Lead generation is an invaluable part of the marketing and eventual sales processes of a business. It is one of those activities that a business can choose to handle in multiple ways. Two of these are telemarketing and email leads. There is no denying that companies have found success with both methods, but the rate of the said success is not the same for each alternative.
Before diving into the reason for this and how these options stack up against each other, it's essential to understand how leads work, as well as the other fundamental puzzle pieces in the lead generation workflow.
The short answer to this is that a lead is any entity that has expressed interest in a company's product or service offerings. In the context of this article, the interested party is usually a business.
Lead conversion typically happens when the interested business reaches out to the product or service provider. This may be for the full product or service, or for a sample in the form of a trial.
The idea of lead generation is to transition businesses from visitors or strangers to customers. Of course, this process is only made possible by employing the appropriate techniques.
B2B Cold Calling: The Old Way of Doing Sales
Before a company can indicate any interest in a product or service offering of another, awareness must be present. Naturally, you can't want something if you don't even know that it exists. This creates a situation where a product or a service provider must get the word out effectively about its offerings to generate the necessary level of intrigue.
Telemarketing lead generation is one of the most traditional methods that exist. A big part of it is completing the cold calling process, which translates to calling random businesses to inform them about the offerings. The major problem with this approach is that it can become very intrusive, inconvenient, and uncomfortable.
Imagine that you are the operations manager at a large multinational company. On your way to work one day, you ended up with a flat tire, and some irresponsible driver rear-ended you. Upon arriving at work, you are greeted by your angry boss, because the department you manage fell below the established targets. This leads to a meeting where you find out that there are negative financial consequences to both you and your team.
Naturally, you don't feel very good about this. Your team consistently works very hard, and you know that the numbers didn't do your efforts any justice. Also, you were really looking forward to that money this month, as your six-year-old daughter's seventh birthday is approaching, and you had plans.
All you want is for the workday to be over, so you can go home, spend some time with your lovely spouse, and go to bed. At this point, a representative from a company that sells cordless drills calls your place of employment and asks to speak with the operations manager. This person then spends 15 minutes running the drills by you and trying to convince you that you need one.
It is possible that one of the drills could make your life a bit easier. The problem is that you have been through so much that the last thing you want to do is discuss the purchase of a drill. Also, it doesn't help that you feel that the items are being forced onto you. Of course, the company would pay for the purchase once it is approved. However, that is only in the case that you are comfortable with the purchase, and the last thing you are feeling is comfort.
Of course, the example provided is a bit on the extreme side. While the series of happenings is not impossible, it is unlikely. However, that doesn't change the fact that cold calling often happens at bad times. Even if you are not having the worst day ever, it is possible that the approach of the business calling rubs you the wrong way.
The point is that during cold calling, a lot of customers who are called are simply not in the mood. This contributes to the well-known intrusive nature of telemarketing as a lead generation strategy.
The problem with such an approach is that it evokes negative emotions in the entities that are supposed to be potential customers. This increases the unlikelihood of successful lead generation. If you think about this one on a personal level, it doesn't make sense.
Even if you wanted to purchase a specific product beforehand, if the seller were to annoy you, you'd probably feel very different about it very quickly. So, while there are many businesses that have achieved some measure of success with the telemarketing method, the unfortunate reality is that it is not as efficient as some of the other alternatives are.
A Better Alternative: Email Lead Generation
Like telemarketing, email lead generation is an incredibly popular method of attempting to up sales revenue. Of course, it's still very much a numbers game, as nothing is guaranteed.
There is still the possibility that most of the leads that are generated are not going to be interested in any goods or services. You may find that you have something along the lines of a 5% conversion rate. This may sound low, but it is still very much dependent on the numbers. For example, 5% of 5000 is 250. Gaining 250 customers for just about any business is a huge win.
Using email lead generation strategies allows you to communicate with your potential leads in a way more convenient manner, since reading an email is purely at the discretion of the recipient. Though it's not impossible for someone to find an email a bit annoying, that possibility is almost nonexistent when compared to the kind of negative feelings that telemarketing can about.
Additionally, the ability to communicate with multiple potential leads at the same time is another huge advantage. How many different businesses can a team call simultaneously? This depends on the number of persons who are available to complete the said calls.
