Watching two full, back-to-back episodes of Nat Geo’s Doomsday Preppers got me thinking about the future (not really dystopia, though). If some people are willing to go to great lengths and make considerable sacrifices to prepare for some event (i.e., the end of the world as we know it) which has a very small chance of occurring within their lifetime, then I (at least) should prepare for something which has a far greater level of certainty to happen, like the changing landscape of B2B lead generation telemarketing.
Although you mostly see people making and publishing their “predictions” about anything at or near the end of the calendar year, I figured now is good a time as any to ponder on the current direction that telemarketing is taking and where it’s likely going to end up down the road. The below ideas are based on what most experts say about telemarketing today and tomorrow.
1. The Role of B2B Inside Sales. Folks at The Bridge Group, an inside sales think-tank, and other similar consulting organizations say telemarketing or other forms of phone-based prospecting activities will find their place in the greater scheme of things as a major contributing component of inside sales. As face-to-face engagements between reps and prospects diminish (but not disappear), phone-based interactions will play a key role in the sales process.
2. The Big Deal about Big Data.Smarter B2B telemarketing needs information – lots of it. As early as a couple of years ago, telemarketers have already made use of prospect behavioral data such as site pages viewed or resources downloaded as tools to better fine-tune their engagements and messages when phone-prospecting time arrives. Today, marketers need to tap into a wealth of information inside and outside the organization to strike more meaningful phone conversations.
3. Content-based Telemarketing. Let’s pick up where number 2 left off – conversations. As buyers take charge of what and where information gets delivered, traditional methods of phone messaging may become wholly inappropriate in many cases. Telemarketing agents come across a more diverse audience, oftentimes needing to screen multiple decision makers in the same company – each with his or her own needs, role, authority, etc. This clearly highlights the need to tailor content that’s relevant to each buyer persona in the decision-making hierarchy.
4. Rebalancing Inbound & Outbound. Organizations have to rethink how their inbound and outbound lead generation operations (regardless of whether in-house or outsourced) should be carried out. Just the other day, I came across a news article about a cloud-based tool that directly links inbound phone operations with other marketing areas to facilitate the free flow of information. The report cites this arrangement allowed inbound phone prospecting to greatly surpass outbound telemarketing results. While this may be the case, a complete inside sales team does need both components to function properly.
The world may or may not end tomorrow, but it certainly will change. In fact, it’s even changing as we speak. Cold calling is undergoing fundamental shifts as a response to the transformations that have gripped the marketing landscape. These changes are most likely here to stay, leaving you with no choice but to adapt or face certain extinction.