Telephone sales to businesses are becoming increasingly important. The stock market has risen and companies are seeing record profits while the consumer continues to struggle. As the advent of caller ID and do not call lists has slowed the growth of B2C telemarketing, telemarketing companies have turned to B2B, or business to business telemarketing. The focus on business is reshaping the telemarketing industry, and telemarketers are becoming more skilled at services such as appointment setting and business lead generation. Emerging market growth has brought down the price of telemarketing services by allowing companies in the developed world to outsource their appointment setting and lead generation services to countries such as India and the Philippines. Your company can capitalize on the changing landscape, but first must know the best process to follow. Whether you are outsourcing to a telemarketing services provider, or handling telemarketing internally, the following steps can help your company achieve success in the B2B telemarketing space.
First, be sure that you, or your telemarketer has a plan of action for each outbound telemarketing campaign. This would include:
1. Define your objective. This means defining what the ideal outcome of the call would be.
2. Prepare a list of questions for your telemarketer to ask the prospect.
3. Have a backup plan or goal should the call not achieve its ideal outcome.
Getting Past the Gatekeeper
The most difficult hurdle in any B2B telemarketing campaign can be getting past the gatekeeper, or secretary. Understanding this, your telemarketer should:
1. Approach the gatekeeper as he would the prospect. Gatekeepers will commonly ask, "what is this regarding?", and your telemarketer should be prepared with a short elevator pitch that will convey the importance of the call.
2. Get information about the prospect. In many cases, the telemarketer will have limited information on the prospect, so the more he can learn, the better.
3. If asked to leave a message on voice mail, or with the gatekeeper, be sure that it provides a reference to a benefit of returning the call, but doesn't talk about products or services.
Speaking With the Decision Maker
1. The goal of your telemarketing opening is to create interest so that they will willingly continue the call and allow your telemarketer to ask probing questions. The telemarketer must provide a true benefit of the products or services being offered, or the prospect will not continue the call.
2. Have something of value to say on every telemarketing call. Be sure they're able to say they are better off after your call than they were before it, even if they don't make a purchase or set an appointment. It can be helpful to call with ideas you've heard from other customers that might be useful to them.
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