Does Cold Calling Get a Bad Press?

Many, if not most, modern marketers have eschewed telephone marketing in favour of more modern methods of lead generation. This is particularly the case with regard to the use of social media as a platform for lead generation. ‘Cold Calling is Dead’ they proclaim. But is telemarketing really defunct as a route to market? Does cold calling still work? Or is it confined to the annals of lead generation history as passé as fax marketing?

The truth, in my humble opinion, is that cold calling gets a bad press for any number of reasons. Don’t get me wrong. There are some shoddy practices out there and nuisance calls are wrong in anyone’s book. Likewise, there are some poor exponents of telephone marketing especially those from outside of our shores. Who likes a cold caller that is only interested in themselves and talks at you so that you feel you’re being sold to? Silent calls and calls to opted out numbers drag down the reputation of the industry.

But, and it’s a big but, telephone marketing is still a valid route to market in some cases. And, no method of marketing can truly guarantee results. Is advertising guaranteed to deliver the enquiries you want? How about PR for media coverage? Or email marketing with its low response rates and spam issues? How about social media marketing or Pay per Click Adwords? Very few methods of promotion are anywhere near being dead certs and plenty of small and large organisations have had their fingers burned by lack of return on investment on their marketing.

So, what are the advantages of telemarketing? Whilst I do not believe that cold calling is right for every business, it does work. Below are just some of the potential advantages if you can hone your target market and refine your proposition:

Telemarketing isn’t a Wait and See Method of Marketing

Most other methods rely on you paying for the tools or services and then waiting hopefully for outcomes without any means of driving those outcomes. You could argue that telemarketing also requires you to pay for the service. That’s true but the difference is that you are paying for services to actively target and engage with your audience. It’s human to human communication and people still buy people especially when the value of sale is significant. And in some cases you can even negotiate a hybrid or part results based remuneration.

Telemarketing can Help you Precisely Target your Audience

With most other marketing tools, there is inevitable wastage. Few marketing solutions allow for precise targeting. I accept of course that wastage is reduced with some methods where you can localise targeting through PPC or native advertising but are these foolproof?. However, with telemarketing if a target list of decision makers is available, you can precisely target these via phone. Whilst you may get blocked or there may not be an imminent need, skilled callers can overcome these limitations and secure opportunities that would not have been possible otherwise.

You can Identify Future Intentions

With other routes to market, it’s impossible to identify future requirements or intentions. A phone call often results in a conversation that may provide useful insight into both future needs and the timing of those requirements. That enables an organisation to build its pipeline which is an indicator of business health.

Telemarketing Allows You to Use Personality

Clearly, you can use your personality at an exhibition or face to face at a networking event. But that may not be an everyday occurrence. Using the phone, you will almost certainly speak to people in your target range every day of calling. It is often said that your people are your brand. Get good people on the phone and they inspire confidence and encourage buyer interest in a much deeper way than using other channels.

Telemarketing Works for High Value Products and Services

Whilst there are different types of calling including high volume lower value calls typically made by call centres and offshore callers, niche b2b telemarketing is where perhaps smaller boutique agencies or indeed organisations themselves target specific high value clients and sectors. With cold calling, you can profile the audience and gather your list (whether through online methods like LinkedIn or through a list purchase). That target list can be as precise as you want including location, size of business, number of employees, sectors, number of branches, job roles and so on. This allows you to tailor activity and calls directly to those individuals that are most likely to provide the most profitable business for your organisation. This kind of telephone pre-sales calling is a common feature in many large IT / Technology organisations.

Telemarketing Amplifies the Impact of Other Marketing Methods

Many organisations still use direct mail. Others use email marketing. Plenty attend exhibitions. A phone call can increase the likelihood of success and magnify the results from other methods. That’s especially the case where an email drives the prospect to a landing page with a compelling call to action or where they fill out an online form to ask for a call. We do this on our website and get frequent enquiries. That makes the follow up call less of a cold call and more of a warm one. Equally, with email marketing, technology allows businesses to track click throughs and opens. Those are the individuals that are probably worth calling first as part of a campaign as they have seemingly shown some interest. A strong piece of direct marketing coupled with a follow up call can gain stand out and better outcomes when it comes to hard to reach decision-makers.

Ultimately, cold calling doesn’t suit every business. But the same or similar impediments to telemarketing could apply to other ways of marketing. Most methods will fail if they are poorly executed and there are no guarantees. If your target market is unclear and you don’t have any specific benefits for your audience or your competition is extremely strong, you may struggle to cut through. If your message is weak and there is no compelling reason for potential customers to connect with you, the chances are that you will also struggle regardless how you approach your market.

Does cold calling get a bad press? PPI companies are the new double glazing callers. Poor offshore calls certainly don’t inspire confidence. However, some of the world’s largest organisations still use the phone as a route to market. It’s because they know that they are in control of their destiny, people buy people and they consistently deliver positive results as part of the pre-sale process. And, at the end of the day, results are what count.

Ready to talk?

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Already doing telemarketing yourself but not getting the results you need? GSA can also provide telemarketing training for your existing staff, bringing them new skills, telemarketing tips, know-how or just a different approach.

Find out how GSA Business Development can help Generate Growth for your Business, by contacting us now on 0845 658 8192 or by using the form on this site.

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