Outbound Digital Marketing vs Telemarketing. What’s the best route to market?
In a digital world, deciding where to invest marketing budget is becoming an increasingly tough call for businesses. In B2B there is a strong focus on digital marketing, but you shouldn’t overlook outbound, including telemarketing and appointment setting, as a route to driving more sales qualified leads. Both strategies have their virtues and done well; both can achieve brilliant ROI. Telemarketing remains a highly effective channel, delivering an industry average ROI of 1100% (or $11 for every $1 spent). 92% of businesses included in a recent DMA survey stated telemarketing was an effective sales and marketing channel. Equally, email marketing offers an average ROI of 122%, four times higher than any other digital channel.
Digital marketing is flexible, easily updated, highly targeted, and it allows for straightforward personalisation (thanks to automation), so it can be tempting to take everything online. More traditional outbound marketing methods, specifically telemarketing and appointment setting, have the standout benefit of providing a genuine and human connection with prospects which is perfect for long-term relationship building and allows for more significant insight into a prospect’s specific challenges. Here, you are uncovering those prospects who aren’t yet looking for your services online.
Seeking opportunities vs awaiting interest
This is the enduring value of telemarketing, the ability to uncover those excellent prospects who aren’t yet looking for your service online, who have not selected you as one of the companies they want to talk to, or who may not be engaging with any online marketing at all. These potentially valuable customers could slip through the cracks and never be reached or be easily dismissed as uninterested.
Our experience shows that this is not the case. Often, people aren’t engaging with online content or searching because they’re not yet ready to buy, but that doesn’t mean they don’t require your services; a conversation could uncover a problem your product/ service can solve. Telemarketing enables you to find prospects who aren’t engaging online, effectively engage with them and bring them into your sales funnel. Once they are there, your digital marketing, plus follow up phone calls, play a vital part in nurturing them until they are ready to buy.
Think about your target audience and typical customer journey
Before embarking on any marketing campaign, it’s crucial to think about your target audience, how best to reach them and what qualifies as a sales lead. Put all of this together to build a picture of how your ideal customer reaches your organisation and how you prefer to start that customer conversation; what’s the journey that yields the highest conversion of closed sales?
Some businesses interact with their customers almost entirely online, and success would be getting that prospect to a website product page. For others, the game-changer is getting an appointment set in the prospect’s diary and closing the deal through a meeting, pitch or demo. This preference is often rooted in the type of sale. Suppose it’s a longer sales cycle and a more consultative approach that is required; potentially, you’re selling a high-value product /software or service. In that case, it’s far tougher to close the sale through solely digital campaigns, especially if pricing is negotiated rather than being a subscription or a set fee.
If, however, you’re selling high volume and it’s easy to distil the benefits into web copy, videos and social content, and when sales are quickly and easily processed online, then provided you already have an engaging website that supports conversions, it would make little sense to take all of your awareness-building offline. If all your B2B prospects buy online or if your product value is low, then there may not be a need for telemarketing, but telemarketing and lead generation could still benefit you and help expand the range and number of sales prospects you deliver to your sales team.
Collaboration is the key to success
In an increasingly customer-driven, omnichannel world where a seamless B2B customer experience is fast becoming the gold standard, there’s a strong argument for integrating your digital and telemarketing efforts. DMA’s research revealed 81% of businesses improved campaign performance when they combined telemarketing with another channel, with email being the most successful integration channel for both B2C and B2B marketers.
There’s no doubt that speaking to a real person increases brand trust; by the same logic, email campaigns can take the ‘cold’ out of cold calling. Good content marketing can remind your customer that you’re there, that you’re thinking about how your service will benefit them and it will bridge the gap between each follow-up call. It is a means of empowering prospects with the ability to find out more about you; while allowing you to get to know what they respond to. In turn, this will enable you to gather insights and inspiration for future communications and better understand your target market.
Consider if you rely on a single channel and pour all of your effort, time and creativity into your email marketing campaigns. In that case, it’s worth remembering you are in a highly competitive market where lots of other businesses (your competitors) are taking the same approach and competing for attention. Even with a solid call to action, it can be easy for decision-makers to let email comms fall to the wayside and get lost, even when they find your message compelling. A follow-up call from a skilled salesperson can vastly improve response rates and help negotiate identify any barriers, or objections. Perhaps they’re putting off looking at your solution, or need to pass it on to a colleague, who is better suited to have the conversation. It’s the nuances that can be easily uncovered just through a short call that allow you to serve your audience better and make their decision-making that bit easier.
In conclusion, it’s not about choosing one channel or the other: if you want the entire iceberg, you need to capture those that are looking online now, the tip of the iceberg, and those that haven’t started looking yet, or haven’t found you or selected you to talk to – the rest of the iceberg, unseen below the surface.
When used in tandem, email marketing and telemarketing/appointment setting can improve market insight and overall campaign effectiveness. The combined channels give you the ability to achieve both pipeline and improved ROI from your activity.
We can help
If you are looking for an outsourced partner to help you find the balance in your outbound strategy, get in touch today by calling 1300 396 888 or sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Forrest Marketing Group offers a full range of contact centre services across Australia including telemarketing, lead generation, appointment setting, inbound and outbound customer service, customer engagement and outsourced sales solutions.