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  • Writer's pictureDavid Lester


The target is 50 sales leads a week, its Friday afternoon and the quota is short.

What should the tele-marketeer do .... speed up and make more calls or relax and be confident because the sales leads already made are gold quality?

Cold calling has been the mainstay of sales activities in many companies and the salesperson's best friend. But this best friend could be on a lonely path heading into the sunset. A new best friend in the shape of a shiny new digital marketing strategy could be taking their place and even threatening the salesperson's own role.

True things have been changing lately. It is undeniable that business people are finding unsolicited calls less and less welcome. And digital marketing has been making great strides across all our lives. Yet, the idea that 'digital' will swamp everything 'human', with 'bots' interacting with us using personalised communications doesn't sound entirely credible.

There does appears to be a lack of reliable market research on the effectiveness of digital marketing. Implisit (now owned by Salesforce) presents some interesting themes that seem to ring true:

B2B sales processes are complex, with myriad stakeholders and prolonged decision cycles. That’s why it’s hard to know what’s working and what’s not.

Implisit's research points to a very distinct pattern – higher conversions follow leads that have a higher level of engagement. Intuitively, this makes sense.

Barriers appear to be going up as a defence against unwanted contact. Callers are getting short shift. Helpful technology allows the screening of calls. Hitting the ‘unavailable’ button has never been more easy.

So where should the intrepid salesperson turn?

To three new best friends who work as a team. They can be headed Research, Engagement and Ready-To-Talk.

Prior research is more essential than ever. The proliferation of information online these days, without having to resort to subscription services, has made the process easier. Social media now includes navigation tools to run down job profiles. Knowing where to look helps.

Engagement starts with sharing interesting content, blogging, social media, emailing and tracking activity as many visiting here will know. Interesting too, that Google’s recent sales campaign was hitting small business with snail mail, which if nothing else elicits interest with their logo emblazoned on the envelope. All these tools need to be targeted to the profiles of prospects. And personalised where possible. Its unlikely to be achieved without a good modern CRM system.

Finally, the prospect should be ready to talk. The familiarity of your brand, your name and the value of the information shared should mean that the next step feels less like a cold call and more like a conversation the prospect is prepared to have.

And the question facing that tele-marketeer? Always settle for quality. 25 qualified leads has got to better than sending salespeople leads made in haste and possibly unqualified....just to meet a quota. Its the conversion to business target that matters.

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