Nine times the phone went last week whilst working at home.
Nine interruptions to a working day from companies offering utilities, loans, broadband and PPI services. These came in the form of either a call from an overseas call centre or non-personalised automated messages. My wife had complained about this before. A common hassle of the mother at home no doubt, although, with a 4 year old always keen to answer the phone, these calls don’t tend to last long.
As an owner of Alchemis (a B2B telemarketing company) and due to the nature of our business, I do tend to have more empathy with sales calls, but the approach taken by most to calls to homes tends to be rude, aggressive and clearly scripted and as a result the wider industry gets a bad name. Or does it?
I know the quality of the calls made by the team at Alchemis and the awareness we have that we are not representing ourselves, but our clients and also that we are interrupting a day for the people we contact on their behalf. We know that there are lots of competitors to Alchemis and more widely, in-house sales people, so I thought I’d dig a little to see how unpopular B2B telemarketing is perceived to be.
I didn’t have to look far as recent research undertaken by SCi Sales Group (a survey of 200 ABC1 managers requesting feedback on the most annoying forms of advertising/marketing) showed 35% of those surveyed thought sales calls at home the most unpopular, which is no surprise, but just 4% cited calls at work, and only door drops and direct mail identified as less annoying.
This was comforting, in that it reaffirmed our view that B2B telemarketing has a bright future, but why is it deemed to be less annoying. As the research article indicates, a lot of managers (and we know this to be the case in market research) will be tasked and judged on speaking to a number of potential new suppliers and certainly in the digital age, there are a lot of Marketing Managers wanting to keep abreast of what is available to them. As a result, you have to assume that the phone as a medium is not just less annoying, but also much more effective. Relationships are important in sales and particularly in the higher value sales that we strive for on behalf of our clients and these, along with trust, can be nurtured over the phone.
All that said, to generate new business, it is all about the quality and content of the message being delivered and Alchemis prides itself in working with clients to identify what those messages should be and getting them across effectively and professionally.