What places does B2B telemarketing have in a connected world?
Surely B2B email marketing, B2B telesales, and B2B postal marketing have had their day?
This is the genuinely held belief of many company owners and marketers, but others argue very differently. In the way that the internet was supposed to replace newspapers, they never did. What actually happened was that printed and online newspapers found a way to coexist and some marketers argue that traditional direct marketing and online marketing, when done in tandem, accommodate each other just as well.
But is this true? Let’s look at what the statistics tell us.
High levels of caution among business buyers
B2B buyers are far more cautious than their B2C counterparts. For a start, there will be little or no personal satisfaction derived from the purchase, not like they would derive if they bought a new car or installed a new kitchen in their home.
B2B buyers have to weigh up in great detail the advantages and disadvantages of a product or service they’re considering purchasing for their company. The level of consideration needed increases the higher the item is priced or the more critical it is to their business operating profitably, legally, and efficiently. A wrong decision could close a company.
The Internet is the greatest pooling of human knowledge and information in history and B2B buyers now often rigorously search for information and for answers to their questions online before they get in touch with a potential supplier.
To accommodate this change in behavior, companies now invest in content marketing – the creation of blogs, articles, e-books, white papers, and so on designed to be found at particular points of the buying journey to persuade and convince a buyer that their solution is the right one.
The concept of marketing touches
There are three stages to the average B2B buying journey – awareness, interest, and decision – and companies create content for each of these stages.
At the awareness stage, a B2B buyer is aware of a potential problem with their business. Unlocking that problem would present new opportunities for growth for the business but the B2B buyer has realized that they will need help to do so. At this point, they’re searching broadly for information on suitable products and services as well as potential suppliers.
At the interest stage, they have a much stronger idea in their mind about the products and services they’re most likely to buy and from whom. The types of questions they’re asking at this stage are far more detailed and often involve comparing products, services, and suppliers against each other.
At the decision stage, they now have a shortlist, and this is the time at which they’ll get in touch with your sales reps to open a conversation.
Mirroring the level of caution among B2B buyers is the number of times you have to actually speak to and been seen by them on their buyer journey. Some B2B marketing experts suggest that the number of “marketing touches” you make before someone is ready to make an inquiry is up to thirteen.
It might take a few months or even a year for a buyer to see your content up to 13 times and to reach the endpoint of their buying journey. Of course, during that time, a B2B buyer is also exposed to the content of your competitors all of whom are trying to make equally compelling cases to buy from them instead.
Investing in content marketing leads to a 6,800% jump in web traffic and trebles the number of leads coming from your website. So, it definitely does work.
Taking control back of your marketing
If despite those results, content marketing sounds a little bit passive to you and a little bit like you’re giving the customer too much control over the journey, you’re not alone.
Clare Tweed, sales director of UK-based marketing consultancy More Than Words, agrees.
“Getting up to 13 marketing touches before an inquiry takes place sounds about right because, no matter how well written online content is, it can only push someone a short distance along their buying journey.
“Companies are realizing this. And, as a result, some of our clients who have the most amazing content marketing strategies are now backing them up with B2B telemarketing.
“Cold calling starts a two-way conversation and a personal relationship. B2B telemarketing warms a prospect up so that we can either book an appointment for our client to visit them (or video call them) or we can pass on the lead to our client’s sales teams.
“Better still, when we’re on the phone building those relationships, we can find out how far in the future they’re considering making a purchase so that our client can build a sales pipeline. There are lots of things content marketing can do which telemarketing can’t but that works the other way around too.”
Statistics seem to back this up too. 71% of B2B buyers say they want to hear from a sales rep in the early awareness phase – they want you to help solve their problem rather than having to do it themselves. And 60% of decision-makers say they value the information they receive from sales reps’ phone calls.
A human start to usher in a digital relationship
This marrying of traditional direct marketing and online marketing is likely to have other spin-off benefits too.
The first sale is always the hardest. But, over time as trust and build grow from the client to the supplier, the likelihood of repeat business grows.
If your website is set up to take orders from B2B clients, 32% of clients are now willing to spend up to £360,000 through digital self-service portals and as a result of remote human interactions for any new product or service you bring to market.