and report on your telesales activity. You want to hear a realistic appraisal of what is likely to happen when you decide to spend your money on a trial with an agency.  They should discuss and agree with you what success looks like before kick-off.

Look for transparency

There’s nothing worse than getting to the end of a telemarketing campaign and you learn that it hasn’t worked. Whilst you may have the same result if you do it in-house or if you use other methods of marketing, transparency and openness are assets when it comes to choosing your partner for lead generation. What information does the agency provide? How frequently do they provide reports? What do those reports contain? Do they provide sales lead sheets? How about recorded calls? What about access to reporting? Do you have visibility of your database at all times? And, can you see your sales pipeline build? Finally, how frequently will they communicate with you and how? The more control your agency provides you throughout the exercise, the more comfortable you should be that they won’t give you a nasty surprise and waste your money unnecessarily.

Evaluate likely results

Whilst there are few guarantees in marketing, testimonials are often a good measure of the calibre of results. However, you will want some indication of likely results from your telemarketing agency. Tell them what success looks like for you. Hopefully, that will spark a discussion about how feasible those results are likely to be and the likely return on investment. We’d hope that your agency will provide pragmatic input even at the risk of losing the business. Whilst every provider wants to win clients, some campaigns can be destined to fail if, for example, expectations are too high compared to the amount of time allocated and/or against the target audience and proposition. There are lots of factors to consider when it comes to delivering a successful telemarketing campaign. It’s important that your agency discusses these with you and you agree realistic targets for any trial. Then, it’s a case of providing ongoing monitoring and feedback to achieve the necessary results.

Carefully plan cost and budgets

Check out our blog on how much a telemarketing campaign should cost.

Of course, cost is a major consideration when selecting an agency. It would be ridiculous to say otherwise. However, whilst most customers would say that it’s about quality first, there really is a balance between cost, value and results. You need to consider what inputs increase the chances of delivering positive results and the experience you gain from the exercise. Reporting should be open and informative (see above). You should expect a report at the end of the campaign. And, you want to be sure that you get value for money. You may only be interested in immediate results. But, what about your future pipeline? Clearly, you will want some sense of comfort that the agency isn’t so far out of kilter from others in the field in terms of cost.

Cost per lead often comes into this kind of discussion. Expressions such as ‘skin in the game’ and ‘put your money where your mouth is’ and ‘if you’re so confident in your abilities….’ Come into play here. If this is a model that you’re considering, check out our blog on pay per lead.

Often, telemarketing doesn’t become a precise science until a significant amount of calling has been carried out that allows you and your agency to benchmark performance. Some campaigns fly straight from the outset. Some take some time to generate a flow of leads. And, some are tough to make work due to a combination of factors. Your agency should provide sound advice that includes setting expectations. Past experience helps but, like in financial services, it’s only a guide. Therefore, spend time considering the questions and options above and you’ll be more likely to have a successful campaign

GSA helps businesses become more effective in their marketing and business development. We run outbound telemarketing campaigns into the UK, Europe and further afield. Also, with our experience, we provide telemarketing training to help sales teams improve their results.  If you’d like to know more, give us a call.

10 Essential ways to close more sales

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if customers came, ready to buy? In some cases, that’s very much the case. If they’ve ordered from you before and this is a repeat order for the same product or service, maybe that’s exactly what happens. Equally, if you’ve got a product that is a must buy or distress purchase then perhaps working out how to close more sales is as easy as shelling peas. But, that’s probably not reality for most sales transactions.

Often, the focus is therefore put on closing more of those that cross your path. That’s logical. But, too frequently, the emphasis is on the end of the process rather than the start and middle. Closing more frequently isn’t just about killer sales patter. It isn’t just about getting that last question right so that they sign on the dotted line. The close starts at the beginning and goes all the way through the buying-selling- process.

In most buyer-seller interactions, when b2b purchases are concerned, the buyer has done some kind of due diligence. They’ve checked out the various ways to satisfy their need or solve their particular problem. They’ve Googled. They’ve asked colleagues, friend and acquaintances for recommendations. They might have checked industry sources. And, perhaps they’ve posted on a social platform asking for help or suggestions. If they’re really doing their homework, they may have looked at your and your competitors’ websites and broader online presence to whittle down prospective suppliers onto a shortlist.

