B2B Telemarketing: An Essential Guide to Great Performance

Shallow Focus of Woman Working in a Call Center

Market competition between businesses has arguably never been more intense, meaning that everyone needs to effectively employ all of the best possible techniques to attract prospective customers and encourage sales. While business-to-business (B2B) telemarketing may seem a bit old-fashioned, it’s still one of the best methods businesses can use to help promote sales and develop long-term customer loyalty. But that is B2B telemarketing, and how does it work? And why is it critical for businesses in the current age of advanced communication options?

In the following guide, our team of business experts from Blue Valley Marketing intends to explain the answers to these essential questions while exploring the vast array of critical benefits that B2B telemarketing can provide to businesses that correctly leverage the technique. Please continue to find out what you’ll want to know about the practice. Also, consider reading through our wide selection of other educational resources to access even more critical business insights. 

Related: Do You Want to See an Increase in Actionable Leads?

What is B2B Telemarketing, and How Does it Work?

In short, B2B telemarketing is a specific marketing practice that involves one business calling another intending to sell a service or product. Many companies outsource their B2B telemarketing operations to specialized B2B call centers, which focus on either inbound call services, outbound call services, or some combination of the two. 

Any business or company that sells products or services to other companies can benefit from incorporating B2B telemarketing into their overall sales strategy. However, it’s most often leveraged by companies in industries that also utilize different telemarketing strategies. For example, financial service providers, software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies, and healthcare companies often rely on B2B telemarketing to help promote and close sales.

Two Types of B2B Telemarketing

There are generally two categories of telemarketing that businesses can leverage to make sales, gather essential information about their audience, and more. These include inbound and outbound calling, which we briefly mentioned above. Let’s take a short moment to explore the critical difference between these two telemarketing tactics and why businesses often use them.

Outbound Telemarketing

Outbound telemarketing occurs when contact is initiated by one business that wants to sell its products or services to another business and gain a new client. This technique typically employs cold calling or the act of calling a prospective client without previously contacting them. Many sales teams don’t particularly enjoy cold calling, but it’s a relatively effective sales tactic when it’s leveraged correctly.

Inbound Telemarketing

Inbound telemarketing is telemarketing that’s initiated by a business that’s interested in learning about another business’s products or services. While the term “telemarketing” may imply the strict use of a telephone call, the business may also reach out via email or even engage in a social media conversation to contact a company they want to buy from. Telemarketers will handle any interested company inquiries and pass on qualified leads to sales team members. The sales team will then try to close the deal to gain a new client. 

Person in White Shirt Holding Black Headphones
Person in White Shirt Holding Black Headphones

7 Types of B2B Telemarketing Calls

Telemarketing- whether inbound or outbound- actually includes a wide array of services, from customer support and appointment setting to much more. Some of the common types of B2B marketing calls also include:

  • Lead generation
  • Market analysis
  • Event signup and registration
  • Database updating
  • Surveys and other information collection

What Can B2B Telemarketing Do For Your Business?

B2B telemarketing plays a significant role in helping businesses sell their various services and products to other companies that can benefit from them. It also provides a massive array of critical benefits that help companies achieve market success. Slime of the most prominent advantages that B2B telemarketing can bring to your business include: 

Creating a More Valuable Sales Pipeline

The beauty of B2B telemarketing is that it can be used in many ways all along the sales process, from the point of initial contact and brand promotion right through to making and closing the sale. Leveraging this tactic throughout these different areas can help businesses develop a more valuable, more effectively controlled sales pipeline. Here are just a few ideas on how you can put the power of B2B telemarketing to work for your business.

