With Data Advances, Telemarketing Increases Its Effectiveness

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Sometimes I actually miss talking on the phone. I still do with my brother in New Jersey and for interviews, but that may be it. Between texting, email, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc., you can almost forget Alexander Graham Bell’s original purpose. And I don’t think I’m alone.

oilcommTelemarketing can be easy to forget as well, but it still can be very effective.Lindsey Fuller, show director for Access Intelligence, enjoyed a huge success last year for a dedicated and personalized telemarketing initiative for OilComm 2014. It was the first time in the conference’s history that it included a telemarketing campaign.

“This effort brought in 44 paid registrations, representing 4% of total OilComm registrations and 13% of the revenue,” Fuller wrote. “It tied with email marketing to bring in the most conference registrations.  It was also one of the top three sources of delegate revenue.”

Fuller hired a dedicated sales rep to call their best prospects. “Calls were very personalized, particularly when it came to alumni. Details of their attendance and registration history were brought up during the pitch. Individuals that were not ready to book at the time of the initial call were sent a personal follow-up email, mentioning details of the conversation and with a promise to follow up at the pre-arranged time.”

In the SIPA world, my go-to for telemarketing questions is QCSS. They’ve been doing this successfully for many years and will have a sponsor table at BIMS where you can learn more about their successful techniques.

CathyK“We have an extensive onboarding and training process,” Catherine Karabetsos,president/CEO of the much-lauded company, wrote me this week when I asked her about the impact of data and personalization. (She is pictured here with daughter Christina, director of client communications.) “…This process requires a bit more leg work from our clients up front, but ensures that we are able to deliver a high quality, tailored program that meets our client’s needs.”

She said a big part of this process now is “identifying data points for each prospect or customer we are calling that will be useful during our sales calls. The more data our clients can provide us, the better! We then teach our agents how to leverage each data point during their calls. This not only allows our sales professionals to have more targeted, relevant conversations, but it also helps us to remain that seamless extension of our client’s internal teams.”

I recall a study reporting that sales phone calls made a half hour after corresponding emails went out did much better than calls later on. QCSS has had success with the reverse. Karabetsos said that they create, with their clients’ help, “marketing copy that can be used as follow up to our phone calls. We will typically have a unique promo code affiliated with the emails our sales teams send out to help track revenue. Our goal is to never leave a prospect without a call to action in front of them!”

Access had their rep start OilComm 2014 calls by playing off of what the prospects did last year. If they attended, they were offered a 15% discount for booking over the phone. If they didn’t attend, they were asked if they will join colleagues this year. And if the information on that prospect is not good, they would simply ask if they could sign her or him up—or at least gather the information.

Karabetsos sent one example of a subscriber/member-oriented call that seems right on point: “Hi (name)…thanks so much for becoming a member of x,y,z this month. We’re thrilled to have you as a member! I did want to reach out personally to welcome you – I also noticed you hadn’t logged into the member portal since (date) and I wanted to make sure you were able to sign in!”

So it’s not, “where have you been?” but more, “maybe our process is confusing, can we help you with it?” For event building, she has her reps start with this: “I know you’ve really enjoyed attending x,y,z event, but you didn’t attend last year. I wanted to reach out early this year. We’d love to have you join us again!”

No matter the approach, some customers—like me, swamped in email—may welcome a call or two now and then.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…