The fact is that where decisions have a significant impact on the organisation, the decision may not be quick. It may involve several stakeholders. It may require new budget and/or budget approval from higher up. There may be a number of hoops to go through before a lucrative contract is signed and the purchase order is raised. So, closing isn’t as simple as finding the right words to say in that one critical moment when the timing is crucial. We’re not talking about using used car salesman tactics here. Of course, you do need to know how to ask for the business. A sales person won’t get far if they’re all chat and no results. However, in this blog, we look at 10 essential ways to close more sales.

Establishing trust & credibility

It’s pretty unlikely that the customer will take a leap of faith with a new supplier if there’s an absence of trust. Therefore, you need to build credibility throughout the buying process. Part of the answer to this comes from the first direct interaction with a sales professional. If any sort of online evaluation is part of the exercise, credibility comes from a look at your website and possibly at your LinkedIn profile and your other social presence. If what you’re offering to market is visual, you need strong imagery and video on your site and also on other social platforms where this is the norm such as Pinterest, YouTube or Instagram. This is part of the filtering process.

If you have great testimonials and case studies on your website, this helps enormously to at least get you onto a shortlist of perhaps three or four companies to compete for the business.

If you have lots of content on your website, that helps too. And, that doesn’t mean just product or service info. The more you produce in terms of knowledge pieces that showcase your expertise the better.

Building Rapport from the first touch point

Once a prospective customer has made the decision to contact you, this is where the skill of the salesperson kicks in. But, don’t forget that it’s about every interaction and every touch point with the customer. It may well be that the customer needs to speak to someone in the organisation in advance of speaking to the actual sales person. How well versed is that person? How able are they in the art of questioning (see below) and qualification? People still buy people and, assuming that the customer has made their initial list of potential providers before speaking to someone, the first conversation is vital. And, that includes whoever represents your business when you first pick up the phone.

Throughout the sales process, those representing the organisation must know how to build rapport. It’s isn’t about talking. It’s more about listening and asking good questions that enable you to gather the necessary information that is essential to properly scoping the solution.

Listening and questioning

No-one likes a talkaholic. Whilst you might just about admire their enthusiasm, the customer doesn’t care about what you do or what you know. The customer wants to know that you care about them and their needs and they what to know how what you know relates to their problem or opportunity. Therefore, an essential part of closing is knowing when to shut up, how to ask good questions and only then suggesting good options.

Questioning is so powerful. If you combine this with a non-pushy approach, it has the potential to win you more business. You should ask good questions throughout discussions with prospects. And, that’s a blend of open and closed questions. That’s especially the case the more objections you receive during the buying discussion. The best way to handle objections is to ask probing questions.

Once you’ve established initial rapport, you can intersperse your questions with quite targeted questions. For example, is there anything that is going to prevent you…..? Is there anything I haven’t covered that would stop you……? ‘Given what you told me earlier about how important this is to you, what is it that’s worrying you about moving forward?’

The more you can diagnose, the closer you will be to knowing how to sell and to creating a status where you’re perceived as a trusted advisers as opposed to a typical sales person

Understand the psychology

It is not what customers buy as opposed to why they buy that is important. If you tap into the issues that surround the purchase and connect with those, you’ll be much more likely to convert a sale. Those sellers that like to focus on themselves, their products and what they ‘think’ the buyer wants to hear, will be less successful than those that work out the real triggers. Whilst it’s important not to overcomplicate, once again, this comes down to listening and asking good questions then working hard to relate what you say to what you have learned. The sales close becomes much easier when you do it this way.

Consider timing and urgency

If a customer comes to you, it is more likely that they will be in the buying cycle. That’s obvious. However, many sales interactions are enquiries from potential buyers that are passive rather than active. They may be interested but possibly not immediately. That could be at an event, as a result of a telemarketing call or through an introduction or some other route. Sometimes, the individual in the organisation with whom you’re engaging has purely been tasked with fact-finding.

However, assuming that they do have a role to play in the final decision, you have to work out what’s going to move them off the fence and towards your solution. Pain is a good motivator. If you can identify what challenges they have and amplify that feeling of dissatisfaction or discomfort during the conversation, you have a better chance of getting them to take action.

