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What's Involved in Planning Your Telephone Prospecting Campaign?

Jul 28, 2008
In July we talked about 7 critical planning questions to create an effective B2B cold calling campaign.

Planning can turn a haphazard cold calling effort into a successful, methodical prospecting approach. Here are 4 more planning questions, and the answers we can provide, based on our actual experience making business to business calls for our clients all day long! 1. What's the difference between a long term prospecting program and a cold calling blitz? A cold calling blitz is based on three assumptions: 1) You have a sizable calling list and; 2) Your product or service is quickly understood by prospects and; 3) Enough prospects will respond to a single prospecting call, at the exact time you call, to earn the required return on your calling investment.

Many clients find this an effective way to boost prospecting efforts in the short run.

Examples where this kind of calling works best include: vending machines and commercial cleaning services.

In contrast, a long term prospecting program is based on any one of these three assumptions: 1) Your product or service can't be communicated in five words; 2) This service is something purchased infrequently or where prospects do not readily switch vendors; 3) Your calling list is targeted and possibly finite.

Long term prospecting programs are typically best for high margin products or services where a small number of sales will produce a return on the investment in your prospecting program.

Examples might include: enterprise-wide software and health or 401K brokerage services.

2. How do you create a long term prospecting program? Keys to a long term prospecting campaign are: 1) Repeated contact over a long period of time; 2) Hiring callers with relationship building capabilities; 3) Ability to refer to notes from prior contacts; 4) Greater interest in building relationships than in making immediate sales.

Set your callers up to make repeat calls at intervals per each prospect's needs. This may be a contact each month or ongoing contacts over years. Provide callers with the ability to capture and keep notes on previous conversations. Reward callers for learning more information about prospects' needs over time. Hire callers who have the ability to engage in conversations over the phone and create relationships.

Then, when a prospect indicates an interest in your product or service, make sure your response is exceptional - to close the sale. 3. What kind of response should I expect? In our experience, there is no single answer to this question. The answer depends highly on whether your calling program is a cold calling blitz, or whether it's a longer term prospecting program. And, it depends on your specific product or service. For example, if you're offering a free consultation, your response might be higher. If you are promoting a high priced service, the response will be much lower. Of course, the prospect list is critical to the success of the campaign, as we have indicated in previously issues of the Business Builder.

We've seen response rates vary from 16%* for advertising firms to 3.5%* for accounting services.

*Responses include requests for more information.

4. How do I select a calling team? The personality of your team must reflect your company's image in the marketplace. Business to business calls require a unique kind of caller, regardless of whether you're planning a cold calling blitz or a long term calling program.

Look for individuals who: 1. Most importantly, are professional and speak proper English. 2. Can engage in conversation, ask questions and make the prospect feel as though he or she is the ONLY person being called that day. 3. Are persistent, have thick skin, and are driven to achieve prospecting success. 4. Work as a team to help each other, so that overall results are the best they can be. 5. Can articulate complex ideas succinctly.
About the Author
Visit Valerie Schlitt's site for information on business to business prospecting and telemarketing programs.
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