Once you have a prospective customer's email address, getting the word out requires no real additional administrative effort on your part. You can communicate with your entire mailing list at the same time. Again, it is well understood many of these businesses may ignore the email entirely.
How is that different from businesses that indicate a lack of interest during telemarketing or those that don't pick up the phone at all? If anything, email lead generation allows you increased flexibility, and it also provides a platform that is very customizable.
Creating Value During B2B Lead Generation
Perceived value is something that can tremendously boost your email lead generation efforts if you can create it. This simply means bringing prospective customers to the point where they can see some level of benefit to what your email campaign has to offer.
One way to do this is to begin by solving a problem. Imagine that you are a part of the marketing and sales team at the drill provider company that is mentioned above. You may become aware of the fact that other drill alternatives are driving screws way too far into walls.
You are aware that the drills from your company prevent this issue from occurring. That means that the real solution to the matter would be to buy one of your designs. The problem is that a potential customer may see nothing more than yet another company trying to make a profit by forcing its products onto other businesses.
To avoid creating this kind of situation, you could begin your campaign by helping potential leads to recover from this problem before you even offer your way more efficient drills as an eventual solution for the future.
For example, you could provide information on a very convenient way to remove the screws once they are driven in too far. You could start by using your website in tandem with social media platforms to offer the information that is needed.
The way that this information is provided is entirely up to you. You could create a well-designed eBook, informational article, or even a demonstration video. The idea here is that when the prospective customer sees the kind of content that is being offered, there is a natural desire to see what it is about, since it may be useful information that helps in recovery from a serious problem.
Of course, there is a catch. You would also create a form that possibly needs to be filled out prior to accessing the informational resource. This form could require information, such as the business name, email address, and telephone number. Note that this brick wall approach can make customers a bit uneasy. So, you do also have the option of introducing this form at the end of the video.
Remember that at that point, you have just provided valuable information. Therefore, you establish your business as an authoritative source of data. Your form could imply that providing these contact details is simply for the potential customer to receive more useful information in the future.
The satisfaction from the first problem you helped to solve creates motivation to want this additional information when the time comes since the customer believes you may help to take care of even more issues. Of course, by filling the form, these businesses give you the contact information you need to proceed with your campaign.
Which is Better? B2B Cold Calling or Emailing
The strategy described above is one of several approaches that you can use to get potential customers to give you the contact information that is necessary for you to proceed with your lead generation process. Whatever strategy you use is likely to provide you with both telephone and email contact alternatives.
Even after you have gotten these contact details from a consenting business, using telemarketing creates the problems that were spoken to above. Of course, the overarching theme is that companies may get the feeling that you are imposing yourself and your product on them. Additionally, there is not much depth to the telephone method.
This problem is removed almost entirely when the email method is employed. As stated before, you can achieve practically instantaneous communication with every member of your email database at the same time. Furthermore, the use of email drip campaigns means that you have the flexibility and freedom to slowly guide potential clients towards eventual sale conversion. You don't have as much time and space to close the deal if you go with the telemarketing method.
Email campaigns are also very conducive to automation. The lead generation process is a necessity, but you can spend less time doing it while still preserving the sense of efficiency. Even if you could automate telemarketing efforts by using a computerized system to call potential customers with a prerecorded message, it's likely that most of them would simply hang up.
This is the reason that human interaction is a better technique for these B2B calls. Of course, each call requires dedicated manual effort. Email campaigns that are being used with a database of addresses only need you to type your email once. In fact, you could even schedule the way that these messages are sent out. The set it and forget it nature off email lead generation simply adds additional efficiency to your process.
Design is another advantage that the email option has over its telemarketing alternative. Even if you wanted to start a telephone conversation with something to attract potential customers, that conversation must get going first. You can't speak to your fantastic offer if the businesses cut off the communication as soon as you identify yourself.
Remember that email reading is done at the leisure of the receiving party. Therefore, even if there is intent to ignore the message. The customer is likely to see the subject line at least. Consequently, you do get an opportunity to grab these businesses before the mode of communication is shut down. When this catchy subject line is combined with a well-designed email body that has a call to action, your success rate is likely to be higher.
You could even nudge these businesses to forward the email to others, which leads to additional potential leads for you. Additionally, you can easily create a sense of urgency, highlight benefits and discounts, promote your social media platforms, etc., all in one convenient package.