Good telemarketing agencies generally won’t transact using the cost per lead operating model. This is where a client pays the agency according to how many leads they pass on. There’s a myriad of reasons for this but the big one is the lack of effectiveness. To survive, a business needs to be two things. They need to be effective and efficient. To be effective, companies must produce something that customers want and prefer to the competition. To be efficient, companies need to maximise the reach of their resources, in order to generate a profit. The cost per lead telemarketing agency will struggle on both these measures, because it’s hard to produce strong enduring leads if your resources are minimised, especially in competitive B2B markets. Cost per lead telemarketing agencies experience a constant tension between cost of production and quality of output. Essentially, their products lack effectiveness – in the words of poet John Ruskin, ‘It’s a common law of business balance – you can’t pay a little and get a lot’.
Staff & systems
An agency can adopt a cost per lead offer if they model their business around low overheads generally. That means they will employ low paid, or commission only staff, and wrap them around low-cost management systems like diallers and prompts. Since very few professionals would choose to work commission only, it’s unlikely that the calls would be the sharp, sensitive ones you would dial in-house. In telemarketing, strong people and systems sit at the heart of the best telemarketing agencies. When you outsource telemarketing, you’re putting your brand in the hands of your provider and their people. Cost per lead telemarketing agencies cannot afford staff that are commercially experienced savvy communicators, so they script calls and use hungry tactics to persuade decision makers to take an appointment. Needless to say, this can never represent you or your brand in a good light. They will be the voice of your business, so if they don’t come across as well as your own people, decision makers simply won’t engage.
Pushy pushy pushy
If the only way to get paid is to generate a lead, chances are, you’ll do what it takes to get one. By employing a cost per lead telemarketing agency, client companies unwittingly create a situation where hardened, pushy sales people are speaking to their prospect universe, in their name, dial after dial. From the get-go, that dynamic means the supplier agency’s objectives are not aligned with the client objective, how could they be. In fact, they are actually in conflict with the client’s broader goals (to grow a good brand) and probably the prospect’s objectives (to engage the best supplier for their needs). Cost per lead telemarketing agencies survive by reaching and converting buyers in as few calls and as short a dialogue as possible. They don’t have time to nurture relationships, they have timed, inflexible scripts that they use over and over.
Professional sales teams nurture relationships deliberately and carefully over time. They work to uncover specific needs and then meet them. It often takes many calls to reach the buyer, engage them and gradually, over several calls, build a relationship well enough to get around a table. Speeding up that cycle is hard to do without coming across badly, and causing buyers to shrink away. Furthermore, you need a huge pool of data, to feed an auto-dialler that connects prospect after prospect to pitch and move on. This process alone should ring alarm bells for anyone considering a cost per lead telemarketing agency for their campaign. In B2B markets, buyers have a very low boiling point for mediocrity and will not respond well to a mass produced and scripted call. Decision makers will opt-out of future contact under those circumstances. So you may pay less for your telemarketing project, but not only will your brand suffer, much of your precious prospect list will be eroded by opt-outs so you’ll never be able to contact those potential buyers again.