B2B Telemarketing Basics: How to Be Effective in 2024

William Cannon
Last updated on April 10, 2024
Table of Contents

The internet, smartphones, and social media have radically changed how businesses market their products and services. The result has been a shift from traditional channels, such as print, TV, radio, and direct mail, and a move toward digital marketing.

Companies now have numerous ways to reach their target audience. They can use social media marketing on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Instagram. Businesses can also run paid advertising campaigns on Google or programmatic display ads.

Despite all the changes technology brings, many traditional marketing strategies continue to deliver a strong return on investment. Several industries still heavily use telemarketing to sell B2B products and services. Some examples include businesses in healthcare, SaaS (software-as-a-service), and financial services.

Telemarketing is a cost-effective method to generate leads, build brand awareness, and gain valuable insights into your target audience. Is your B2B company considering adopting this marketing strategy to sell its products and services? 

Let’s get started.

What is B2B Telemarketing?

Business-to-Business (B2B) telemarketing is a marketing strategy companies use to sell their products and services to another business over the phone. There are two types of B2B telemarketing: inbound and outbound. We’ll cover both types in the following section.

The purpose of the call can vary. It could be a cold call to generate leads, a follow-up call to nurture and qualify a prospective customer, or an outreach for market research. Telemarketing is a broad term; it’s not limited to just cold outreach. 

Any business or company can stand to benefit from B2B telemarketing. It’s most commonly used in financial services, healthcare, and SaaS industries. An in-house team can run B2B telemarketing; however, some companies outsource the task to a call center. Outsourcing can save money, time, and resources. 

B2B telemarketing is cost-effective. It builds trust and connects your best salespeople with key decision-makers. With your best sales representatives on the line, you’ll be able to qualify leads faster and close more deals.

B2B telemarketing can be used to sell several types of products and services. It’s particularly effective for more expensive products with longer sales cycles. When developing a telemarketing process, it’s important to consider the complexity of the purchasing decision. Ask yourself how many key decision-makers are involved, and make sure your team is ready to cater to each business.

Outbound vs. Inbound B2B Telemarketing

As mentioned in the last section, there are two types of B2B telemarketing: outbound and inbound. Both are effective strategies for generating new leads, building brand awareness, and gaining immediate feedback from your target audience.

Below, we’ll cover the particulars of inbound and outbound telemarketing and explain how they differ from each other.

Outbound Telemarketing

Outbound telemarketing is when your company initiates an interaction by contacting a prospect. This type of telemarketing uses cold calling when you contact a prospect you’ve never interacted with.

Many sales reps shudder at the thought of cold calling. However, it’s still one of the most effective ways to reach key decision-makers. Outbound sales representatives need strong people skills to effectively engage cold prospects and sell them your products and services.

Let’s walk through an example so you can better understand how outbound telemarketing works. Let’s say you’re a key decision-maker at a manufacturing company. You receive a call from a technology company that sells a SaaS (software-as-a-service) product.

You discuss it with the sales representative. They explain what their product is and how it can help your business. The offer sparks your interest, so you talk about pricing and meet with other key decision-makers at your company to discuss adopting the product.

Your team agrees that it can benefit the company. You return the call to the sales rep, and your business becomes a paying customer. 

Inbound Telemarketing

Inbound telemarketing is when a prospect initiates an interaction by contacting your company. This is typically a phone call, but contact can also be initiated via email or a social media message. These leads are already interested in learning more about your company’s products and services. 

A telemarketer will communicate with the target prospect and nurture them until they’re engaged enough to become a sales-qualified lead. The telemarketer will then pass the lead along to a sales development representative. The sales representative aims to close the deal—turning the prospect into a paying customer.

Let’s review an example to help you understand what inbound marketing is. Let’s say you’re watching television and see an advertisement about a mobile plan. You are impressed with the pricing and offers, so you call the number on the screen.

An inbound telemarketer accepts your call. They provide you with additional information about the mobile plan. You like what you hear, so you tell the telemarketer you’re interested in making a purchase. The telemarketer will either sign you up for a plan or transfer you to a specialized sales representative who can discuss the plan in more detail and make the sale.

4 Benefits of B2B Telemarketing

When implemented correctly, B2B telemarketing is a time-tested strategy that can lead to several positive business outcomes. This is even though digital marketing has become the most widely used marketing approach. It still pays to pick up the phone and call simply!

