Telemarketing is one of the most time-tested ways of generating leads for a business.

While telemarketing does have some odium attached to it – because no one enjoys receiving unsolicited sales calls– it is still around for one simple reason: it’s a lead generation tactic that just works.

It’s true that telemarketing can be expensive, time-consuming and can have low conversion rates. But when done correctly, following the right strategies, it can generate properly qualified leads that you can convert into paying customers.

That’s what makes telemarketing an attractive choice for lead generation for a host of businesses ranging from hard-charging tech companies all the way to nonprofits.

In this article, we’ll review strategies you can immediately deploy in your business to start getting generating quality leads using telemarketing.

What is Telemarketing Lead Generation?

Telemarketing refers to marketing using a phone or similar calling service.

Telemarketing Lead Generation is the process of generating marketing qualified leads using telemarketing.

This can be a very effective technique to complement other lead generation strategies including SEO, paid ads, social media, email marketing, landing pages, lead magnets, marketing events, webinars, sponsorships, etc.

Like all Lead Generation techniques, telemarketing comes with its pros and cons.

We’ll study these next.

Pros of using Telemarketing for Lead Generation

1. Make a Connect with a prospective customer

The biggest benefit of telemarketing is that you get to talk directly to a prospective customer.

This gives you an opportunity to understand your customer better, to understand their needs, to ask relevant questions and to get a sense of whether or not they would be interested in the product or service that you’re offering.

And if they’ve never heard of you, it can also be a great opportunity to introduce your company and your brand to them.

2. Get an immediate response

Because you have a person on the other side of the phone line, you will get an immediate response. You may or may not like the response, but you can be sure to get it.

Contrast this with email outreach, where your email will likely end up in spam and if it doesn’t, it’ll most possibly just get ignore or deleted.

Or contrast it with SEO and online lead generation through your website’s landing pages. You have to wait till leads come in by themselves.

These other strategies are, of course, valuable in their own way but they lack the immediacy of telemarketing which is what makes it attractive to generate leads quickly.

3. Get valuable information about the market

If during the phone call, you successfully engage with your prospective customer, it can be an excellent opportunity to get valuable information about your target market, about the customer’s needs, about their decision making and purchasing processes, etc.

You can use this information not just to improve your telemarketing procedures, but also to fine-tune your products or services so that they better fit the needs of your target market.

4. It’s Quantifiable and Measurable

With telemarketing, it is very easy to set targets for your calling team because telemarketing is highly quantifiable and measurable.

Using software tools, you can measure how many calls have been made to prospective customers and you can precisely track the responses received as well as the next steps for each prospect.

So, with telemarketing, you can easily measure progress and adjust your strategy based on the response that you are receiving.

You can just as easily set compensation targets for your telemarketing team based on quantifiable and measurable results.

5. Build human relationships

One of the biggest benefits of telemarketing is that it is an opportunity for you to start building a real relationship with a prospective customer.

It is entirely possible that at the time that your telemarketer makes the call, the prospective customer isn’t in a position to make a purchase.

But if the telemarketer succeeds in building a human relationship with the prospective customer, perhaps over many calls, then when the customer is ready to make a purchase, the groundwork to close a deal will have already been done.

Cons of Telemarketing for Lead Generation

1. Intrusive and annoying (for the prospective client)

The most obvious and egregious downside of telemarketing is that it is almost always intrusive and annoying for the person receiving the call.

A small tactic which you could deploy is to send an email to your prospective client first.

In the email, you should outline what you do, what your product is or what service you offer, what value you could provide them and then give them a heads up that you plan to give them a call in the coming days or weeks.

This way when you call the prospect, you can reference the email that you sent and this gives you something to talk about.

2. Expensive

Telemarketing can be expensive because good telemarketers don’t come cheap.

You might be tempted to outsource your telemarketing to a specialist company and yes this could work, but if they hire good telemarketers then this service is going to be expensive as well.

So it is important to use telemarketing as a lead generation technique for products or services that sell at a sufficient premium to justify the investment.

3. Low conversion rates

Conversion rates in telemarketing are notoriously low. It is not uncommon to see success rates in the single digits.

This is another reason why it is important to use telemarketing for products and services where even low conversion rates can still justify the investment needed in deploying this lead generation technique.

4. Time consuming

Telemarketing can be very time-consuming. Very often, a telemarketer will have to call the same prospect several times before getting through.

And if the telemarketer has a target to convert a certain number of prospects every week or every month, given the natural low conversion rate of telemarketing, this can be quite an uphill climb.

5. Can be frustrating and demoralizing (for the telemarketer)

The unsurprising side effect of a lead generation technique that requires high effort but delivers slow conversion rates is burnout.

So, for people who are not naturally cut out for telemarketing, this can be a pretty frustrating and demoralizing experience.

This is one of the reasons why we see large turnovers in the telemarketing industry.

11 Telemarketing Strategies to successfully generate leads

Here are 11 telemarketing strategies that we have successfully used in our own businesses. We know that these strategies work.

