The creation of leads and their conversion into profitable sales is vital to the success of any company operating in the B2B sector. Businesses who have their own salesforce need their salespeople to operate as efficiently as possible, particularly when new customer acquisition is a key part of sales planning. Key ingredients in sales efficiency are lead quality and lead management.
Lead quality is fuelled by building interest and engagement with relevant individuals, understanding the match of companies who employ these people to the vendor’s “ideal customer” profile, and identifying the sales qualification basics such as budget, authority, need and timing of potential investment decisions.
The big question, of course, is when something becomes “a lead” to be managed. This varies considerably from business to business. In some business models, a simple enquiry can be considered a lead. Other businesses need a considerable amount of information about a prospect before it can be considered a lead and put into the sales funnel.
This boils down to understanding where in the sales cycle each interaction sits. The AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action) model of B2B sales cycle is a helpful way of looking at this:
Few B2B businesses only use their field salespeople to take customers all the way from building awareness of a company’s existence through to closing sales. In most businesses, marketing is seen as a far more efficient way of garnering and building engagement with prospective customers during the earlier stages.
The question then becomes: at what point is an engagement declared “a lead”? When things appear sufficient from Marketing’s perspective a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is declared and passed to Sales. The sales team then picks these up and the direct sales engagement process can begin – the first step of which is usually for Sales to contact the suspect and decide whether to accept the lead and make it a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).
So much for the theory, but what happens in practice? In real life, B2B companies need to keep the sales cycle as short (and predictable) as possible. Anything which can help keep prospects on track down the sales funnel will be of great value. In order to do this, many business use Telemarketing.
Used intelligently, Telemarketing not only avoids expensive sales resources being consumed too early but also further builds engagement.
Quite where in the customer journey telemarketing makes sense depends on the nature of sales opportunities. The bigger the deal size, the earlier it makes sense to use telemarketing to qualify and gather additional information. This is particularly important when true opportunities are not easily distinguished by marketing automation and other techniques which can turn up “false positives”. Telemarketing can help avoid Sales teams perceiving marketing leads as poor quality.
The Bollin Green Approach to Accelerating Sales with B2B Telemarketing
Lead generation is never a single channel matter – companies win by getting the blend and balance of channels right, and marketing channels are seldom used sequentially (engagement is a multi-channel affair) and telemarketing can be used throughout.
At Bollin Green we can help B2B companies by maximising the value of leads by using telemarketing throughout the sales cycle – we can integrate with a company’s full multi-channel sales and marketing activities. We do this all the way from data cleaning and enrichment, through understanding decision-making structures in accounts and delivery of properly qualified leads, to ensuring lead follow-up is done in a timely manner, and win/loss reporting.
For example, Bollin Green’s telemarketing services can help companies validate MQLs generated by inbound marketing programs so that spurious enquiries can be qualified-out or recycled and lead reports generated which present the opportunity in the full context of the decision makers’ business, needs, and urgency.
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