The Importance of Warm Calling

If you have considered a telemarketing firm to conduct your cold calling duties you are not alone. Each year, thousands of businesses of all sizes look to contract out these duties. In addition to cold calling, warm calling is another task that is often better left to a professional telemarketing firm.

Warm leads are ones that aren’t exactly cold, but still aren’t ready to be passed along to your sales team. In fact, if your sales team gets warm leads, they are unlikely to convert these leads into sales. Despite this fact, many marketers mistakenly pass along warm leads for no other reason than they aren’t cold.

To better understand why warm calls are necessary before passing along a lead to your sales team, here are some points to consider:

Warm calls determine if a potential lead is a good fit. A lead many be interested in your product or service but may not understand exactly what it is you have to offer. Before your sales team calls on a customer that doesn’t really understand your business model, it is important to determine if the lead is a good fit.

Warm calls heat up leads that have gone cold. Warm calling is ideal for leads that you haven’t been in touch with lately but still believe will eventually convert into sales. Warm calling will help to keep the lines of communication open without wasting a salesperson’s time.

Warm calls perform follow-up tasks. Many times a prospect will ask for a call back at a particular point in the future. For example, when a lead’s contract runs out with their current vendor. Calling these customers to touch base allows you to gage whether or not a lead is still considering your product or service.

Warm calls focus on all of your customers. It is easy to neglect current customers who seem to be on autopilot or past customers who you believe are gone for good. Warm calling is a way to check in with these customers. Further, this simple point of contact is often enough to keep current customers satisfied or, in the case of past customers, convince them that it is time to place another order.

Why Lead Generation is Essential to Increasing B2B Sales

Without effective lead generation, B2B sales will literally grind to a halt. While most companies are aware of this fact, many of these same companies neglect lead generation because they can’t pinpoint exactly how it helps to increase their bottom line.

It is crucial that B2B marketers realize that leads are more than just a list of potential customers. And they are much more than individuals or companies that have inquired about your business. Leads are prospects that have a real chance of becoming customers at some point in time.

It is these – and only these – types of leads that should be given to your sales team. This helps to ensure that your sales team has the best chance to convert qualified leads into sales.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that if you advertise or have a strong marketing communications program that you have lead generation covered. Lead generation is unique in that it relies specifically on direct-response marketing communications designed to spur a response or an action. This response can include anything from an email inquiry to a purchase.

What follows are the top four reasons lead generation helps to increase sales:

  1. Lead Classification: In order for leads to be called on at exactly the right time, it is important to know where a lead is in the sales funnel. If you call on a prospect too early or too late in a sales cycle, chances are you will have lost the sale.
  2. Email Lists: Automated email lists are most effective when those lists are broken down by particular criteria. This way each recipient on an email list gets a specifically targeted message.
  3. Engagement: The best way to engage leads is understand their particular wants and needs. More importantly, if they have a problem, you need to know how to solve it. If you don’t know anything about your leads, however, you have little hope of effectively engaging or connecting with them.
  4. Feedback: Once a lead makes a purchase, you need to understand when and why they made that purchase. This knowledge will go a long way toward understanding when the best time to approach a lead again is.

Not sure whether you should invest in lead generation for your B2B company? Remember this, statistics consistently show that companies with the most effective lead generation programs close more sales.

Customer Profiling Surveys Best Handled by Telephone

There are many ways to determine if a past customer is just that, or shows promise of becoming a repeat customer. One effective method to determine the status of customers in your database is to conduct client profiling telephone surveys.

Each year, businesses spend a great deal of time and money marketing to customers in their databases who show very little-if any-promise of becoming repeat customers. By cleansing your database of these customers, you can focus your resources on quality prospects.

Surveys can also help you to find out why certain customers have decided against working with your business again. Perhaps it was a customer service issue. Or maybe they need a product that you do not carry or that they have found at a lower price somewhere else. Discovering the reason a customer has not worked with you again can help you resolve these issues and maybe even lure them back.

While many companies choose online surveys for client profiling, it is in most cases best to perform these surveys over the telephone. That’s because online surveys are missing a human component and don’t allow for any back and forth exchanges.

What follows are some other advantages of conducting customer profiling surveys over the phone:

  1. Telephone surveys yield faster results than other types of surveys because you don’t have to wait for people to respond.
  2. Skilled interviewers are able to elicit longer and more complete answers. Further, interviewers can also ask for clarification if an answer is unclear.
  3. There is increased quality control because interviewers can make sure respondents are properly answering questions. Further, if a number of respondents are confused by a particular question it can be brought to the attention of the survey creator.
  4. Telephone surveys allow for a degree of anonymity while still providing a more personal experience than an online survey.
  5. It is easier to delete an email or online survey than to turn down a person calling to ask for a few moments of a respondent’s time.
  6. Respondents are much less able to skip questions – whether by accident or on purpose.

If you are contemplating conducting a telephone customer profiling survey, it may be in your best interest to find a telemarketing firm that is experienced in such surveys. After all, the key to conducting the most accurate surveys is to make sure they are administered as professionally as possible.

Telemarketing Calls and Lead Qualification Go Hand-in-Hand

When you think of telemarketing, chances are your mind goes immediately to selling. Whether inbound or outbound, many business owners have the mistaken impression that telemarketing only belongs at the end of the sales funnel.

Telemarketing, however, can play a much bigger role in increasing B2B sales. In fact, it can – and should – play a strategic role in all stages of the sales funnel.

One of the many important ways telemarketing can help your B2B efforts is by focusing on lead qualification. While it would be nice if leads all entered the sales funnel at a particular place and continued on a specific track, unfortunately that is not how it works.

Prospects enter the sales funnel anywhere from the prospecting stage to the purchasing stage. Telemarketing is a great tool to support your sales team by using it to provide them with only the most qualified leads.

For example, perhaps you have just sent out marketing materials to a number of prospects. When calling these prospects to ask if they received your materials, you can slip in a number of lead qualification questions. These questions can help you find out things like a decision maker’s name or what company is your biggest competitor.

Similar lead qualification questions can be embedded into other calls, as well. Are you taking product orders? Ask the customer if there are any other products they would be interested in or when they might place another order. Would he or she be interested in a sales rep calling to discuss other product offerings?

The idea of lead qualification embedded into telemarketing calls is not a new one but not every business capitalizes on it. This is unfortunate since it is literally a two-for-one opportunity. Virtually every call a telemarketer makes allows for some sort of lead qualification.

Of course partnering with the right telemarketing firm is the key to successfully embedding lead qualification questions into telemarketing calls. It takes highly trained professional to seamlessly weave these questions into a conversation without seeming unnatural or forced. Instead, this telemarketing professional will be building relationships while gleaning the information you need to increase your bottom line. Talk about a win-win!