June 27, 2014 - There’s a sales axiom that we’ve always liked: People don’t like to be sold, they like to buy. This holds true for B2B lead generation and call center cold calling, too. Usually, the less aggressive, more consultative approach works.
One way to accomplish this is to frame up B2B lead generation campaigns as a customer survey or market research phone call, rather than a straight product sales pitch or appointment setting program. Cold callers contact managers at companies that vendor wants to target for sales, but rather than pushing a particular product, the telemarketer says:
“Hi, I’m calling on behalf of (NAME OF COMPANY) because we are conducting market research on the (TYPE OF MARKET). I’m wondering if you have a moment to talk about market trends and also about your upcoming equipment purchasing plans for next year?”
This approach overcomes the natural resistance many managers have to being cold called. Instead, an appeal is made for their intentions and insights. After all, most of us want to “show what you know.”
When the person agrees to be interviewed, it’s important to begin the line of questioning with a preamble demonstrating understanding of the market or industry involved, that touches on one or two major trends, asks for validation of those trends and then asks about upcoming purchasing intentions.
It’s also important to, if possible, to gain information about the size of the organization, key decision makers who work there, the appropriate contact person and the email addresses and phone numbers of each person involved.
In addition to identifying potential buyers, the call should be designed to gain market insight about perceptions of leading vendors, about major needs (i.e., “pain points”) and other trends driving the market that can than can be invaluable for product planning and overall vendor market strategy.
If the company identifies itself as a potential buyer, the caller should gather as much detail as possible about the equipment to be purchased and specifications regarding its intended use. After doing so, the cold caller should then ask if the company would like to receive product information and be contacted by a product specialist to discuss the company’s need.
Another benefit of this type of campaign is to identify unhappy customers of competing vendors, who would be naturally open to switching product suppliers. It can also uncover unhappy customer or of the vendor on whose behalf the call is being made. Those customers may be more comfortable discussing their problems with the person making the customer survey call, rather than the vendor itself. In this way, customer problems can be addressed and loyalty retained.
A lead generation campaign of this kind generates value in a number of ways. Even if, in the end, the person being called does not want to hear from a salesperson, plenty of important information has been gathered that adds to understanding of the market, perceptions of vendors, desired future product capabilities and general buying trends.
Mark Fichera, CEO