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Monday, March 21, 2011

If you read the IDM's latest Barometer Report you've be forgiven for thinking that telemarketing had been dropped completely as a B2B marketing tactic.

Going through the 30-page report there's not one mention of telemarketing, a proven corner-stone tactic for every b2b marketing organisation.

Why the omission? Has it really been dropped completely or is this just another example of telemarketing being B2B's Dirty Little Secret.

Considering the report cites "lead generation" as the top issue (25% of respondents) for B2B client-side marketers it seems unbelievable that telemarketing isn't mentioned.

No doubt it's just been lumped in with other direct marketing tactics.

Of the agencies involved in the report a whopping 59% were either described as "integrated marketing" or "direct marketing". Hmmm, you're not telling me that they've completely chopped telemarketing out of their service mix are you?

To me, this is another example of how telemarketing just doesn't cut it with the B2B media.

Sure, it's not sexy and it doesn't win awards. But, as proven tactic to reach targeted prospects it still remains a key part of any B2B marketer's plan.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 2:18 pm |  0 comments  | Links to this post  

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I suppose it was only a matter of time.

I noticed today a Twitter Sales Lead Tool which searches tweets for keywords relative to your business. It seems to filter tweets based on intent words (such as "need" or "looking for") and then delivers you a list of sales-ready leads which you can communicate directly with via the tool.

All very neat stuff.

It's something you can already do manually with a search string or advance search form and then saving the search. But, the search tool is free and looks to make organising the results easier so maybe it's worth a punt.

However, my real question is whether you really can get sales ready leads off twitter.

You see, as I've posted before Are social networks just a waste of time for B2B lead generation?, I wonder whether they really generate qualified sales leads or just a lot of time wasting noise.

Let's take our business as an example.

I'm looking for prospects who want telemarketing, right? (Well, not exactly, but lets follow this route). If I run a search on twitter for "telemarketing" I get a whole mixed bag a people complaining about telemarketing, looking for a telemarketing job, people looking for hire someone for a telemarketing job, it goes on.

OK, so I filter it by using a search string to remove the word "job" and to only look for people asking a question. What do I get? Well, in this instance, just one tweet and it's someone looking to hire someone.

But let's assume I actually get more. What next?

Well, for it to a qualified "sales-ready" lead I need to tick a few boxes. Basic stuff like budget, target market, timescales, etc. Whatever the filters are that you need to decide whether it's a qualified lead.

My point is that, when you really drill into these things, for b2b lead generation twitter doesn't seem to deliver. Of course, if you're selling something that has less qualification criteria and/or a large universe of people looking, then it could be a goldmine.

But for my business (and for pretty much all of my clients) I don't think so.

The more I look, the more I see that most of the buzz comes from people selling training or tools to use social media for lead generation. Everyone's jumped on the Sales 2.0 bandwagon and are making hay.

Don't get me wrong, social networking platforms can be useful for sales lead generation. Identifying and researching prospects are two key areas where we use them every day.

And, I don't rule out that as they develop and adoption grows within business, we won't find serious buyers tweeting their intent or starting discussions on LinkedIn groups whereas they used to wander around an exhibition hall looking for solutions.

But right now, for b2b sales lead generation, I think you're still better off investing your time, money and energy in more proven tactics.

Bottom line is that we're interested in delivering results. Whilst it might be sexy to talk with clients about social media the reality is that we can't guarantee it'll deliver qualified sales-ready opportunities.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 1:29 pm |  0 comments  | Links to this post  

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Just when you thought the hype around social media couldn't get any bigger, there's seems to be a revived interest in that old-school approach - the cold call.

If you look at this poll on LinkedIn, Is Cold calling Dead, you'll see (at the time of this blog) that 64% of 352 respondents answered "No (Have No Plans to Change)".

Only 6% have moved totally to social media and a further 14% say Yes, they have stopped or will stop soon. The rest are somewhat on the shelf.

Even more interesting than that are the comments.

One after another, business owners, sales people and business development executives are confirming that cold calling is still alive and kicking.

You won't see that said in much of the B2B marketing media.

Also, people are confirming that they use social media to enhance their cold calling.

Whilst picking up that phone may be old school the approach has changed. Researching targets online before engaging (something that we always recommend) leads to a more intelligent approach and, ultimately, higher conversion rates.

If you read between the lines in the comments you'll find that many of those people who think it is dead are probably justifying the fact that they hate cold calling. Or they're selling "social media" as the new magic bullet.

Truth is, cold calling still works, but it needs a more intelligent approach.

Which is where we come in, I guess.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 3:26 pm |  0 comments  | Links to this post  

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