B-to-B: You Make the Call
So conduct your positioning deliberately. When using the phone as a touchpoint with a prospect or customer, the premise of the call is to find out, by asking, what he or she is doing or considering that might make what you sell viable and desirable. The reason for your call is specific and linked to an action the prospect or customer took. For example, your reason for making contact could be expressed when your caller says, "You recently attended our webinar, and I'm calling to see if you have any questions."
Within your company, position the phone team physically - and on the organization chart - within marketing or sales, not operations or administration. Grant your callers full membership in your corporate business community, and run telemarketing as a genuine profit-and-loss center.
Location, Staffing and Operations
Where should you conduct your phone efforts? Field sales offices? That's not the best idea; almost always, the callers will be perceived and/or used as administrative assistants for the field reps. What about a neutral, low-cost or regional call center? This is a possibility, as long as you can assure technical and business continuity with your marketing and sales operations elsewhere. Most often, the best choice is to conduct your telemarketing efforts at your headquarters. You are near everything and are highly visible.
Finding, luring and landing competent, energetic callers is very hard. Don't try to find new callers in the same old places or in consumer "telemarketing" centers. Instead, recruit from travel and hospitality, health care, and journalism - industries where questioning, listening and conversational skills are required for success.
For some businesses, questions arise about what phone initiatives to conduct in-house and what to outsource. Here are the strategic guidelines to help you choose:
» Full account management
» Collaboration (team selling)
» Proprietary information for which you require nondisclosure
» Customers demand substantive business and financial content and/or technical capability