Definitive Guide to Telemarketing
Helping you get maximum value from this business development resource
Telemarketing/telesales (noun); the practice of marketing products and services by telephone.
Telephone calls received at inconvenient times from callers who know nothing about your business or industry, attempting to sell you something you don't feel you need. We know that if you aren't successfully using telemarketing then this definition will ring true.
However if you are already using telemarketing and telesales you'll know they can offer unrivalled opportunities for developing an agency or a business by getting to the key decision makers you need to influence and engaging with them in a way that results in them wanting to find out more.
There is a significant difference between telesales and telemarketing and in this guide we will help you understand how these key business tools have their part to play in a developing organisation.
Get it right and telemarketing can create exciting direct sales and marketing leads.
Get it wrong and you can at best waste valuable time and money, but at worst also damage your brand and lose key prospects.
There are some fundamental principles to follow in order to maximise your return and to help integrate telemarketing into your sales and marketing plans.
Read on to find out more.
Telesales or Telemarketing
There's a common misperception that telesales and telemarketing are one and the same thing: telephone calls received at inconvenient times from callers who know nothing about your business or industry, attempting to sell you something you don't feel you need.
It quite simply doesn't have to be this way. But it is all about using the correct definition and this in turn will set the right expectation of what can be delivered and what results to expect.
Telesales is the use of a telephone to take a sales order for a product or service within the call. For some companies this is a critical new business development tool; a steady flow of sales orders. It can also be used to cross sell or up sell products to existing customers and is typically achieved following a set script from which deviation is not encouraged.
Examples of telesales include selling of advertising space, insurance products, utility supply switching and mobile phone upgrades.
Telemarketing is the use of the telephone to make appointments with decision makers. This is a more complex process requiring a highly professional phone call, which might require some flexibility in conversation and a dialogue to establish trust and credibility.
Success in telemarketing is often achieved after a number of follow-up calls and carefully selected supporting information being sent by post or email.
Business to Business or Business to Consumer
Business to Consumer telesales is all about numbers. High volumes of scripted calls with multiple low value sales orders.
Both approaches have their place depending upon the industry and type of business or agency making the calls. It is vital that at the outset the definition is built into the plan of the type of call required. In this way the expectation is set accordingly for both the individuals making the calls and the company that will benefit from them. Importantly it will also ensure that the customer or client receives a style of call that's appropriate for the relationship they have with the business.
To achieve successful telemarketing it's essential to integrate it into the broader marketing and sales plans in your company.
Position telemarketing strategically to ensure that when you call prospects or clients they are warm and receptive to the messages you are saying. If they have seen an advertisement or press article or perhaps received some direct marketing material that supports the telemarketing messages then they will be far more likely to both understand the reason for the call and respond favourably to the request for an appointment.
Telemarketing is not about quick, standalone tactical phone calls as a desperate measure to stem a drop in sales enquiries. It is more about adding a highly effective sales pipeline tool into the mix of things you do to attract new customers and clients.
The best order of play for effective telemarketing is to position it in the middle of the new business marketing process.
As an example:
- Design and develop sales brochure
- Issue press release
- Send out direct marketing materials
- Telemarketing to drive sales appointments
- Follow up direct marketing as appropriate
- Secure sales
- After sales support and testimonial stories for website, press release and sales materials
Timing is crucial for telemarketing. The timing in the sales processes in your company as well as including it in your annual sales and marketing plan.
If you can include telemarketing to support the generation of sales appointments around or just before the key buying times of your products and services to ensure that your sales pipeline is always full at those important times. Most businesses in almost every market sector see seasonal variations in sales patterns. Plan telemarketing in advance to boost those peaks and perhaps to also fill the troughs when otherwise sales are hard to come by and telemarketing will become an integral and cost effective part of the growth of your company.
Setting achievable telemarketing objectives that can demonstrate a true return on your investment is important to retain focus in everyone involved in the process.
Work backwards from the number of sales you need to achieve:
- Our plan requires us to achieve sales value = £ 'a'
- This is achieved (on average) by sales volume = 'b' sales
- We achieve a sale (on average) every 'c' appointments
- We can create 1 appointment every 30 telemarketing calls
- 60 telemarketing calls can be made every day
- We have 'd' number of people to call in our database
- This equates to 'e' number of days of calling
- At £ 'f' per day our telemarketing will therefore cost us £ 'g'
- Our return on our investment is therefore £ 'a' - 'g' = £ X
This doesn't include other elements in the cost of sale such as marketing materials and sales person or account manager's time but is an example of how you can set objectives for your telemarketing at the outset that genuinely feed into your sales value targets.
In-house or Agency
A lot of companies and agencies may believe they have the expertise to run effective telemarketing campaigns and activities in-house. In some cases this may well be true with staff knowing the products and services intimately.
However it's often worth considering using a professional telemarketing company and especially one that is willing and able to get into the heart of your business and really understand the strategic objectives and style of how you work.
Writing a strong brief will help such an agency to get things right first time, so work through this step by step guide to make sure you have everything covered.
Your selected agency should challenge you about the strength of your marketing messages and work with you to ensure they are as strong as they might me. They will also write a clear and succinct 'script' that will help the callers to deliver these messages and secure a high proportion of appointments. Make sure you are totally comfortable with the script before the campaign begins.
Whether you decide to run your telemarketing in-house or use an agency, make sure you set clear and measurable objectives at the outset and have regular reviews and updates as you go through the campaign. Most importantly, make sure you tell everyone in your business what's happening so that any enquiries that come in are effectively and professionally handled, by whomever receives the call.
Download our free guide to B2B Telemarketing
Download our free guide to B2B Telemarketing, complete with telemarketing secrets that can help transform your telemarketing campaigns.
For more help on setting up a telemarketing campaign or for a general discussion about how to make telemarketing work for your business please call Geoff Thomas on 0117 302 0000