You are here

B2B Lead Gen: Why You Need Partners and Multiple Channels

There’s been considerable debate in recent weeks about the use of partners, including telemarketing firms, in the B2B lead-generation business. TechTarget, one major B2B lead-gen provider, took an aggressive stance against the practice.

I’d like to explain why I disagree. Let’s start by considering the various forms of communication that are prevalent today. You engage in a “conversation” via email. You ask two simple questions of the person you’re corresponding with, and you get one answer. So you have to go back and ask the second question again.

Now, think of the challenge of relying exclusively on the accuracy of personal data that an individual enters into an online registration form. Are they really giving you their specific job title or their precise budget authority?

Compare that scenario with a live telephone conversation between two people in a business context. Yes, many people at work don’t answer their phones and many actively screen calls to avoid unwanted calls. But on the other hand, we maintain that in a B2B context, telephone contact lends itself to the delivery of branded marketing messages, whilst accurately verifying business data that is typically the key goal of a B2B telemarketing call.

There’s an optimal time, place, target recipient and channel for every marketing offer. Telemarketing is one of those channels that happens to be widely used, with a proven track record of delivering results.

In the UK, 23% of all sales were attributed to some form of direct marketing in 2011 (Direct Marketing Association UK, 2012). Telemarketing ranked fifth, among the channels and received 5% of all direct marketing expenditure. When sales are extrapolated to all UK businesses, telemarketing accounted for sales of £35 billion in the UK in 2011.

With that context, let’s look at a few of the channels that are widely used for B2B lead gen. We maintain you should be using each of these, constantly measuring outcomes to strike the optimal balance between them:

Inbound (also referred to as content marketing): Typically involves a content asset that is of particular interest to the prospect, who may have found it on a web site after a Google search. Inbound marketing relieves database stress from excess email marketing and can drive new database memberships.

Email: Still responsive despite many predictions of its demise – provided the promotional message, content and user experience are all positive. Sophisticated segmentation, including behavioral targeting, is possible. However, companies that rely entirely on email to their own database can create massive fatigue. We’ve seen specific examples where a company with an all e-mail strategy sends database members more than 10 emails per day, every day!

Social media: A great vehicle for awareness and brand building, but less proven as a means to drive B2B leads, engagement, registrations or sales on a large scale.

Telemarketing: Flexibility to tap diverse data sources for names to target and, by extension, can introduce new marketable names into your database. Offers granular targeting capabilities and is a strong complement to email and other digital marketing channels. It can deliver volume and quality to forecastable scale.

The best results that our clients have reported are realized when they market in multiple, if not all, of these channels from the start of a campaign, allocating some portion of their budget to each channel and closely monitoring results while recognizing the need to adapt quickly based on conversion trends.

You can download our full position on these issues in our Whitepaper here.

Related Resources:


Written by James Burton, CEO & Founder of Qualifa