The anatomy of a good B2B telemarketing script
How many conversations have you had with telemarketers recently? Probably not many that lasted longer than a few seconds… myself, the minute somebody asks me how I’m doing today, I draw a blank and put the phone down. It’s rude, I know, and it probably has a negative effect on someone’s day, but I’m in the majority. Most people don’t talk to telemarketers.
Telemarketers know that, and they know that the law of averages means that they will spend most of their day being brushed off, either politely or otherwise. What they need, in order to get the most out of the callers that do not hang up on them, is a script that will extend the call as long as possible, get as much information out of the caller as possible, and convert them into an appointment. Yes, there has been debate about whether scripted or unscripted telemarketing is best, but ultimately, a script that leads into unscripted territory is measurable, improvable and flexible.
Building the script
A good script should be built around the target audience. Assuming that the telemarketing campaign has a clearly defined audience, with specific job roles and seniority levels being targeted, there should already be specific pain points that each telemarketer is aware of. They should be built in alongside consistent, on-brand messaging – a good script will be one that the telemarketer can almost dip-in and dip-out of when required, so that the main marketing messages are put across every time.
So, when building the script, remember these three key items:
- keep it consistent, and consistently on-message
- consider what keeps your audience awake at night
- telemarketers can dip-in and dip-out, so build your script around concise, key points
Evidence is key
It is essential that early on in the call, you establish your credentials. If you work with any recognised names, especially names within the same industry as the contact (again, the art is in the data), then call them out within your first paragraph.
One telemarketer I worked with started with a question, which is a risky tactic, but it worked. They asked: “I’m calling from (company name), I take it you’ve heard of us?”
Frequently, the answer was no, which allowed the telemarketer to express surprise and go on to mention that we work with a number of impressive organisations such as Lloyds TSB, Asda, Aston Martin, and so on. If you have credentials, get them in early – testimonials, facts and figures (we’ve saved one organisation 15% of their salary bill) – whatever you have, work it in early and you’ll establish trust through evidence.
Establish your value proposition
Once we’ve established evidence, the next step is to put across the value proposition in clear, simple terms. What are the three or four main problems that your contacts are facing right now in the industry? And how do you solve those problems? It’s important to establish not only your knowledge of the pain points your targets are facing, but how you are helping customers right now.
You may want to devise a series of bullet points that your telemarketers can draw from at this point: clear, concise sentences that express, in a nutshell, what your value proposition is and how you truly add value to businesses. Not “we provide IT solutions” but “we help our customers reduce IT expenditure by at least 10%”.
It is often somewhere around this point that the telemarketer may wish to enquire about the prospect and their current situation, and it is always good to have some stock responses for most commonly asked questions, but it is especially useful to train the telemarketer on some of the basics of your service provision, and your company.
It is best, however, not to go into any significant detail on products and services, because a little too much knowledge can lead into an overly detailed conversation, which is not the point of telemarketing. The aim here is to have a business conversation, not a product or service conversation – that is for the appointment you are trying to obtain.
Having a standard closing paragraph is useful for the telemarketers because they find it easier to come back to at the end of an unscripted conversation. It’s also a great opportunity to reinforce that value proposition, drawing on perhaps just one or two key points that resonate most.
Over time, you will be able to measure and tweak response to your script in order to ensure that those key bullet points are optimised, and that you know which ones have the most impact over the phone.
And finally, your metrics paint a picture
While not everything can be discerned through metrics (telemarketing is partly about feeling, of course), they paint a picture, and as time passes, you start to play the percentage game. Take the following metrics and see how your script influences each one:
Dials to conversations ratio: i.e. how many conversations are you having in relation to the number of actual dials a telemarketer makes over a campaign
Conversations to Conversions ratio: i.e. how many of those conversations turn into appointments
The first metric gives you an idea of how your introduction is working, while the second metric gives you an idea of how the value proposition is resonating with your prospects.
You won’t get your script right first time, but over the span of hundreds of dials and conversations, you will arrive at a telemarketing script that allows for telemarketers to go off-script and return to it at will, with consistent, on-brand messaging that resonates with your target industry. You'll have the metrics that tell you how that script is performing, and equally, if you shift target market, the script structure should hold well and transfer smoothly.