From Start to Finish

Think of your marketing and sales pipeline, and how it operates as a whole throughout your business operations. With careful examination, it becomes obvious that telemarketing can perform anywhere along the way to help streamline various processes. For example, businesses can leverage telemarketing for;

  • Initial calls to discover quality sales leads
  • List creation to find out who the true decision-makers are so that sales teams don’t waste time dodging roadblocks
  • Conducting market research to learn who your target businesses are and why
  • Updating information to get rid of outdated contacts and dead-end leads
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Campaign promotions to let B2B telemarketing work in tandem with your marketing team to get the most from each campaign
  • Receiving incoming calls
  • Sales
  • Follow-up calls

Scale Up or Down

You can utilize telemarketing anywhere in the pipeline and as much or little as needed. Use it one time for data gathering or multiple times to maintain a steady stream of solid leads for your separate sales teams. B2B telemarketing can be an integral part of scheduled sales campaigns or as promoters of a one-time-only event. You have the flexibility to scale up or down as the needs of your pipeline dictates.

Gain Feedback and Insight

If sales are not where you decide to use telemarketing, you can still benefit from the personal touch by using phone calls to get feedback from customers on products or services. A well-trained telemarketing team will yield far richer insights into what drives sales, makes for satisfied buyers, and where changes may need to be made. Telemarketers can assess brand awareness as well as brand satisfaction to help optimize sales pipelines.

Create a Strong Social Media Campaign

When you choose only one method of reaching your audience or lean too heavily on a particular channel, you are likely to miss connecting with segments of your target audience. By integrating B2B telemarketing with digital media, you cast a wider net and create more connection points with your potential buyers. It also lets you leverage new ways to run successful marketing campaigns.

For instance, social media is a great way to build brand awareness, but it can be a one-way conversation, making it challenging for you to gather information about your contact or gauge their level of reservation in making a decision. A strong social media plan mixed with your B2B telemarketing should give you the edge you need to bring more value to your marketing endeavors.

The power of B2B telemarketing with social media is in the ability to broadcast the brand’s message far and wide. Extremely specific messages can be directed or funneled down a very tight passageway to hit the right audience with a wide net. However, the net can be so wide that you need to make sure your social media messages are consistent with your overall marketing objectives spread through other channels, including telemarketing.

B2B telemarketing allows you to ask questions to gain critical information for lead nurturing during social media campaigns. Here are some key benefits of integrating your marketing channels:

Social Media Gives You Something to Talk About

If you’ve got a blog post that’s stirring up a conversation on LinkedIn, or a white paper that’s been heavily accessed via social media, it can be a great conversation starter for your phone call. If they haven’t had a chance to look at it, help them bypass the search and send it directly to their inbox.

Social media also builds up brand awareness. If you’re just starting out, this can be a great way to give your contacts a point of reference when you call. When you make your call, they’ll have seen your name out on social media and the kinds of content you post.

Direct Your Email Marketing Activities

Conversations through telemarketing always benefit from a follow-up, and email is a great way to do it. Use it to send relevant content to follow up on a conversation you had on a specific challenge your contact is facing, or to send a promotional discount directly to them. Email is also a great way to simply say, “Thanks for your time today.”

Clean Up Your Contacts

There’s a lot of information you need to qualify to nurture a lead, and it’s rarely easy to find it through digital channels. Consider the data you can collect through a telemarketing call:

  • Learn who all the decision-makers are involved in the buying cycle
  • Hear about specific challenges they are trying to solve
  • Find out where they are in the decision-making process and if there are any reservations that you can address
  • Clarify budget limitations

Each of these items helps you provide the right content at the right time of the buying cycle through email or social media, but it also helps you take steps that move the lead toward a conversion. You can build a relationship through B2B telemarketing and collect important information that may never surface through the more passive mode of social media

Smiling Man in Blue Long Sleeves Wearing a Black Headset
Smiling Man in Blue Long Sleeves Wearing a Black Headset

Find the Timing and Balance Between Social Media and B2B Telemarketing

The perfect time to take a look at how well synced your telemarketing and social media messages are is when launching a new product or service. Utilizing a micro-site and/or a landing page is a good strategy for bringing social media traffic to a specific, unified space. This is a powerful approach allowing everyone who is first introduced to the product or service to be directed to a place where they can gain more information specifically related to the social media message. This can include the micro-site, landing page, or a number directing traffic to your B2B telemarketing team.

