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B2B telemarketing: An interview with Michael Brown

Ask before telling and learn before selling

Michael A BrownMichael Brown is our “Business to Business By Phone Expert”. When it comes to using the phone to generate, nurture and qualify leads, there’s nobody better than Michael.

With all the developments lately in B2B marketing, telemarketing still has a prominent position and I want to highlight that. So I sat down with Michael and asked him what’s new in telemarketing.

Mac: Michael – tell me what you’ve been up to. What’s the latest and greatest in the world of B2B telemarketing?

Michael: Well Mac, there’s a debate inside Sales and Marketing circles about cold calling versus “smart” calling. Cold callers call to pitch. Smart callers call to learn what the prospect’s organization is trying to accomplish, and to see if the caller’s product or service would be helpful. The cold caller uses a generic (same script for everybody) approach. The smart caller has a unique approach for each call… one based on significant research and pre-call preparation.

Okay, Michael. I hear where you’re going with this. What other differences are there between cold calls and smart calls?

Make smart calls from behavioral and affinity lists, not demographic or segment lists. Behavioral lists are based on verbs in addition to SIC codes (for example – “grew by 15% or more”, “merged”, “moved”, etc). Affinity lists are based on recent purchases of related products or services. These lists cost more, but end up giving higher ROI because their performance is so much better.

Smart calls begin with a quick visit to the prospect’s website to find out what their business does and how they position themselves. Focused homework beats “tell me a little about your business” every time. Lose the elevator pitches, hype, and feature dumps. Ask before telling and learn before selling.

Smart calls are exploratory calls based on an organization’s relevant news – an event or occurrence that changes them into a better-than-average prospect for your company. Something that you can build a logical, valuable conversation around.

Tell me what you think about integrating telemarketing with some of the more recent tools?

We all need to get really good at multi-media marketing. I define that as: phone + e-mail + social + SEO/SEM + online content. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Getting all the pieces working together creates real synergies and greatly improved results.

Speaking of “working together”… strongly encourage coordination between Sales and Marketing. The more closely the two collaborate; the better off everybody is… including your customers.

I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said, but especially that last statement regarding Sales and Marketing alliance. Thanks for taking the time for this interview, Michael. Any closing remarks?

Yes. Provide for time. Market and sell with vigor and enthusiasm tempered with humility and patience.

Well put. Thanks again.

If any of you readers have anything to add about Smart Calling, or the integration of marketing tools across media, please weigh in below.

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