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Friday, February 06, 2009

I always advocate considering telemarketing as a long-term marketing tactic.

Of course, it's true that telemarketing can deliver immediate results; if you've targeted well and have a killer proposition then you can land a whale on the first day. We all get lucky!

However, the reality is that it takes some time to get a campaign up-and-running and delivering results consistently.

And here's a fact that very few people consider:

Once you've built a qualified database of prospects that have been called, sent info and further qualified (which could be 2 or 3 months into a campaign) your strike-rate improves by at least 100% when compared with the start of your campaign.

That's right, the longer you keep a telemarketing campaign running the more effective it is.

Now, whilst this may be an overlooked aspect of telemarketing campaigns it's hardly rocket-science. Here's why it works this way:

At the start of a campaign you're calling everyone on a list. As you progress you filter the list based on the level of interest each prospect has. At the same time, you remove the bad data (contacts who have moved away, etc) and the people who are just not interested at all. So, after a while, you end up with a much more targeted list of people with at least some level of qualified interest.

Now, one thing that will remain pretty constant is what we call the "pitch rate", also referred to as the # of DMC's (Decision Maker Contacts). That's the number of decision makers you speak to in a given length of time (we measure it per day). Each industry sector, type of business and level of authority will have it's own pitch-rate. It remains constant because you're still calling the same people.

But, if the pitch-rate is constant but you're now calling a more qualified list, your strike rate will go up.

If your list initially has 50% "interested" prospects (ranging from mildly interested to hot-to-meet-you-now interested) and you pitch 20 decision makers a day then only 10 are going to be interested, right? (50% of 20 pitches, stay with me).

Once you've qualified your list, you're still pitching 20 a day but now 100% are interested, making you twice as effective as before.

We advise clients to think of two distinct phases of a campaign.

The initial phase is what we call the "build" phase. This is where we're least efficient as we're filtering and qualifying as we go. It's often best to have a higher level of resourcing (subject to budget) at this stage to get traction faster.

Once we've qualified much of the list, and determined the most appropriate contact frequency for each classification of lead, we're left with a much tighter database of prospects.

This is when we move onto our "maintenance" phase.

The resourcing level for this phase can be half or even a third of the build phase. Some of the leads with lower levels of interest may only require a call every 90 days, backed up with regular email marketing. However, because we're now more effective at this stage, we can produce the same results as we did in the build phase.

In the maintenance phase the ROI is at least double that of the build phase.

To me, when a company stops a telemarketing campaign at the end of the build phase it's a criminal waste of money. All that hard work in qualifying the database is just thrown away and, without nurturing those lower level leads, they'll just go cold (or go to your competitors).

As I said at the start, telemarketing can deliver short-term results but that really is the tip of the iceberg.

If you invest in telemarketing over the long-term you'll start to build a process that delivers a steady flow of new business opportunities with an outstanding ROI.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 7:41 am |   | Links to this post  

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