We’ve listed the four major benefits of B2B telemarketing below:

1. Qualified Lead Generation

Qualified lead generation is the biggest and most obvious benefit of telemarketing for B2B companies. The strategy works by acquiring a list of prospects, which can be accomplished in several ways. The easiest is to use a lead generation tool like UpLead.

A telemarketer will call each individual or company with a targeted prospect list and generate qualified leads. These can then be passed along to a representative from the sales team to close the deal.

B2B telemarketing is great for qualified lead generation, even compared to digital marketing strategies like email marketing. Communicating over the phone is more personal than any other form of contact. This makes it an extremely effective prospecting method. 

2. Brand Awareness

Another primary benefit of B2B telemarketing is brand awareness. Even if you don’t close a deal, you’ve made the lead aware of your company and its products and services. This exposure gets your business’s name and feeds into your inbound sales strategy. 

3. Immediate Feedback

Learning more about your target audience is essential to operating a business. To sell your product or service, you should understand your prospects on a fundamental level. B2B telemarketing is one of the best ways to get immediate feedback from your target audience.

One of the great things about B2B telemarketing is that it’s done over the phone. This means you can record calls and review them to learn what worked and what didn’t. Telemarketing technology also allows you to track and measure call data. This can include metrics such as call length and connect rate.

4. Cost-Effective Approach

Compared to other marketing and sales strategies, B2B telemarketing is cost-effective and provides a strong return on investment. Many modern approaches to marketing involve more indirect methods that take longer to pay off.

An in-house sales team can do B2B telemarketing. You’ll need a list of prospects, which can easily be created using a B2B lead generation tool like UpLead. In some circumstances, outsourcing your telemarketing efforts to a call center can save you money.

Types of B2B Telemarketing Campaigns

B2B telemarketing is a rather broad term involving several types of campaigns. We’ve broken down all of the ways you can use telemarketing below.

Qualified Lead Generation

The most common reason for using B2B telemarketing is to generate more qualified leads. You’ll need a targeted prospect list to run this type of campaign. There are several ways to find high-intent leads. The best method is to use a B2B lead generation tool like UpLead.

Inbound lead generation campaigns involve prospects familiar with your brand, products, and services. These might be people who’ve visited your company website or left a message for your business. Outbound lead generation campaigns tend to target key decision-makers in certain industries.

Lead generation campaigns are targeted and have the primary goal of qualifying prospects. The purpose is to get them interested in a meeting or demo. There’s also a beneficial byproduct: increasing brand awareness.

Sales Follow-up

A sales follow-up campaign is used for qualified leads who have already demonstrated interest in your product or service. This type of call is necessary when the initial contact ended in a noncommital response—the lead didn’t say yes or no.

The sales follow-up call is about re-engaging the lead to see if they’re ready for a meeting or demo.

Customer Support

The job doesn’t end once you close the deal. In fact, customer retention is arguably far more important than customer acquisition. It’s well established that it’s more expensive to find a new customer than it is to keep one.

Your clients require stellar customer service throughout their relationship with your company. Telemarketers can provide post-purchase support to answer questions and resolve issues.

Lead Nurturing

Like the sales follow-up call, a lead nurturing campaign can be used to further engage with leads. Lead nurturing is especially important for products and services with longer sales cycles; more key decision-makers are involved in the buying process.

Lead nurturing calls can include a free offering of some sort. This could be a free trial, a special deal or discount, or access to gated, exclusive content like a webinar. Offering value is one of the best ways to re-engage your leads.

Market Analysis

As mentioned earlier in this article, B2B telemarketing can be used for market analysis. It’s a great way to get immediate feedback from your target audience and one of the best ways to learn more about your prospects. You can use this information to optimize your offering and customize it to your ideal buyer persona.

Surveys

Another great way to research your target audience is to conduct surveys. You can understand what the marketplace thinks of your product or service. Is it too expensive? How does it compare to your competitors? These are questions that can be answered with a telemarketing survey campaign.

Event Registration

If you’re hosting an event, such as a webinar, you can use B2B telemarketing to manage the registration process. You can also attract more attendees with a prospecting campaign that details the value of attending your event.

