Telemarketing Lead Generation or Sales Opportunity Creation – which is the right approach to win you more sales?


This article is written for those of you thinking about using telemarketing to find new customers.  Without sales, no business can survive and prosper; but how do we find potential customers in the first place?  There are many routes to market, but this article discusses the classic use of telemarketing to achieve the objective of lead generation and sales opportunity creation. 

You may be asking yourself at this point “what is the difference between ‘lead generation’ and ‘sales opportunity creation’.  The two terms sound very similar, but the difference starts right at the beginning of the sales process.  Choosing the right approach could make all the difference to succeeding or failing in finding the right customers.  Please note – BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR – IF THE BEST TELEMARKETING PROVIDES THE BEST RETURN ON INVESTMENT, THEN THE BEST ACTUALLY COSTS LESS.

Though few people have visited a Call Centre, most people have a fairly good idea what goes on there.  Anywhere between 30 and 250 people are sat at desks, generally being fed calls by a computer queuing system – where they read scripts from screens.  This is the base end of telemarketing lead generation.  The calibre of the staff ranges from low to medium.  So in terms of lead generation, the Call Centre staff are led by those who design the campaign and write the scripts for them.  So let’s first take a look at what most people think of lead generation via a Call Centre.

Because a certain number of people are allotted to a campaign at a Call Centre and the campaign has to book these seats, getting the sales message correct at the start is crucial.  You need to remember that for a Call Centre, it is either the customer or the manager at the Call Centre who will devise and write the scripts for the callers for lead generation.  The first basic difference between lead generation and sales opportunity creation starts here. 

The Call Centre manager may not know who will be making the calls, so a script is devised to aim at the lowest common denominator.  Such a script can rarely take in to account any individual methods and must be a “one size fits all” script.  It’s not surprising that Call Centre lead generation sounds somewhat ‘robotic’.  Therefore, logically the Call Centre approach to lead generation often uses a ‘scatter-gun’ approach, on the basis that if you make enough calls you should find enough interested people.

If you think about all this carefully, you can start to see why Call Centre lead generation works for some companies but fails miserably for others.  If a Call Centre relies on the ‘throw enough mud and some will stick’ approach to lead generation, then logically they will need to buy enough data for your campaign.  If you’re selling something like mobile phones to end users, then you can see why a Call Centre lead generation approach will work in such a saturated market.  On the other hand, if you are selling Consultative Expertise then you can see why your chances of succeeding via Call Centre lead generation suddenly begin to dissipate.  In other words, if you are selling something that requires a dialogue with an intelligent buyer, you need to move away from the standard Call Centre lead generation approach and adopt the approach of sales opportunity creation.

Sales opportunity creation is a form of lead generation that takes a ‘laser-guided sniper’ approach to a campaign rather than the Call Centre ‘scatter-gun’ approach.  I use the ‘laser-guided’ analogy because this form of lead generation begins with very careful targeting.  To use the military analogy further for your sales campaign, you will generally hire a very small number of ‘special forces’ (better known as Consultative Telemarketing people) as opposed to a large number of ‘conscripts’ (Call Centre staff).  Instead of the Call Centre ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to lead generation, the Consultative Telemarketing person will create a ‘pitch’ instead of a ‘script’.  The pitch will be matched to a carefully selected database that the expert will build for you or work with you to produce.  Sales opportunity creation is a business development approach that uses a high-calibre telemarketing person.  This form of lead generation is geared towards medium to high level decision makers with larger budgets.  This approach is far more suited to new markets, new technologies, niche offerings and specialist skills provided.

To summarise, if you have a product in a saturated market place that takes little or no explanation of what your product does, then use Call Centre lead generation.  If your product or service is a complex or specialist offering, then your lead generation requires a sales opportunity creation approach - using a high-calibre consultative telemarketing person.

If you are in any doubt, I offer high-calibre consultative telemarketing for lead generation.   I’m happy to explain the difference if you need further help – call 0870 042 1263.

Stephen Law is a Business Development expert. Over a 25 year period, Stephen worked has worked from a Foot Canvasser and Telemarketing Junior in the 1980s to an Executive Director and Company Secretary in the 1990s. Stephen's sales and marketing career spanned the IT, Communications and Technology sectors, where he was always top in his field. Stephen has also been head of Manufacturing, HR, and R&D for a number of organisations. In 2005, Stephen decided to form his own company offering Business Development via Consultative Telemarketing. Few people enjoy telemarketing as much as Stephen and fewer still understand how to communicate effectively with senior decision makers. Stephen is an Associate Partner of the No1 UK Business Development Agency and an Honorary Director at the LCDA for Business Development, where he has taught the Art of Selling at London South Bank University.

Posted in Lead Generation, Telemarketing

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