A good pipeline is a precursor to more sales

The reality is that budget, timing and urgency play a significant role in driving decision making and, you won’t win them all. This is where building your sales pipeline becomes ever more important. Identifying those that are in the market NOW becomes more viable when your sales pipeline is large enough to account for those that aren’t ready and those almost inevitable procrastinators who will never convert. Ultimately, everyone buys. They may just not buy from you or they may select a different approach to the problem. If you have a pipeline of timely follow ups in your calendar. You’re more likely to identify those that are in the market at the right time. And, ultimately, you’ll close more business.

Understand customer inertia

Having a good understanding of alternative solutions plays an important role in helping the customer to come to a more swift decision. Some customers cover what you aspire to do for them in-house. Others are not particularly dissatisfied with current providers even if their solution (or how they currently handle things in-house) doesn’t measure up to what you offer.

Therefore, you really need to think about what might prevent prospective customers from buying from you now. In some cases, you may just need to park things and remain in contact until they are ready to move forward. Otherwise, you can risk alienating the customer by shaking the tree too hard. If you get int a conversation with a new prospect, as opposed to being shut down quickly, it pays to explore the challenges that they have that are not perhaps alleviated by doing what they’re currently doing. Challenging them in terms of what stops them may bear fruit but be careful not to sacrifice future opportunities by being over-pushy.

Identify the decision maker(s)

Certainly with higher values of sale, it’s a process that can sometimes be elongated. Gestation periods can run into months and even years. In certain cases, you may need to identify a project sponsor or champion within the organisation. There may be several stakeholders. There’s no single answer to these problems. If you can get into a room with the person that signs off on spending, that’s great. However, that isn’t always possible, especially early on in the process. Ask the question who is responsible and try to involve them. The higher the spend and the further away you are from the decision maker, the less likely you will be to close the business. At the same time, the lower the spend, the lower down the organisation decision making will go. So, you need to work out who to target and who can lead you to your target.

Understand risk and reward

Any change is risky. It might go wrong. And who’s going to take the fall if it does? Business managers also have competing priorities. So, making the decision that impacts your sales figures may be low on their agenda. It’ll almost certainly be lower than on yours. So, with that in mind, what can you do to influence the outcome? Can you encourage them to move forward faster? Without giving away too much and damaging your brand and credibility, can you offer any incentives for them to act now?

Hone your sales skills

Not much will happen if your sales people aren’t motivated to sell. Energy and enthusiasm are infectious. Your sales representatives need to believe in what they are selling whether that’s face to face or on the telephone. The right attitude will carry you further than a boatload of product knowledge.

Not everyone is a born salesman. And, not all sales skills are innate or intuitive. Some individuals involved in the sales process may need a refresher for training on telemarketing techniques and/or other skills.

With the right approach as a platform, the better informed the salesperson is, the more likely they will be to appear credible. And, they will be able to talk more convincingly the more they understand the marketplace, the issues customers face, the competitive set and the solutions.

Ultimately, working out how to close more sales isn’t about that one critical moment in a conversation where everything hangs on the right choice of words. It’s a series of actions that culminate in a positive outcome.

GSA helps businesses, large and small,  become more effective in their marketing and business development. We run outbound telemarketing campaigns into the UK, Europe and further afield. Also, with our experience, we provide telemarketing training to help sales teams improve their results.  If you’d like to know more, give us a call.

What is Cold Calling?

What is Cold Calling? We have the impression that Cold-Calling is a relatively recent term. However, according to The English Language & Usage Stack Exchange (a question and answer site for linguists and etymologists), there was a mention of cold-calling in The American Magazine in 1925 stating:

. . I do need insurance.’ He signed up forthwith for five thousand dollars. “I suppose you might call that opportunity a ‘hunch.’ I had no introduction to the man, no personal link of any kind. It was a cold call, and it won.

But the phrase probably goes even further back. Once again, the same reference above states that it dates back to the 1800’s.

