3 Questions to Ask Before Doing an Outsourced Telemarketing Lead Acquisition Campaign

Bill Crowley

Executive Vice President, Data

outsourced telemarketing questionsSince account-based marketing (ABM) is such a hot topic, marketers feel pressure from sales teams (and the VP) to do something around target account penetration. In response, telemarketing has made a back-from-the-grave appearance in the product kit of marketing agencies and even online publishers. It sounds pretty good too:

  • Pick only the accounts that you want to target by country, industry, or even just a single company!
  • You only need 1 white paper to run the whole campaign.
  • Tick the ABM box – yes, we are doing it.
  • It will deliver a large volume of leads in a single month – Wow!

But strategic marketers with limited budgets have to step back and ask a few smart questions first.

Question 1 – Is this really the way the world works today?

While telemarketing (TM) may sound convenient, you have to ask if this really works given IT decision-makers (ITDMs) want to work with tech companies. The mega-trend of ITDM research behavior is headed in the other direction from telemarketing. ITDMs are doing their research online and want the best content available when its convenient to them. This is becoming truer each year. Online is where the real competition is for ITDMs’ hearts and minds. It is hard to see how telemarketing fits in with this new reality of how research is done or how ITDMs want to interact with your brand. Do you want to be the company investing in cold callers from outside parties?

Question 2 – Will these telemarketing prospects really be interested in my technology area?

The argument with the above paragraph is “I need to get access to people making decisions now, I can’t wait for them to download my content.” Fair point.

But now the question becomes, does telemarketing (for lead acquisition, not nurturing) get me people interested in my technology area? Let’s take a look at the barriers to someone becoming a telemarketing lead and understand what that means for them being the “right” prospect:

  • 1st barrier – What list are they calling? Is there some credible list of prospects they are calling that should be interested in this technology area or are they just pulling together names of people at companies?
  • 2nd barrier (BIG ONE) – Who picks up the phone? Depending on who you ask, only 1-5% of calls even result in someone answering the phone. This is a pretty big drop off and is the primary determinant of who could become a prospect for you.
  • 3rd barrier – With what level of fidelity did the telemarketer determine the prospect’s interest? This is another place where data gets tangled. Basically, are you confident that you are getting good information from the outsourced telemarketer? Put your feet in their shoes. The telemarketer just had to make 60 calls just to get a live person (and if they’ve been doing this campaign for days/weeks, imagine that). They don’t have much experience in the technology space and with your solution. They don’t have a full suite of white papers to offer on different subjects. And, on top of all of that, you have to recognize that they are quota-ed on completing the program. Ask yourself whether this combination of factors will add up to good ROI for marketers.

Question 3 – Is the data from the call accurate?

This may seem like a repeat question, but this international survey data about what ITDMs say they tell telemarketers shows that:

  1. IT buyers are reluctant to provide accurate details around buying research for unsolicited calls
  2. Buyers will accept content from a cold call even if they do not intend to make a purchase soon
  3. Buyers will basically say anything to get telemarketer off the phone

While telemarketing sounds like it can address a lot of challenges, marketers are the ones that need to ask the hard questions if the company is really going to make progress as a result of the effort and budget.


3 questions image via Shutterstock

b2b sales, marketing strategies, outsourced telemarketing, telemarketing lead acquisition

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