How to Evaluate a B2B Telemarketing Vendor

Imagine your company was suffering from a lack of sales appointments and your sales people were unproductive. It would be easy to overreact and look for a B2B telemarketing vendor that could solve the problem immediately.

However, you’re better off pausing to evaluate the situation holistically rather than rushing to find a one-time fix. That’s because your company may have several needs that a B2B telemarketing vendor can fulfill. So it pays to take the time to unearth a company that can take care of all your requirements and, thus, become your long-term sales and marketing partner. Here’s how to do that.

Assess Your Needs

Bring together stakeholders from sales and marketing to discuss what they need today and could require tomorrow. To help you, here’s a list of services a B2B telemarketing vendor may provide. Sales and marketing leaders might be unaware of many of these offerings and, thus, may fail to ask for them.

  • Lead generation, inside sales or account-based marketing and sales via cold calls and phone follow-ups to email and direct mail campaigns
  • Lead qualification services which help you to determine which of your leads are sales-ready, meaning they need your services, a timeframe to buy, a budget to make the purchase and the authority to make the decision
  • Setting sales appointments to free up your salespeople so they can spend more time in front of key decision-makers
  • Response management to help you gain the edge by responding to Internet leads rapidly
  • Event recruitment and follow up, which enables you to achieve optimal results from your investment in trade shows and other events
  • Channel partner strategy and development, which allows you to develop new business in geographic regions and industries in which you may not have the resources or knowledge to compete without a partner
  • Win-loss analysis to discover why you lost or landed a deal, helping you to refine your sales and marketing methodologies as well as products and pricing
  • Lead nurturing using multi-touch campaigns that include the human touch of phone conversations
  • Account profiling that provides accurate information on target accounts, including the people in decision-making roles as well as insights that can assist you in closing the sale. Developing account profiles is an essential foundation for account-based marketing and sales.
  • Global account management, including tier one and two accounts, which many customers now deem mandatory. Enterprises that can manage global business have a competitive advantage over smaller companies that focus on a narrower geographic region.
  • List development and cleansing services which is essential to transform an aging database into one full of all the right people to reach out to along their contact information
  • Call center consulting that gives you the inside tips on how to create a call center or reshape an existing one should you decide to do some or all of your phone work internally
  • Sales call and email cadence management to help increase response rates
  • Lead management services that define how your company will work with leads from how you generate them to closing a sale
  • Content creation to attract leads and answer prospects’ questions, moving them through the buying cycle faster and more successfully
  • Marketing automation consulting and management that can assist you in finding the right solution and maximizing your return on investment

In addition to services offered, you’ll need to know other criteria your sales and marketing team wants to see in a B2B telemarketing partner. For instance, ask them:

  • Do we need to have agents who work only for our company?
  • Are there requirements for multi-language services?
  • Will we do better with scripted or non-scripted calling?
  • How much product and market training will telemarketing agents need to speak intelligently about our solutions or products?
  • Do we want a telemarketing vendor that has prior experience in our industry?
  • Besides the phone, what other technologies do we need? For example, would it be advantageous to incorporate online chat technology into our website?

Once you have generated a list of all the services your company needs plus other criteria, you can search for B2B telemarketing vendors who fit the bill. To find them, you can ask for referrals or do a web search.

Interview Potential Partners

Now it’s time to winnow down your list of telemarketing vendors to the one that’s just right for you. To do so, call prospective partners. How they handle you over the phone is your first indication of how they might work with your prospects and clients. Do they listen to you and understand your needs or are they too busy selling their wares? During the conversation, are they asking qualifying questions?

Of course, when you talk with the company’s representative, you need to ask questions specific to the requirements you’ve developed. Make sure they can speak intelligently and insightfully about all the services you will require. Also, find out about their agents’ backgrounds, the training they provide, the technology they use to assist them, their measuring systems and their quality control procedures.

Finally, find out about the vendors’ investments in infrastructure. After all, if they have the up-to-date tools, they are more likely to be efficient and produce the results you seek. What type of reporting and analytics do they use? Do they use VOIP, automatic dialers, integrated voice mail drop software, CRM, email tracking, calendar scheduling, and other sales technologies?

If you’re satisfied that a B2B telemarketing vendor is in the running, request references and talk to them.

Request a Proposal

After talking with a few B2B telemarketing vendors, you likely have a short list that you want to pursue further. Send those a request for proposal. When you review it, do not look at price alone. What’s more important is value. What will they offer you? Does their proposal exhibit professionalism and expertise?

Finally, does your sales and marketing team feel comfortable that the B2B telemarketing vendor can meet their needs and work with them as a trusted partner?

Taking the time to do an internal needs assessment, checking it against telemarketing vendors’ capabilities and asking for input from the sales and marketing team on final choices can set you up for a productive long-term relationship with a telemarketing firm.