If you’re planning to start telemarketing to help generate leads for your business, there are a few things you’ll need to know before you start your project. You need to know these whether you’re working with a telemarketing agency, or you’re planning to run your campaigns in-house.

You can use this information to brief your telemarketers, to help them generate the best results for your business.

Your audience and their personas.

This one sounds pretty obvious – of course you’re going to need to know who you’re getting in touch with. But you’d be surprised at how many businesses consider their audience to be “everyone” or even “everyone in a specific industry”.

The thing is, even if your product or service is technically applicable to everyone in that industry, you won’t get very far without knowing a little bit more about them. If you reach out to an IT Director in the exact same way you reach out to an Operations Manager, you won’t have a targeted enough approach to get good results.

Split your audience into the specific people within the industry that will actually buy or use what you’re selling. Understand them – what do they care about? What are they concerned about? What specific problems do they have that your product or service can solve?

Your message.

Once you know your personas – you should have more than one, by the way, 3-10 is a good benchmark – then you can start to understand how your messaging should be customised to each one.

You might have an overall message, but you need to tailor it to your different personas – because they all have different needs and priorities.

If you’re working with an outsourced telemarketing provider, then you might be able to get some help with this stage, but you’ll still need to understand what you need to say to different segments of your audience – you’re the expert, after all.

What you consider a lead.

This is a really important point. If you think of a lead as someone who’s ready to buy within a few days, you’ll have a smaller market than if you think of them as someone who is interested in hearing more about your company, and may have need of your services (but not necessarily instantly).

Depending on the size of your market, this comes into play much more strongly. If you have a small market and you’re looking for hot leads that’re ready to buy, it’ll take more calls and more time to generate a lead. If you look at a lead as someone you can nurture through sales and marketing activities, then you can start to build a database of prospects who aren’t ready now but could be highly valuable in the future.

If you consider anyone who doesn’t immediately say no to be a lead, you’ll have many more leads, but the lead quality will be much lower. This means that your sales team will spend a lot longer trying to get through the list to find deals that have a chance of closing. Ideally, you want your telemarketing activities to include some level of lead qualification, so that you’re not wasting time on ‘leads’ that will never go anywhere.

How much you’re willing to pay for a lead.

When you’re investing in any kind of lead generation activity – whether through paying for an outsourced provider, or using time from your existing resources – you need to know how much that investment is and how much return it has generated.

Essentially, when you get a lead, you need to know what that lead cost you. If you spend £2,000 on lead gen and you get 20 leads, you know that each lead cost £100. The question then is whether that’s a good price for your business.

You need to know your conversion rate from lead to customer – let’s say that’s 50%. So, for every two leads, you get one customer, meaning your cost per customer is £200.

If your customer cost £200 and you charge £200 for your product, then it’s not a great return (when you factor in your profit margin, you’re losing money). If your service costs £10,000 a time, then that £200 is a fantastic investment.

Track back and see how much it makes sense for you to pay for a lead.

How you’ll nurture your leads.

You’ve generated leads – some ready to buy, some a little way away – and now you have to figure out what to do with them. The hottest leads go direct to the sales team, but what do you do with those that aren’t ready just yet?

Will you use email marketing to keep in touch with them and keep your business at the front of their mind when they are ready? You might have different email strategies depending on how far away they are from buying. You’ll need to think about the types of content you’ll be sending – anything too salesy won’t be popular if they’re a long way from buying, but industry news and useful resources will give them a reason to keep opening those emails.

How often will you call and check in with those longer-term prospects? How can you remind them you exist without annoying them? You need a plan to follow up on cooler leads so that every lead your telemarketing generated, no matter how warm, is adding value to your business.

Be ready.

Starting a telemarketing campaign is an exciting time – leads are going to be coming through and you have more opportunities to build your business.

If you’d like some help preparing, or you’re looking for a provider that can fetch those leads for you, get in touch.

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