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All Leads are equal, but some more equal than others…

When considering whether to embark on a telemarketing campaign, most companies’ first question is likely to be “what can they do that we can’t?” After all, your marketing manager is more than capable of picking up a phone and speaking positively about your service or product. Where telemarketing agencies come in is numbers.

Tim Newman, Telemarketing Specialist

The Telemarketing Company

As an example, here at The Telemarketing Company, we make around 2 million telephone calls a year, totalling more than 32,000 hours of call time. Since January, we’ve already made more than 500,000 calls to client prospects. But there’s more to consider here than impressively large numbers.

The Numbers

Once you’ve decided to run a telemarketing campaign your next challenge is to choose which agency you’re going to use. The options are verging on endless and you can find yourself wandering bewildered through an army of marketing agencies, all brandishing their shiny scripts and recently sharpened headsets.

Pay Per Hour vs. Pay Per Lead

Of the myriad of decisions you will have to make, one of them is sure to be regarding price. At the end of the day, you’re probably getting involved in telemarketing to increase profitability, so the fee you pay the telemarketing agency is bound to be a concern. Whilst considering the cost of such an operation the old ‘Pay Per Hour vs. Pay Per Lead’ dilemma is bound to rear its ugly head.

The Pay Per Lead model may seem like a foolproof way to ensure ROI but be wary, as the old adage says, ‘you get what you pay for’. Despite what some agencies might say, one lead is not necessarily the same as all the other leads. Quality and quantity can be very distant cousins in the marketing world. It’s important to get a clear picture of what you are expecting, and what it is realistic to expect from your specific campaign, before wading wholeheartedly into the mire.

The type of product or service you are promoting will alter the number of leads you get from your lead generation effort. It makes good sense that setting appointments to discuss a large (and consequently highly priced) item will be tougher than booking in a phone call to chat about something smaller with less of an initial outlay. At the same time, a company with a household name will find it easier to open the door compared to a company whose name does not yet resonate with the person we are contacting.

The level of decision maker you choose to target will also make a big difference; CEOs are a lot less likely to take an unexpected call than an Events Manager, and an IT Director, whose function attracts high numbers of sales calls, is much more likely to have tenacious gatekeepers to get you off the line.

What Is A Lead?

Another facet to consider is the type of outcome you are expecting, this will make a huge difference to the number of leads you will eventually see popping through from the telemarketers.

Maybe a successful outcome for you would be the opportunity to speak to a prospective client at a defined date and time over the phone, or face to face. Perhaps all you need is a specific set of information to be sent to the appropriate decision maker’s personal email. Maybe you are looking for attendees at a conference or a webinar. All outcomes have their own nuances, and when these differing outcomes mix with different business sectors, a variety of levels of seniority, not to mention BANT/other qualification criteria, it becomes clear that a lead is not a lead is not a lead.

Some Numbers

Of course, every company and proposition is different, so every campaign is different, but to illustrate my point take a look at the graph below. It showcases six examples of recent 'lead' generation campaigns we have conducted:

Easily Chart

 

The orange bars represent the number of calling hours it took to generate a single lead. The campaign on behalf of the IT consultancy took a whopping 26 hours to generate each face-to-face appointment. Rather than this being an awful result for the company, they continue to use us to this day; a single meeting for them can potentially generate lucrative, long-term contracts.

The blue blocks show how the level of decision maker, size of organisation, specific sector we are targeting affects the average number of contacts we are likely to reach per hour of dialling. As you can see, the campaign targeting land owners hit the most decision makers each hour; this was partly because mobile numbers were supplied in the data.

IT Directors and Facilities Managers were by far the hardest to track down (less than one an hour), but for different reasons. Facilities Managers are often called to different parts of the building to fix or attend to various issues, whereas IT Directors are in perpetual meetings and reception staff/gatekeepers are often very protective of their time.

The examples above are just that, but they serve their purpose. Telemarketing in its most basic terms is phoning people to discuss your wares, but around this there are is a great deal of variation. And, an impressive battalion of large numbers.

If you are considering embarking on a telemarketing project currently, or beginning to think in those terms, remember: not all leads are equal...

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