B2B telemarketing combined with social media offers an incredibly proactive approach to lead generation, sales, and nurturing leads. Furthermore, social media can be utilized to build up lead lists, which can be segmented and utilized for the current campaign or later for other campaigns that might be more appropriate for the lead. Instead of cold calling prospects, a segmented list generated through data collected in social media interaction provides you with a targeted calling list.

To get the most out of your social media and telemarketing experience, make sure you’re connected with a telemarketer that can work with you on both fronts. Given the fact that the message must be consistent on both ends, your telemarketer must have an open line of communication with your company so you never miss a beat.

Better Audience Connection With a Human Touch

B2B telemarketing is a critical component when it comes to making a solid connection with an audience. According to data released by B2B Marketing, engagement methods used by marketers can make or break campaigns meant to facilitate these connections.

According to B2B Marketing, the most proactive means of connecting with an audience is to meet with them face-to-face. Around 80 percent of marketers surveyed said this type of interaction was effective or very effective. However, marketing efforts based on this method can only occur a limited number of times throughout any given year. Marketers need something they can go to day in and day out if they’re going to impact the bottom line of their organization. That’s where B2B telemarketing comes into play.

One of the aspects of telemarketing that other channels don’t have going for them is being proactive. Telemarketing is also fully interactive. It’s a conversation instead of a one-sided message that gets tossed out there and is quickly deleted, ignored, or never opened.

The proactive nature of telemarketing is really nothing new. Studies dating back to 1990 in the Journal of Direct Marketing show that a survey of a thousand consumers found a surprisingly high percentage of them reacted positively to the proactive nature of the telemarketing sales call. What’s also been established is that B2B telemarketing calls to decision-makers within an organization find an even higher rate of positive acceptance. People in these positions often rely on these conversations to keep them abreast of the latest offerings that can be of use to their organization.

The human touch is what really connects an organization to its target market. Yours can also benefit from the human touch that is achieved through B2B telemarketing. First, you have to get connected to the right firm, one that has the latest hardware and software that allows them to do their jobs efficiently, keeping costs down for you. Second, they must have the best communicators who know how to listen, how to lead a conversation, and how to help their target audience.

Related: Common Misconceptions Publishers Have About the Opportunities From Lead Generation

Nurture and Qualify Leads as a Proactive Growth Strategy

In today’s marketing landscape, a strategy sometimes takes a backseat to hit-and-miss marketing. In order to find a campaign or content format that resonates with an audience, marketers often spend time, money, and other resources trying to find the right combination of factors that generate leads. 

While B2B telemarketing may seem a little outdated when compared to today’s world of digital marketing, it hasn’t stopped being a reliable way to produce and nurture highly qualified leads. And forget hit-and-miss. Telemarketing consistently produces hits and offers a way to balance your strategy.

While you could leave lead generation and nurturing to your sales team, investing in telemarketing to qualify leads is more cost-efficient than sending out a sales rep to test the waters. Instead, find out through a telephone conversation whether your contact is ready to buy or they’re simply in the exploration phase of a purchase.

Incorporating B2B telemarketing into a business’s proactive growth strategy also allows brands to;

Build Up Awareness: Digital marketing is a passive approach to sharing about your brand. With telemarketing, simply by calling and having a conversation, you’ll drive brand awareness. Even if you’re talking with a current customer, they may not be aware of the full range of products and services you offer and it will remind them of your business relationship, too.

Start a Conversation: The two-way dialogue that B2B telemarketing introduces can’t be duplicated with digital marketing. Your potential buyer has the opportunity to ask questions, provide feedback and experience the personal connection that comes with a telemarketing conversation.

Explain Complex Features: Telemarketing gives you a chance to talk over more complex aspects of your industry and product so that the lead is more equipped to make an informed decision. The conversational setting of telemarketing allows for the natural flow of ideas and gives you an opportunity to connect your contact with a white paper or blog that has more information about the topic.

Improve Existing Customer Relationships: Once you’ve gained a new client, don’t stop reaching out. B2B telemarketing offers a perfect opportunity to follow up on your client’s experience or offer them an additional product or service.

