Interviews

The death of telesales and reviving the art of letter writing

4 min read

25 October 2017

There’s no right or wrong, but telesales is not working for Mungo Park and his business. He explains why pounding the phones is not the best use of time.

A few years ago we had four full-time sales staff. They would be daily bashing the phones to secure appointments with key decision-makers who would buy our services – video production and content strategy. But last year we finally decided to proverbially hang up on this telesales marketing channel. We were just not getting the same return on investment that we used to.

The calls to meetings, or meetings to new client, ratios were heading steadily south. We were finding cold-calling prospective clients was damaging our credibility. The feedback derived indicated telesales was considered an annoyance if a target prospect had never heard of us, or didn’t need our services.

Letters hold integrity and, for us, it literally does the business.

Client referrals and old-fashioned networking through friends of friends is always useful up to a point. Cold emails and LinkedIn messages never get enough cut through (apart from in the US where they are not too opposed to LinkedIn communication – in the UK, people are completely horrified). So we went into a huddle.

One of our more successful routes to new meetings has been the slightly forgotten art of letter writing. We fell back in love with slow communication. A personal letter to a specific person, typed, signed on headed paper with relevant insights and suggestions has worked a treat. There are no spam emails or LinkedIn messages and requests to connect. Letters hold integrity and, for us, it literally does the business. Well-written letters take more time and effort, but that comes through when people receive them and so they usually take the time to read them.

But we have also found a content-led approach to marketing and sales contributes to the pipeline. A key pillar of our business is video production and, although we would say this, it really is the most effective medium for content marketing and is at the centre of our most successful campaigns. Original moving image content generates more clicks, likes, shares and conversions than any other medium while boosting SEO and producing a more emotive, memorable response.

Combining original content with highly targeted marketing works very well. Using pay-per-click (PPC) helps you connect with the exact people you need to reach. The more targeted you are, the lower volume, cost and higher quality your traffic will be. This helps build data, insight and awareness in the right places.

With that awareness, as telesales was dying a slow death for us, returning to the traditional form of letter writing has proven to be much more effective in driving new meetings and new business.

This article is part of a wider campaign called Founders Diaries, a section of Real Business that brings together 20 inspiring business builders to share their stories. Bringing together companies from a wide variety of sectors and geographies, each columnist produces a diary entry each month. Visit the Founders Diaries section to find out more.