Active Telemarketing: The reality in B2B

Active Telemarketing

Previously one of our consultants, Thiago Pacheco, wrote an article talking about direct marketing and how a team of Residencia uses it to increase sales. It’s easy to see the similarity between direct marketing and how it goes hand in hand with active telemarketing, isn’t it?

When we talk about active telemarketing, you may be thinking of the following situation: You are at home peacefully enjoying the latest episode of your favorite series when suddenly the phone rings and the first noise you hear, in the background, seems to be a room full of people talking and pacing.

At the same moment, your mind recognizes it. It’s some phone company, calling for the tenth time in the same week, trying to come up with a new plan. Yes, this is kind of active telemarketing, but that’s not what we want to talk about here.

The focus of this text is active telemarketing for the B2B business model and you will soon see that there is a big difference from the same for B2C telemarketing. A lot more interesting, isn’t it?

Interestingly enough, a survey conducted in 2012 by SCi Sales group, a renowned European sales outsourcing group, showed that active B2B telemarketing is by no means annoying. The survey’s target, managers, found it even less irritating than email marketing. This is amazing!

On the other hand, we have the case of active B2C telemarketing, that situation we described above, and which, here, was at the top of the list with 35% of managers judging as the most irritating.

In a way, this result was already to be expected, since good managers recognize that knowledge of new opportunities, suppliers and businesses usually appears through phone calls, meetings and active prospecting in general. It’s part of the game and the work, isn’t it?

Keep calling or die trying. Right? (Translation: Keep calling or die trying. Agree?)

Another useful point of the survey was on the effectiveness of each of the media, whether email, phone, or content marketing as a way to nurture a lead. And the champion was: active in telemarketing.

I want to raise 2 points on this graph before anything else:

The first is that this research was carried out from the point of view of the professional who provides the service. Although active telemarketing is considered the most effective way to nurture a lead, seeing things from the customer’s point of view, we have indications that he prefers to be reached first through email and only later through a phone call.

The second point is about nutrition through content. Content alone is not as powerful as the graphic shows. Along with creating great materials, it takes a well-structured nutrition flow model and leads scoring to get to the lead when it’s hottest possible.

The two points make sense, don’t they?

But wait…I talked a lot about active telemarketing and I still haven’t defined what it is. So let’s go!

Browse the content

  1. active telemarketing
  2. How to use it in your strategy
  3. Difference between Active B2B Telemarketing and Inside Sales
  4. Tips and final considerations

Active telemarketing

Going straight to the point, here is the definition of active telemarketing:

Active telemarketing is the activity that generates interest, creates opportunities, provides and acquires information or feedback, always with the aim of producing leads over the phone.

Now, on the other hand, there is passive telemarketing, also known as receptive, which is defined by:

Passive telemarketing is the activity of solving customer problems or needs through calls, providing information, assisting active customers and closing new sales.

It is quite clear that, for both cases, we have telemarketing focused on B2B and B2C businesses. For the second case (passive telemarketing), we can consider support as a form of telemarketing. You know that situation where you call your internet provider because you are not able to access the web? So this is passive telemarketing.

How to use it in your strategy

In the previous paragraphs, we showed that active telemarketing is not as boring as many say and that it is one of the most effective ways to nurture leads. That in itself should be a good reason for you to implement it.

Now let’s go deeper, showing how to implement it for the following activities:

  • Generation of MQLs: MQLs are qualified leads by marketing. If you don’t have a structured qualification matrix, you’re very wrong! It’s through profile qualification that we recognize that a lead is fit with our solution, before spending time trying to sell to someone who won’t buy. Doing this activity over the phone is much cheaper compared to having someone go into the field just to find out if a particular company has a profile or not. What’s more, you can use a script (similar to a sales script) to be more effective in the entire process.
  • Generate more reliable data (contact lists) instead of buying it: If you have a very clear activity to qualify a lead by profile, it’s easy to recognize how much more reliable this information is compared to a purchased list. It is not new that many companies are buying contact lists, but still receiving little return on that investment. An example is the case of a list with poor quality contacts. If you have a list and want to make the best of it, I suggest checking out this definitive guide made by our team.

Through active telemarketing, you can get much more out of these activities with much less effort. Over the phone is cheaper, for almost all cases it is just as effective and you still don’t spend time switching between two meetings.

It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

Difference between Active B2B Telemarketing and Inside Sales

This was a question that arose as I was doing my research and I didn’t find any content, both in Portuguese and in English, that answered this question clearly.

It’s much easier to understand when you have a well-structured qualification matrix. What is important to understand is that active telemarketing is an activity that can be done by someone who also does inside sales. It is a part of the process that takes place before the sale itself.

The purpose of both activities is different. In the case of active telemarketing, the final goal is to evaluate the profile of your lead, whereas in the inside sales activity, the final goal is to close the sale. Remembering that for both models everything is done over the phone.

Do you understand?

Tips and final considerations

Active telemarketing is by no means selling your product over the phone. The mindset is completely different. It’s taking a consultative approach to understanding your lead scenario and listening to a lot more than talking.

When implementing active telemarketing as a strategy, you might want to consider the following points:

  • Use of market intelligence and commercial intelligence: Considering the research done by SCi, the big mistake that kills a telemarketing strategy is using bad data. Bad data can mean capturing leads that aren’t in your target industry or companies that don’t have the problem you solve. Suppose you sell a SaaS to universities. The question is: What is your salesperson going to sell to a gas station? A poor quality list leads to a huge reduction in efficiency and increased stress on the sales team.
  • Pain is stronger than gain: Recognize that each lead has a very different pain from the other. I’ve always agreed with that motto of talking about benefits and not features, but identifying a pain is something much deeper and more powerful. A benefit of your solution can solve several pains, and it’s likely that one of those pains will have a much bigger weight in your lead’s decision-making. It’s identifying this pain that makes all the difference to your sales team not having to pitch the default.
  • Don’t sell: Yes, this is not the time to sell. It’s time to ask questions and fully understand your lead’s scenario, pains, and goals. When necessary, educate. Once your lead has given some of their time to meet with you, add value by showing what you know and what the lead needs to alleviate that pain. Consider reading this article on profile qualification, I’m sure it will be of great value.

Hope you now have a completely different opinion about active telemarketing.

If it makes sense, implement this strategy in your sales process and watch the results happen.

If you have changed your view of the topic and you are interested in raising more people’s awareness, please share this article with just one other person. If I really liked it, share it with your team.