Are you interested in leveraging a range of outbound and inbound marketing, call center, and lead generations to help your business operate as effectively as possible going forward? Consider contacting our experts at Blue Valley Marketing today to learn about what our services can do for you.

Effectively Increasing Business ROI

Knowing how to measure the return on investment (ROI) is an important part of your business strategy, especially when it comes to determining the impacts and value of your various B2B telemarketing efforts. The benefits of successfully measuring your ROI and understanding the return on every dollar invested are numerous. However, the process can be very challenging, sometimes to the point where many marketers avoid doing it at all.

For example, it can be difficult to measure a true ROI when it comes to marketing because elements like “brand awareness” and “audience engagement” are valuable, but they may not translate directly to sales dollars, and when they do it can take a long time and be close to impossible to measure.

Questions for ROI Determination

Some common questions to ask when looking at the value of different channels as a part of your marketing strategy are:

  • How much can you expect to increase your revenue dollars and, more importantly, your bottom line profits for each dollar you invest?
  • How effective are the different channels for producing the results you want and are traditional methods like B2B Telemarketing still valuable?
  • Do you know how to effectively measure your ROI for targeted results?

B2B Telemarketing and Increasing ROI

In a recent B2B Marketing article entitled, “Evaluating the Effectiveness of B2B Telemarketing: Does It Still Work?” The author discusses the increasing importance of digital methods in promoting your brand message and how telemarketing still holds value as a part of your marketing strategy and ROI approach.

The continued inclusion of B2B telemarketing in a well-balanced comprehensive marketing plan can increase your results in a number of ways:

  • In some industries, tech-based interactions will never replace human-to-human conversation. Particularly in businesses where you are pitching a people-centered service, the personal conversation will always be necessary.
  • While you can find a lot of information online about products and services, it’s still helpful to talk to a live person that can answer questions and provide clarification.
  • A dozen emails flying back and forth or a string of comments sometimes serve to remind you how much easier and efficient it is to simply pick up the phone and have a conversation. In many industries, you’ll eventually get on the phone with someone anyway, so why not begin a personal relationship right away?
  • In addition to all the ways telemarketing aids your growth objectives, it also provides a useful resource for recording and training your employees. You would never want to build a team that hasn’t been trained to talk to real people.

But, how does telemarketing compare to other types of channels when it comes to business ROI? With all the digital options out there, how do you decide how much of your budget should be targeted toward telemarketing?

Woman In Black Blazer Sitting On Black Office Chair
Woman In Black Blazer Sitting On Black Office Chair

Telemarketing is a Tried-and-True Marketing Channel With a Reliable ROI

One of the troubling trends in marketing today is the fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) syndrome. There’s one blog post after another, telling you that they have the secret trick or set of tips that you’re missing in your marketing strategy. Whether it’s a new angle for your social media posts or adjusting the exact frequency of your email newsletter, they all promise that, through digital channels, you’ll increase growth and your business’s ROI.

There are definite benefits to adding social media and other digital channels to your marketing plan, but the use of digital methods should be measured in the same way you assess any business investment. In other words, what’s your expected ROI for your spending related to digital marketing methods?

Many companies fall into the trap of attaching too much importance to following trends, afraid they are going to miss the next big thing in marketing. They chase one fad after another, spending resources on unproven methods while reducing their investment in tried-and-true traditional marketing tools.

One of those reliable channels is B2B telemarketing. 

We understand that telemarketing can seem like an unlikely candidate for a preferred marketing tool in the current day and age of advanced communication options. However, while consumer telemarketing has a reputation for being everyone’s least favorite dinnertime phone call, it’s a welcome resource for information and answers among those in a B2B setting. A potential buyer for a product is looking to solve problems, reduce spending and make changes that increase productivity.

If your product or service can solve a problem or remedy a challenge, your telemarketing call is met with enthusiasm by your potential buyer and can provide a more predictable ROI for your business. 

If you want a faster, easier method to help determine your business’s telemarketing ROI, consider trying out Blue Valley Marketing’s specially designed ROI calculator. 

