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Monday, November 24, 2008

I was chatting about this with one of my associates recently (an experienced telemarketer who's made 1000's of pitches over her career) and we were discussing the process of refining a pitch. It was apparent to me that in the business-to-business (B2B) space, telemarketing is much more of an art than a science.

Here's why I say that.

Direct marketing has always included both a creative element (such as writing copy) and then a science element (metrics, split testing, etc). These things go hand-in-hand because a minor change to the copy, when tested properly, can show a huge uplift in results.

That's why I've always thought of myself as a direct-marketer (coming from a sales background initially) as I'm always focused on results.

Anyway, the same is true for telemarketing but here's the difference: in B2C direct marketing campaigns, the volumes are such that tactics like segmentation, split testing, etc can be applied. For example, if you're sending out 500,000 direct mail pieces (or emails, or whatever) then you can test 1,000 on two different versions to find the one which makes a difference. A 1% uplift can make a huge impact to the overall campaign ROI.

However, in business-to-business telemarketing, and particularly high-end B2B telemarketing, these numbers really don't make sense.

For many clients, we may work on a campaign targeting a few hundred companies. When you really target your sweet-spot, for most small businesses, this is normal. When you are faced with a very small segment, it's not as easy to see statistically relevant results from making discrete changes.

Plus, add to this the human element. That is, even with a script (if you use such things, we don't) the message isn't delivered exactly the same way every time - even using the same telemarketer. So many variables come into play that it's impossible to determine which one made the difference.

Hence, it's an art, and one which is best practised by experienced people who have learned their craft by making thousands of pitches.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 8:56 am |   | Links to this post  

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