So, the principle of selling to other than warm prospects and customers has been around for longer than we thought. It’s logical really when you consider that since the dawn of trading, people have had to sell things to others. And, many of those people had not previously known of the availability of those products and services. Clearly, early traders transported and hawked their wares from place to place in search of new customers. Door-to-door selling, probably as cold as it gets, was common and gained popularity in the 70’s. And, telephone cold-calling has mostly been with us since the eighties.

Increasing challenges and restrictions

Latterly, there have been more and more challenges and restrictions on the discipline of cold calling, especially over the telephone. These include:

  • Increasing legislation such and The Data Protection Act 1998 (and its subsequent iterations including the new GDPR in May 2018) and The Consumer Contracts (formerly Distance Selling) regulations.
  • Best practice guidelines from organisations such as the Direct Marketing Association
  • Increases in the use of IVR routers and voicemail
  • The stronger policing of cold calls through to opt-out preference service registers for businesses and consumers (CTPS/TPS)
  • The significant increase in technology to screen and block cold calls
  • The clutter we face every day in communication messages from every angle
Cold calling gets a bad name

Telephone cold-calling also doesn’t have the best of names with both consumers and businesses. The reasons behind this are probably quite straightforward:

  • Unscrupulous sales tactics used by double-glazing and latterly PPI and accident claims sales people
  • A proliferation of nuisance calls to vulnerable individuals
  • The perception of calls that waste people’s time

As a consequence of some of the abuses, authorities have become stricter especially when it comes to consumer calls. There are now substantial fines for those companies or individuals that seek to flout the law. It is illegal to cold call any individual that has either told the unsolicited caller to stop or registered their direct line with one of the preference services above.

So, both technology and restrictions have made it harder to cut through if you’re a company that wants to use the phone to promote its business. We’ve also seen the advent of ‘newer’ forms of marketing including but not limited to email marketing and social media. These have, to some extent, taken the focus away from cold calling as a means of marketing.

But there are plenty of benefits

It’s fair to say though that the term cold calling has become synonymous with any form of telephone marketing. That’s probably unfair since there are many ways that the telephone can be used for marketing to great effect. And, it goes without saying that, if you can make a warm call as opposed to a cold one, it makes more sense to do so. Check out our blog on 10 ways to use telemarketing to grow your business.

These include:

  • Customer care and customer service calls that lead to new sales
  • Customer calls for product launches and new services
  • Up-sell and cross-sell for products that customers don’t currently purchase
  • Following up inbound sales leads from other channels e.g. web enquiries
  • Resuscitating lapsed customers or those from whom you haven’t heard for some time

Not every sales call is cold and not every cold call is a nuisance. Some calls are directed at consumers and some at businesses. Equally, not every call is for direct selling or telesales purposes where the caller is trying to close a sale over the telephone. The impression is that they’re trying to shoehorn the customer into buying something they don’t need. A large proportion of outbound b2b calls are an exercise to profile a customer target database in order to undertake appointment setting and sales lead generation. This is where an opportunity is unearthed for more qualified members of the sales team to follow up for a  more in-depth conversation.

Doing it correctly enhances rather than damages brands

Likewise, not every caller is untrained and not all calls are scripted. Many of us have experienced poor quality, overly scripted calls often from offshore call centres. But, not all calls are like this. Companies like GSA strictly follow the guidelines laid down by legislation and best practice. Many calls are unscripted and conversational in nature and engage the prospective customer as opposed to alienating them from the outset. Unfortunately, cold calling has, to a great extent, become a generic term which is a shame since it carries with it a negative connotation that is not always warranted.

From a commercial perspective, the big benefit of the use of telemarketing (as we prefer to call it) is that it is a proactive route to market. You don’t have to wait for prospects to come to you. Some of the largest companies in the world recognise that telephone marketing is a valid and effective way to market their products and services. They use this method of marketing to supplement other marketing tools and to amplify their success. Outbound telephone calling and follow-up is infinitely preferable to leaving things to chance. Carried out appropriately, it can generate significant numbers of sales opportunities and enhance brand image for those that deploy it properly.

GSA helps businesses, large and small,  become more effective in their marketing and business development. We run outbound telemarketing campaigns into the UK, Europe and further afield. Also, with our experience, we provide telemarketing training to help sales teams improve their results.  If you’d like to know more, give us a call.