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Does B2B Telemarketing Still Work in 2023?

GCL | 23 February 2023

Reading time: 4 minutes

When you hear ‘B2B Telemarketing’ in current times, a few thoughts may come to mind:

‘Spammy cold calls’ 
‘It died in the ’90s'  
'Does it bring any results?’

The answer to those are:

B2B Telemarketing is much more complex than simply ‘cold calling’ and is still going strong and bringing sizable results in 2023, now more than ever.

What's The Proof?

According to research by SmallBiz Genius:

'82% of buyers have booked meetings with salespeople after a series of contacts that started with sales cold calls.'

The DMA Group found that:

'For every £1 spent on B2B telemarketing, companies experienced an £11 ROI.’
'92% of businesses surveyed found telemarketing to be an effective channel.’

A GCL campaign for Pitney Bowes achieved an additional £75 million in the sales pipeline as a result of cold-call telemarketing and lead nurture efforts.


Telemarketing Holds More Power Now Than It Has In the Last 3 Decades

Over the decades, telemarketing has constantly gone through a holistic, refinement process to become more personalized and purposeful. The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has helped establish credibility & full transparency for genuine telemarketers, filtering out scam artists & spammers, allowing for more efficient outreach.

Telemarketing is also one of the rare few marketing strategies that uses direct engagement & two-way communication with prospects, allowing for quicker progression in communication and insight into the prospect’s pain points, desires & goals. Unlike cold emailing where click-through rates average at 0.5%, the estimated conversion rate for cold calls is around 6.3%.


So What is Telemarketing & How Does it Work?

Telemarketing takes an emotionally intelligent, unscripted approach to nurture a real connection with prospects. A study by Close proves this: 93% of the potential success of your cold call is attributed to the tone of your voice during the conversation'

B2B Telemarketing covers multiple business needs, some of which are:

  • Lead generation & appointment setting
  • Channel development
  • Lead nurture services (MQL to SQL)
  • Account-based marketing
  • Awareness raising
  • Primary research
  • Inbound call handling
  • Global multilingual outreach
  • Event & webinar support

At GCL, through our telemarketing efforts, we produced over 1000 registrations for an EMEA event over 8 days, supported by our multilingual approach.


But How Would Telemarketing Benefit My Company?

B2B Telemarketing can be incredibly valuable to companies by:

1. Reaching decision-makers faster

‘57% of C-level executives prefer being cold-called by phone, compared to 51% of directors and 47% of managers.’  (RAIN Group, 2020)

How better to reach important decision makers than through direct touch? A well-trained telemarketer will use the right, unscripted approach personalized to the buyer’s needs to establish a genuine connection, gain trust and reach solutions quicker.

2. Obtaining precise market research data

You’re seeking out the ‘right’ prospects with a higher chance of converting. However, you can only reach these ideal prospects when you have the right data to connect you to them & truly understand their needs. Otherwise, there’s a higher risk of your time & money invested going down the drain.

You first need to understand what makes your prospects tick, what keeps them up at night and what their ultimate goal is. Through personalized market research carried out with a human touch over call, prospects are more likely to share vital information they wouldn’t through other means.

3. Higher lead generation & conversion rate

‘71% of buyers want to speak to sellers during the early stages of the buying process.’
(RAIN Group)

After obtaining the right data and understanding the prospect’s profile through preliminary market research, telemarketers then dial out to prospects, highly prepared to convert the qualified leads into sales-ready prospects by building & nurturing relationships. By further using all the right strategies, they are then able to direct the sales-ready prospects to the right salespeople, to close the deal.


Is Telemarketing For Me?

Telemarketing is not for everyone… There are a number of factors to consider to determine if it’s the right fit for your business. As a general rule of thumb, if you are selling low-value high-volume products or services (transactional selling), then telemarketing is less likely to be a cost-effective strategy and there’s a stronger probability that you may be served better using email & digital marketing strategies.

However, if you’re selling a high-value product or solution into the B2B market, then there is a very strong likelihood that B2B telemarketing will work wonders for you.

Some other factors to consider are the size of the TAM (total addressable market) and your typical sales cycle.


Where is Telemarketing Headed?

The digital age has taken over and will continue to dominate industries in the upcoming years, allowing for a blended marketing approach to maximizing campaign results, involving a combination of traditional & digital methods, such as email marketing, PPC, artificial intelligence and much more.

However, as much as automation and AI is driving forward businesses, ultimately people buy from people. The human touch is a timeless advantage that will never fade away amongst the digital noise.


Other Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Do people still answer the telephone?

In short, YES! However, it’s not as straightforward as one call equals a successful outcome.

The reality is like any marketing activity, you get out what you put in. Unlike B2C telemarketing, the B2B approach is to contact qualified prospects who are much more likely to pick up the call, at a time they are most likely to respond. Additionally, there are tools such as Cognism and Lusha that enable mobile & direct dial numbers to be appended to contacts which massively helps boost conversion rate.

Best practice shows that an effective call strategy involves 5-8 touch points throughout a set time period.

'93% of converted leads are often reached only by the 6th cold call attempt.’ (Velocify)


2. Does telemarketing work in my sector?

Telemarketing is not sector-limited and would work in any sector that requires market research, data services, lead generation & nurturing. According to data at GCL, telemarketing is most popular with some of the industry sectors below:
  • Business & Professional Services
    Financial Services & Insurance
    Manufacturing & Engineering
    Wholesale & Distribution
    Logistics & Supply Chains
    Tech & IT Consultancy
    Public sector

What Else Should I Know?

Over the next few blog posts, we’ll share in-depth everything you need to know about B2B Telemarketing, information we have carefully curated over the last 30+ years.

In the meantime, use our free guide to learn more about using telemarketing to your advantage in the digital age, which covers:

• The telemarketing revolution
• How data has reinforced telemarketing
• The metamorphosis from prospect to lead
• Timing's everything: when to pick up the phone

The Definitive Guide to Telemarketing in the Digital Age