Beyond Lead Gen: Marketing-Driven B2B Calling Campaigns

29 May

Before electronic lead generation became the normal mode of operation for B2B companies, sales people dialed for dollars. Even today, the best sales people fill time between leads with outbound calls to the best names that they can find.

In my previous role managing demand generation for a 1,000+ person salesforce, we created parallel programs for lead generation and outbound calling. In any given quarter, the volume of leads was typically limited by the amount of budget allocation to lead generation. Our outbound calling campaigns, however, could cost-effectively reach many more prospects and as a result would generate 3x – 5x the pipeline of our lead generation efforts, albeit at a lower amount of pipeline per call.

Here are a few key best practices for running outbound calling campaigns:

– Keep leads (inbound) and targets (outbound) separate: a cold target is not a lead. Mixing terminology for the two creates confusion and devalues the high priority leads.

– Think of calling campaigns programatically: Start with a theme or play, use business intelligence to target the right lists, customers and prospects, develop talking points, and create marketing materials to support sales.

– Always call leads first: Inbound leads expect a quick response, dont’ keep them waiting. Calling canpaign targets don’t know that you will be calling, so they can always wait until all the leads have been covered.

– Use a tool to track campaign progress: You’ll need software to load targets, queue outbound calls, collect outcomes, and tie calls to pipeline.

– Train your sales teams on every campaign: You’ll want to make sure that your teams understand why the campaign is vbeing developed, what the desired outcome is, and the key things they will need to know tobe successful.

– Get the script or talking points right: The most effective calling campaigns make a crisp and compelling pitch to prospects. test campaigns before launching and quickly kill campaigns that aren’t driving significant conversion.

– Use an offer to drive conversion: A calling campaign is nothing more than an organized series of cold calls on a common theme to a defined set of targets. To improve cold call conversion, provide sales teams with one or more special offers that they can use to lure prospects into a valuable conversation.

– Make calling campaigns part of your holistic nurture efforts: Outbound calling campaigns are a great way to systematically follow-up on old leads and contacts or to nurture customers or prospects in a systematic, measurable way.

While your lead generation budgets will inevitably limited — outbound calling campiagns are a great way to drive incremental measurable pipeline and revenue while helping sales teams improve productivity and revenue / FTE.

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