Database Updating

It must maintain a clean database if your company wants to generate qualified leads and close more deals. You can use B2B telemarketing to validate your lead’s contact information and ensure your database is up-to-date.

How to Be an Effective B2B Telemarketer in 2023

Many components contribute to a successful B2B telemarketing strategy. We’ve listed some best practices below.

Invest in High-Quality Prospects

The first and most important step to B2B telemarketing is to target the right prospects. What is the point of calling someone if they don’t fit your ideal customer profile/buyer persona? Your target audience should be individuals or companies that have the potential to become paying customers.

If you want your B2B telemarketing efforts to be successful, you must invest in high-quality prospects. There are several ways to uncover high-intent leads for your company. One of the best methods is to use a B2B lead generation tool like UpLead.

UpLead offers its customers access to an extensive B2B contact database. Over 155 million B2B contacts with email addresses, 16+ million company profiles, 16,000+ technologies tracked, and much more. There are also mobile and direct dial phone numbers, and the database comes with a 95% data accuracy guarantee.

You can use over 50 search filters to explore the database and find your ideal prospects. UpLead allows you to search based on company size, annual revenue, demographics of key decision-makers, technology stack used, and more.

Set Clear Goals

Setting well-defined goals before beginning your B2B telemarketing strategy is important. Start by defining your total addressable market—TAM for short. This is how big the market is for a specific product or service. It also makes sense to consider your competitors’ market share.

Next, detail what you hope to accomplish with your telemarketing efforts. Contemplate both short-term and long-term goals. Don’t forget to consider how the campaign will fit into your budget. 

Understand Your Audience

You should understand your audience fundamentally if you intend to sell them products and services. It’s important to create ideal customer profiles. Customer profiles help define the characteristics of your ideal customers and clients. They’re also referred to as buyer personas.

Client profiles include firmographic information about your target companies, such as annual revenue, number of employees, and geographic location. They can also include demographic data about key decision-makers within the companies.

Developing highly accurate buyer personas is an essential part of your sales process. It’ll align your product, marketing, and sales materials closer to your target audience’s pain points. This kind of unison will help create a customer relationship built on trust.

A B2B lead generation tool like UpLead can help you find your ideal target prospects. The platform offers an extensive B2B contact database with information on businesses and key decision-makers.   

Take a Personal Approach

With your ideal customer profile, you now better understand your target audience. You understand who the companies are, how much revenue they generate, their organizational charts, and their geographic locations. 

This valuable information can help you personalize your offering, marketing plan, sales process, and post-purchase customer support. Your target audience and prospective customers will notice you’ve gone the extra mile.

Personalizing your business strategy will help build trust and establish authentic customer relationships. Your prospects will view you as an authority in your industry and will be more likely to purchase your products and services. This sets up your B2B telemarketing strategy for success.    

Track Important Metrics

With any business strategy, it’s essential to track and measure key performance indicators. Keeping an eye on important telemarketing metrics lets you know how successful your efforts are.

Metrics you should be tracking include total leads generated, conversion rate, closed deals per SDR, and sales by territory. Telemarketing technology also allows you to track your connect rate and average call length.

Collect your data and create a weekly report. Your B2B telemarketing strategy should constantly be put under the microscope. Your key performance indicators will measure how well your campaign is performing.

Improve Your Process

Analyzing the above metrics will guide your strategy; they’ll let you know what’s working and what isn’t. You should constantly improve your process—always look for ways to optimize the sales process. For example, you might consider adopting a new call technology.

Whenever you make a change for optimization, always test and retest to see if the new strategy provides value. Don’t forget to consider your budget; improvements only make sense if your company can afford them.

B2B Telemarketing Best Practices to Keep in Mind

You should consider adopting several B2B telemarketing best practices into your strategy. We’ve listed four helpful tips below.

Know the Best Times to Call

The time that your sales reps and telemarketers call prospects can strongly impact your connect and conversion rates. If you call leads too early, you might disturb them while they’re sleeping, or they may have their phone on silent. If you call them too late, they might be busy running errands.

It’s generally good practice to call prospects during working hours. Any time between 9 AM and 5 PM works. The day of the week matters as well. It’s unlikely that your target audience wants to answer business-related calls on the weekend. Most people spend their weekends with family and friends and are busy with hobbies and recreational activities.

