Telemarketing – does it still work?

By now most people should know a few things about me. I am keen on Marketing, particular Inbound Marketing, and you might not know that I started my career in telemarketing.

A few months back I needed less convincing to use telemarketing and cold calling. I thought, if there is a company out there that fits the niche for my company’s service, then a call to them will work. And, it does. However, it is not as effective as getting this person to find you.

On Linkedina group of Business Development guys discussed telemarketing and particularly cold calling. My comment was: “I have done cold calling for many years but think it proves less and less effective. Ideally you focus on inbound marketing to generate leads. Prospects are funneled through to you and find you online (SEO, PPC, Blogs, Social Media) and if you have the right USP, they will fill in a contact form. Once that is done, you call them. I would almost call that a “luke warm” contact 😉 Because the prospect did the first step and you already know that they know you. From there it is much easier to introduce yourself.
Having said all that, for some goods cold calling will still work and becomes a numbers game. Simple example is a washing machine. Everyone needs one, and everyone wants one. There is a saturation in the market but if you call 100 households, I am sure you can sell at least 1 washing machine

So, we are looking at several cases here. Cold calling for B2C and B2B and then for products that are niche and products that are common. From my point of view, like the washing machine example, if you have a commonly available product and cold call B2B or B2C, you will eventually win new clients. It is a numbers game.

If you are B2B and you have a niche product people will find you anyway, particularly if you are using inbound marketing and optimise your site with SEO. However, if you are somewhere in the middle, a combination can work. Don’t call it “cold calling” but “telemarketing”. Start a survey and ask people “is that a service you could be interested in?” – get their “opt-in” to send them further information, get them curious about what you have to say.

Once you made them curious, then you got them to search for a keyword you can push in your email, something easy to optmise for and with little competition. You push a keyword that people will connect to your product and services. This is a great SEO tip too 😉

So, to summarise, I still believe that telemarketing and telesales can be useful if it is used as a qualifying tool after the initial contact has been made through a trade show, a contact form or other means of marketing. Used mainly for inbound and “luke warm” outbound calls, as part of a strong inbound marketing mix, telemarketing is a good tool for companies.

And, for anyone who ever worked in telemarketing, it is a great way of starting your sales career. You never have any hesitation to pick up the phone – even if the president was on the other side of the line 😉