1. Prepare a daily list of calling targets

Most targets will not answer the phone. Your call could go to the reception desk and may never be transferred to your prospect.

Or you will discover that your prospect isn’t at his or her desk.

This is why you need to have 25 to 30 names and phone numbers ready at any given point in time.

2. Research each calling target

Always research each calling target and their company in detail.

Visit LinkedIn pages, Facebook pages, search for the prospect online, read about them and read what they’ve written.

Maybe they’ve written research papers. Read them.

Maybe they made a presentation at a conference which is publicly available. Review that presentation.

Maybe they’ve made a YouTube video related to their field and put it online. Watch the video.

The more you know about your prospect, the more opportunities you will have to engage with them on the call.

3. Prepare a script

Never call without a prepared script. Write down exactly what your pitch is- word for word.

But practice it well so that you sound natural and not scripted.

Having a prepared script will help you get to the point, fast. If you start off with a lot of uumms, ahhas, you will lose the prospect right away.

Remember, you need to grab the prospect’s interest in the first few seconds. If you don’t, you will never recover later on.

4. Select the best time of day to make the call

You want to call at a time when you are most likely to get through to your prospect.

Consider the time zone your prospect is in. Think if your prospect is more likely to be in meetings in the morning rather than in the afternoon.

Sometimes it helps to call a few minutes before the top of the hour. You can be lucky and reach the prospect in between two meetings.

Another possibility is to call Friday afternoon. Many people avoid taking meetings on Friday afternoon so that they can finish paperwork before leaving for the weekend.

Some people are also more relaxed on a Friday afternoon and more open to receiving an unsolicited call.

5. Start with an apology and get to the point

Remember that an unsolicited call, by definition, is unwanted.

But prospects are also human, and they understand what you’re trying to do. And they also understand that there is a small chance that they may actually need what you are offering.

So, if you start with an apology or at least sound apologetic, it could soften them up enough to at least listen to your pitch.

Once you know that they’re going to listen to you, at least for a few seconds, get straight to the point. Quickly get to the value that you are proposing.

6. Be prepared for nasty responses

You will always come across people who will be mean to you. This comes with the territory.

Some people will just hang up. Others might even curse you.

Don’t take it personally. Instead, take a deep breath. Remember that these people get 10 to 15 cold calls a day.

Then just pick up the phone and call the next person on your list.

7. Make the prospective customer talk to you.

It’s important that your conversation with a prospective customer is not just a monologue.

The idea behind the call is not simply to pitch what you have to offer but also to listen, to understand their point of view, to understand what they need and what they’re looking for.

For this to happen, you need to engage the prospect in a discussion.

Once you’ve made your pitch and have explained the value of what you’re offering, the best thing to do is to ask an open question.

Open questions force the other side to respond. And many people given the opportunity to talk, do exactly that. They talk.

Many callers believe that the more they talk the more likely they are to convince a prospective customer to buy a product or a service. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The more you can get your prospective customer to talk, the more likely it is that you will convert them from being a prospective customer to a paying customer.

8. Use Customer Success Stories

Every person you call will be interested in knowing how someone else has benefited from the product or service that you’re offering.

This is because no one wants to be a guinea pig.

So if you go into your call armed with customer success stories, you’ll be able to introduce these at strategic moments in your conversation with your prospective customer.

You can draw parallels between the success of other customers and the prospective customer you have on the other end of the line.

You can use these customer stories to dispel doubts and overcome objections.

9. Be ready to take notes

You’ll be surprised how many times your prospect will start talking and you haven’t got anything to take notes with.

Have a notepad and a pen ready before you make your call.

The last thing you want is to be scrambling for a pen a paper just as the prospective customer is giving you the name and phone number of the right person in their company to call.

10. Use a CRM

Once you start calling 20 to 25 people every day, you’ll soon lose track of whom you called, what they said, and what the next steps are.

Use a professional Customer Relationship Management (CRM) product to manage all your prospects, manage next steps, action items, and track your performance and that of your team.

There are several CRM software products that are available for free if you only have a small volume.

At the minimum, you should consider using a spreadsheet.

11. Remember, to follow up.

Research shows that before you can move a prospect to the next stage in your sales funnel you will need to call them several times over a period of many months.

So, while you might be focused on making calls to reach as many new people as you can, don’t forget to followup with people to whom you‘ve reached out in the past.

Key Takeaways

  1. In Telemarketing Lead Generation, we generate leads over the phone.

  2. Telemarketing can be a very effectively lead generation strategy if done properly following the right strategies.

  3. With Telemarketing you can immediately make a connection with a prospective customer from whom you could get valuable information about the market, get an immediate response and build a relationship.

  4. The biggest downside of telemarketing is that it can be intrusive and annoying. Furthermore, it can be expensive, has low conversion rates, and can be frustrating and demoralizing for the telemarketer.

  5. Effective telemarketing requires research, a proper calling script, the right attitude, the right tools and diligence.