Only call prospects during the work week—Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. If possible, make the call on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Monday might be too early in the week—people may need time to tie up loose ends from the previous week. And Friday may be too late—many people are already focusing on wrapping up their workday before the weekend begins.

To summarize, it’s best to call prospects on weekdays between 9 AM and 5 PM.

Follow a Customized Script

Cold calling can be difficult. It takes a significant investment of time, and most calls end in rejection. It takes a resilient sales representative with a well-thought-out, customized script to get the job done. In fact, one of the keys to telemarketing success is a well-designed cold-calling script.

A customized cold-calling script can prepare your salespeople and telemarketers for various scenarios. It helps promote confidence, consistency, and productivity. Scripts also reduce mistakes and make it easier to train new telemarketing agents.

Be an Expert in Objection Handling

Your sales representatives and telemarketers should be experts in objection handling. Objections are when the prospect expresses why they don’t want to make a purchase or raises an issue with your product or service. A skilled telemarketer can overcome objections and alleviate concerns about the product. They know what to say to move the deal forward. 

Use the Right Tools

In today’s world, most marketing and sales decisions are data-driven. B2B telemarketing is no exception. If you want to generate many leads and close more deals, use high-quality tools.

Several types of tools can help your B2B telemarketing strategy succeed. A CRM platform can ensure lead information is regularly updated and available. Call center technology makes recording, measuring, and tracking call performance possible.

You should also consider using a B2B lead generation tool like UpLead. It can help you find high-intent leads to add to a target prospect list. The success of your telemarketing campaigns depends highly on good-quality leads. UpLead can help you find them.   

Use UpLead to Master B2B Telemarketing

The success of your B2B telemarketing strategy will largely depend on the quality of your leads. There’s no point in cold-calling companies and key decision-makers with no potential to become paying customers.

One of the best ways to find high-intent prospects is to use a B2B lead generation tool like UpLead

Uplead B2B Prospecting

UpLead is a cloud-based B2B lead generation platform that makes prospecting easy. It provides access to a large B2B contact database that customers can quickly sift through to find the best leads for their company.

The UpLead database features over 155 million B2B contacts with email addresses. Many of these contacts also have mobile and direct dial phone numbers. There are also 16+ million company profiles. Best of all, UpLead’s database guarantees 95% data accuracy.

UpLead has a powerful suite of features that can be used to explore the contact database. Over 50 search filters include demographic, firmographic, and technographic options.

For example, you can search based on company size, annual revenue, geographic location, and the technology stack used. UpLead tracks over 16,000 different technologies. You can also find key decision-makers thanks to the platform’s organizational charts.

If you’re considering running a B2B telemarketing campaign and want to start with high-quality leads, consider using UpLead today. 

FAQs About B2B Telemarketing

Is telemarketing for B2B or B2C?

Telemarketing is used for both B2B and B2C. Both have similar approaches but are geared toward different types of buyers. Business-to-consumer (B2C) telemarketing is designed to appeal to consumers. In contrast, business-to-business (B2B) telemarketing is often a more complex process since several decision-makers may be involved in the purchase. 

What are the types of telemarketing?

There are two general types of telemarketing: outbound and inbound. Outbound telemarketing is when you have a targeted prospect list, and your sales reps or telemarketers reach out to contacts. Inbound telemarketing is when a prospect calls you after developing an interest in your products and services. They may have visited your website or seen an advertisement and want their questions answered.

What are the three main types of B2B sales?

There are three main types of B2B sales: supply, wholesale, and service/software. 

What You Need to Remember About B2B Telemarketing

The marketing landscape has shifted dramatically over the last two decades. The internet, social media, and smartphones have changed how companies promote their products and services. Digital marketing strategies like SEO, PPC and display ads, social media marketing, and email marketing have become focal points.

Traditional marketing channels, such as print, TV, radio, and direct mail, have become less of a priority. However, for certain B2B industries, telemarketing still provides a strong return on investment. For many companies, it’s one of the best ways to reach key decision-makers and populate a sales pipeline with high-quality leads.

This article covered everything you need to know about B2B telemarketing in 2023. If utilized correctly, this marketing method can generate leads, increase brand awareness, and provide you with immediate feedback from your target audience. It’s also one of the most cost-effective strategies being used today. 

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