I’m becoming nervous whenever the phone rings at the office these days. Beads of sweat start to form on my brow. 2nd ring. No number showing on the caller ID. Third ring. It’s just flashing “BT”, taunting me. Fourth ring. People around me start to give me that “aren’t you going to answer that?” look. Get a grip, Steve. Too late. It’s gone to Voicemail. Again.
No, fortunately, I am not being targeted by nuisance callers. So why does it feel like I am?
There are two distinct categories that these calls seem to fall into:
1) Cold calls from agencies and suppliers who have got my name from reception or a colleague.
2) Follow-up calls from businesses that I have engaged with (e.g. by downloading a white paper, attending a webinar etc)
My earlier post on B2B Telemarketing will tell you where I stand on the first group of people. If you’re acting on this advice, and I’m in your target audience, maybe you’ll have found this blog.
For those businesses in the second group, you should give me the option to say “I’m just researching your category, call me in 6 months” (or similar) when I download your white paper. Yes, you’ve got my attention and I’m interested enough to want to find out more, but if I have no confirmed buying need or budget when you call, then why try to progress me through the funnel to a meeting?
As the classic Grolsch TV ad series said; “Stop! (I’m not ready yet!)”.
So what should B2B Marketers engaging in a lead generation programme via white paper download do to improve the experience and make sure only ‘sales ready’ leads get progressed through the funnel? I suggest the following:
1) When you ask your prospect to give their contact details (and permission) to download the paper, offer them ways to tell you how ‘sales ready’ they are. If they have no budget or established buying need, your sales team will not be happy you’ve set up a meeting with them. So don’t bother just now.
2) Before the first contact, give them a reasonable amount of time to digest your paper and work out if/where/how it fits into their plans. This is a hard one to get right, but use the information they’ve given you in 1, above, and make a sensible call on a suitable timeframe.
3) Your telemarketers have two ears and one mouth. PLEASE train them to use them in that proportion. There is no greater turn-off for a B2B buyer than not being listened to. This is where ‘structured follow up’ can cross the line into ‘nuisance call’ territory.