Related: Intent Data Provides Key Insights Into the Activities of B2B Buyers

Promoting More Informed Decision Making

Life is moving faster than ever. When it comes to the tools you use for marketing your business, the trends can fly by at such a pace that by the time you choose a particular route, it’s already passé. 

Having a clear and detailed understanding of the steps and stages companies must take to have potential clients become loyal customers is a crucial process that sales and marketing personnel have to think through when crafting their company marketing strategy. Each of the sales steps you identified may have to be supported by a specific piece of content. B2B telemarketing can play a critical role in helping you move your contacts and guide them from a stage where they’re interested, to the step where they eventually decide to sign a contract or make a purchase.

A recent cusotmerthink.com article highlights the phases that a client moves through before they make a decision and the ways that those phases can vary. In some of the graphics, the stages happen in a straight, orderly line. In others, the decision-making process more closely resembles a web.

The important wisdom to gain from these visuals is that though the process may look different, the main steps that your potential buyers move through before they make a decision to purchase from you or from one of your competitors is the same. At each stage of the process, your marketing efforts can help influence your potential buyer’s decision.

Another recent article by Tom Goodwin explores the pace of trends and media in 2017 and their unprecedented pace. The article addresses three specific areas that are shifting:

The Speed of Change: One of the notable elements of the current media environment is simply the rate at which quickly things progress. At times ideas and new processes hardly have time to be a thing before they are considered old. Trends don’t last for years or at times even months. Instead, some are lucky to stick around for a few weeks.

Companies feel pressured to make quick decisions in order not to “lose” an opportunity. There’s no opportunity anymore for companies to sit and wait to see if a trend is going to catch on for a more permanent stay before they invest in it. A new trend doesn’t have time to spread or saturate the market before it’s already considered over.

Unpredictability: Whether it’s Donald Trump’s win in the election or the passage of Brexit, things may feel a little unpredictable. Whatever you thought could not be possible is turning out to be pretty likely to happen. Technology like drones and self-driving cars also drive the sense that what was previously thought to be extremely unlikely is becoming a reality.

The Constant Feed of Information: Never before has there been such a fast and furious feed of news. You can easily get overstimulated simply watching 10 minutes of CNN, with the commentators surrounded by additional newsfeeds. With Facebook and Twitter, you can scan the thoughts and activities of clients, prospects, co-workers, competitors, and even friends and acquaintances without approaching depth in any particular subject.

Likewise, because you are so inundated with news media, you tend to quickly scroll through the first few lines of a news story before moving on to something else. Your experiences with the news tend to be shallow, and your interactions with your contacts on social media may be shallow, too.

Goodwin says that these influences on the business culture are making it more difficult to make decisions. Marketers report that at times they feel paralyzed by the flood of quick-to-die trends, a flurry of data, and a shallow understanding of their target market. B2B marketers want to base their decisions on the objective power of Big Data, but he says that it’s likely more effective to take a step back. Some good decisions are made not from data or trends but from instinct.

How B2B Telemarketing Informs Smart, Trend-Proof Decision-Making

Like Goodwin points out, good marketing is often about more than data and the latest trends. It’s about instinct and about people. Including B2B telemarketing in your marketing plans helps you get outside of the trend race and the data flood, and make clear decisions about your content marketing plan. Here’s how:

You Talk to People and Hear What’s Important to Them

When it comes down to it, B2B interactions are still just one person talking with another to make the best decisions for their company. B2B telemarketing puts the human touch back into your decisions about how to do your marketing. You hear what problems your potential buyers are facing, the obstacles to their decision-making process, and the types of content they like to consume.

You Find Out if The Data is Supported by Reality

A recent article tells you that in order to get a good return on your marketing investment, you have to think in terms of creating viral videos. While this may be true, you’ll get more benefit out of talking with your potential buyers through B2B telemarketing as you decide on a direction for your content marketing plan.

Your contacts might tell you that they appreciate a good video, but what they really like is to dig into an in-depth white paper that gives specific solutions for an issue. If sixty percent of your calls say that they prefer receiving content through emails, you should definitely include that information in your decision-making.

