B2B telemarketing, like all other services, has undergone large-scale changes in the last two years. There has been a 50% uptick in call volumes since the pandemic. As a result, there is an increased demand for automated, cloud-driven tools to increase tele-process efficiency. One of the most apparent changes in B2B telemarketing services is the pivot from a people-driven process to a technology-driven process.
In 2023, traditional telemarketing technologies such as Interactive Voice Response and analytical faculties will continue to be a mainstay. Additionally, innovations such as AI and cloud-based solutions along with CRM integration and chatbots will add to the tech stack. Let's look at some new and emerging trends in B2B telemarketing:
Introduction of advanced AI & cloud-based solutions
It is predicted that the use of AI in telesales processes will rise to a staggering $3.5 billion by 2026. AI provides multiple predictive analytics capabilities that tele agents can use to assist their customers better. Since AI/ML technologies can collect and analyze data from multiple touchpoints, it will allow enterprises to set up an omnichannel process. Telesales reps can optimize their performance through call routing and queue management functions.
Furthermore, cloud routing enables seamless communication between departments leading to better management of inbound call traffic. Cloud integration also provides for enhanced payment security to customers appropriated through multi-layer protection systems. Also, it helps keep the corporate database secure in cases of a hardware malfunction or a security breach in an enterprise's IT infrastructure.
Rise of Chatbots and IVR
Other use cases of AI like chatbots and intelligent virtual agents are revolutionizing how enterprises approach telemarketing. IVAs facilitate enhanced customer experiences by leveraging machine learning, natural language processing, and advanced search recognition. As a result, a sales team can easily route callers to relevant agents of departments. One in every three companies embraced IVR technology for the time in response to the Covid-19.
Chatbots built with natural language processing technologies can recognize multiple languages, process the words and even their cadence, and decide how to respond in the most organic way possible. It also uses natural language understanding to determine the customer's intent while asking a question. AI-powered virtual assistants or chatbots can collect payment information, provide account updates, and help customers book appointments. This takes the load off of overburdened telesales representatives.
Integration of CRM with B2B telemarketing processes
Powered by a strong BI analytics engine to derive actionable customer insights, CRMs can feed high-value inputs into telemarketing campaigns. Using conversational analytics features, CRMs can help build purchase propensity models, understand customer response to a sales pitch, and optimize processes for better customer outreach messaging.
CRM platforms schedule, track, and manage customer outreach activities. This allows the sales reps to target the customers at the right time with the correct messaging, without fail. It also saves time as it is customized to complete repetitive tasks with fewer clicks. CRM also accumulates different data under a contact, which helps better segmentation and targeted campaigns.
Collaboration with the best database providers
One essential requirement for planning and executing a successful telemarketing program is accurate, contactable prospect data. Today, companies have access to heaps of unstructured, siloed information that is not standardized and often incomplete/inaccurate, rendering them unusable. Data fed to the telesales reps must be verified and vetted through automated data validation technology and human processes. Therefore, smart enterprises now buy databases from third-party database service providers who offer end-to-end solutions from data validation to sales prospecting.
Use of BI analytics and automation tools
There is a visible pivot towards automation tools to augment the entire customer outreach journey. Automation cuts costs and drives consistency, speed, and scalability to existing business infrastructure. Analytics and automation can work in synergy to add value to the system and increase collaboration among departments through insight-driven frameworks. Companies can leverage different types of analytics to improve their process:
• Interaction analytics
• Speech analytics
• Customer surveys
• Predictive analytics
• Prescriptive analytics
Each piece of data collected here can give a unique perspective on the customer journey. It can also provide insights into tele-agents' performance and track KPIs for various campaigns. Metrics like first call resolution, average handle time, and telemarketer's idle time can help sales leaders identify gaps and optimize the process.
A major customer trend in the recent past has been the demand for omnichannel services. Customers today crave the freedom to communicate with brands through website chatbots, social media, emails, and even text messages. And when they communicate with a brand on one channel, they expect a cohesive experience when they connect with another.
Omnichannel communication is all about unifying customer outreach to standardize service delivery. A well-orchestrated omnichannel network enables prospects to easily navigate a company's touchpoints. Live agents can leverage customer information generated through chatbots to build their cases. Similarly, customer response over a phone call can provide insights to email marketers for optimizing their communication. It is easy to pull up a customer interaction on one platform to inform decisions on another.
Businesses that have thrived through disruptions have done so because they evolved and walked with industry trends. The telemarketing sector has not lost its relevance, instead offers a new and unique way to connect with prospects. It continues to be a vital cog in the direct-to-consumer approach. Companies must implement smarter approaches and advanced technologies to align their processes with individual customer profiles.
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