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Cold Calling vs.Telemarketing, And How They Can Impact Your Business

Aug 30, 2008
What really is the difference between B2B Cold Calling and Traditional Telemarketing, anyway? In truth, the basic fundamentals are identical. But, there are certainly differences.

Clients who hire VSA or create their own internal VSA-type B2B cold calling teams want a prospecting arm - a group who finds potential gems in a pile of names and gives these potential gems to someone who will close the sale. Typically, clients who hire a traditional telemarketing firm are looking for a sales arm - a group who finds new clients and sells them directly over the phone, eliminating the extra step of using a sales person.

There is a need for both kinds of calling, but the two categories do not have identical skills, processes or technology. I am intent on defining the difference between the two categories because l want to help our readers find the calling team that best fits their companies' needs.

Similarities: There are tremendous similarities between VSA-type Cold Calling programs and the kind of telemarketing calls you receive at work (from a long distance company) or at dinner (from your local newspaper). Ability to get on the phone with complete strangers and talk! Hours and hours of telephone calls to find individuals who are interested in your product or service.

Belief that your product or service can truly help your prospect. Thick skin and ability to take rejection. Telephone sales skills to keep someone on the phone long enough.

Ability to overcome specific objections. Endurance, knowing when someone is interested and moving them into the next phase of the sales process Tracking results of each call. Make modifications during the program, as needed to ensure success.

Differences: The differences are subtle, but they are critical. Many firms who perform traditional telemarketing work also perform VSA-type B2B Cold Calling programs.

Represent complex products or services, which require sophistication to explain quickly over the phone, and a sales person to truly close the sale. Typically call for high-margin or repeat-purchase products or services. Never read from a script, even when answering objections.

Ask open ended questions. Become knowledgeable about the product or service to answer simple questions and sound as though you're sitting right in your client's office. "Navigate" a prospective company's calling system to find the right decision maker - normally this means not using an automatic dialer because callers might make 3 dials for every record to find your decision maker.

Update your record with the correct decision maker. Excellent notes so the next time you (or a colleague) call(s) the company you can reference previous conversations. Lead an interested prospect to a sales appointment - at some future date - and keep the sales momentum! Get off the phone as soon as you sense there is no need or no interest. This might be after one objection. Do not call a prospect again (by you or a colleague) - EVER - if he or she asks to be removed from future calls.

Never jeopardize your client's reputation by being perceived as a pest. Don't sell over the phone, only identify potential sales/leads. Your job is to know enough not to be dangerous, since products or services are typically quite complex and require a sales person to close the sale. The program's overall success depends delivering qualified leads AND on the sales person's ability to close your appointments. Making a lot of appointments is NOT ENOUGH!!

This list can help any company identify the technical capabilities, caller-skills, and process requirements to make a phone campaign successful. VSA is happy to answer questions, regardless of whether you make calls in-house, are looking for traditional telemarketing, or want to outsource a B2B cold calling campaign.
About the Author
Visit Terry's site for information on outbound telemarketing and telemarketing programs.
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