B2B Telemarketing: Getting Your Timing Right

A successful telemarketing campaign relies on information that gives you insights into the behavior of your leads. The strategy also involves timing: saying the right things to the right people at the right time. With B2B telemarketing, you have to look at several different scenarios and plan accordingly.

For instance, not every call is going to land you with a person who makes the buying decisions. This doesn’t mean the call is a failure; you can have a script ready for the gatekeepers, too. However, you don’t want to spend too much time with a person who won’t be able to make the decisions, so keep your gatekeeper script short, yet effective. If you’ve done a good job, you should be forwarded on to the decision-maker in due time.

A reputable telemarketer will also have good timing when it comes to communication. To be taken seriously, you need to have the proper authoritative tone of a person who has power. This is tough to pull off when you’re rigidly following a script. Properly trained telemarketers know how to be forceful, but not offensive; professional, but not robotic.

The best scripts come after several test scripts have been whittled down into the perfect set of words that get the point across quickly and clearly in as short a time as possible. Always leave room for alterations though; because your script will probably change over the course of a campaign and could change depending on the call. That’s the power of telemarketing. It’s a proactive process that gives you more power to control the message because it’s an actual conversation.

B2B Telemarketing Tips That Work

B2B lead generation for high-dollar items can be great for businesses but also come with a high cost. Research suggests that for items that cost $8,000 or more, marketers will spend nearly $1,500 on lead generation. When you consider that only around 33 percent of these leads turn into a sale, it becomes clear that the methods you use to gather leads must be extremely accurate and effective to produce a profit.

The top three channels for lead generation are email marketing, live events, and telemarketing. One reason email marketing is so pervasive is due to its cost and effectiveness in reaching a large number of potential buyers in a very short time period. Live events are a far more expensive means of lead generation but are effective when pulled off correctly. Telemarketing is less expensive than live events but proves to be a highly proactive method of informing potential buyers about products that will interest them.

What’s important to all three channels, including B2B telemarketing, is a value exchange. This is an approach where the prospect is given something they perceive as valuable for information about themselves or their company that will put them on the list as a lead.

Some telemarketers are too quick to jump into a sales pitch. Before you do this, you need to see where your potential client is coming from, what their challenges are, and how willing they are to make a purchase. By some accounts, it takes upwards of 80 calls to put yourself in a position where you’re making a sale. To bring that number down to something more reasonable, it helps if you’re offering something of value in the first place. This might have more to do with your contact list than your product or service, which is something a reputable telemarketing agency can help you with.

Quality telemarketers will not push their contacts into a yes or no situation. Instead, they’ll design their script and their pitch so that the conversation is more about nurturing than about making a quick sale. This is easier when you understand who your leads are, which enables you to ask the right questions.

One aspect of B2B telemarketing that seems universal, regardless of industry, is that buyers respond to the human element. It’s the two-way communication, the give and takes between telemarketers and decision-makers that leads to success. When a telemarketer makes a human connection, it’s usually through thorough research about the potential client and the ability to ask the right question.

If you’ve nurtured a lead, it’s important to schedule follow-up conversations that make sense with the potential buyer’s buying cycle. Excellent note-keeping and a keen ear for when a prospect deserves another call are paramount to success.

As these factors might indicate, it takes a special telemarketer to deliver everything you need to make your B2B telemarketing campaign a success. But the effort it takes to find the right telemarketer can be more than worth it for the benefits it can bring to your business.

Final Factors for Businesses to Consider

If you’ve made it this far through the above guide, you should better understand the critical role that B2B marketing plays in business transactions and success. Our team of business experts at Blue Valley Marketing sincerely hopes that the above information has helped fill in the gaps in your essential telemarketing knowledge and explained how it might help improve your company’s performance. Please consider contacting us if you would like to learn about how we can help you leverage an effective B2B telemarketing strategy today.

Is your business currently searching for a top-quality provider of effective B2B-telemarketing services? Consider contacting our team of experts at Blue Valley Marketing today to learn about our wide range of specialized services and how they can help improve your business performance!

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Ronen Ben-Dror

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