B2B Telemarketing: 3 critical success factors

In a recent B2B Marketing Magazine feature on Telemarketing, I was interested to see that 70% of respondents to a survey of 200 B2B Marketers said that the technique was either ‘critical’ or ‘very important’ as part of their demand generation activities. With such a high number, I am still amazed to experience so many examples of it done badly.

Having managed both in-house and outsourced Telemarketing teams in the past, I have seen first-hand how powerful this technique can be for lead generation and appointment-setting campaigns. I also know how hard it is to do consistently well.

Having recently moved jobs, I have been inundated with cold calls from a wide range of marketing service providers. Some of them get the firm’s name wrong, and too many try to close an appointment without establishing if I have the time, appetite or budget to enter into any form of dialogue, no matter how exploratory.

In my experience, successful B2B Telemarketing depends on a number of critical success factors:

  1. Start with good quality data  We all have data challenges, but how have you gathered that this person is in the market for the goods or services you are about to try to sell to them, and how confident are you that the demand might be there? 
  2. Enhance it with research  I know that outbound telemarketing is often seen as a numbers game, but the art is in making the recipient of each call not feel like it is! Take time to do some basic research into the company AND the individual you are trying to target, BEFORE you pick up the phone. If you get the name of my firm wrong (as happened to me recently), this is unlikely to impress me.
  3. Hire and retain only exceptional people who are capable of building a credible rapport on the phone, sometimes over a period of several months. Demonstrating that you understand and are actively listening for information that can help me to solve a business problem will always help.

Does any of this resonate with you? Have you been on the end of great (or dreadful) B2B Telemarketing experiences? How did they make you feel, and did they win your business?


10 thoughts on “B2B Telemarketing: 3 critical success factors

  1. Nick McCallion

    I agree 100% with Steve Revill and also tell potential clients that it is not the number of calls per hour (we average 20), but the quality of the conversations per hour (5-7) that you have. That is why we spend a little bit of time checking the company’s website for any information that might help our b2b telemarketing call get a better result.

    Please feel free to contact me at nickm@telesourcecenter.com or 800.770.4350.

  2. Pingback: Stop! I’m not (sales) ready yet! « Steve Revill's Blog

  3. Maegan

    Thanks for the tips Steve! There are a lot of good ideas in business-to-business lead generation. These can be used to come up with a strong, effective and cost-efficient campaigns, which in turn will lead to the realization of profit. On the other hand,poor execution of these will surely lead to failure. Thus, strategies coupled with proper and constant application will lead you closer to your goals.

  4. Lawrence Anderson

    Thanks for this info. I may never have been on either end of telemarketing but I do a lot of writing on the subject (particularly the relationship between telemarketing and B2B marketing as a whole). This blog has really helped me affirm what I’ve learned so far. (And trust me, I’m still new so stuff like this really, really helps). Again, thanks!

    1. Steve Revill Post author

      Hi Lawrence, thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found the piece useful. Having been on the receiving end of B2B telemarketing, it’s so rarely done well. I also ran a telemarketing unit for a number of years, so if there’s any further insights you need for your research, feel free to get in touch.


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