A professional, well structured and researched telemarketing campaign is a huge asset to any business.
Whether you are calling a customer to gain valuable feedback on your service, making an initial contact call to generate interest in your product, or flat-out going for sales, the telephone is an extremely powerful tool.
However, in today’s digital age, it’s easy to overlook the power of telemarketing and telesales which is a shame, because, for me, it is one of the fastest ways of generating business.
And it is easily measurable, efficient and comes with a few high-value benefits:
- It creates an immediate connection and helps you build a rapport with your customers.
- It builds an awareness of your product and services as well as giving you valuable customer feedback and insight.
- It generates leads and sales.
Telemarketing conducted the right way, will give you an immediate and powerful insight into your existing and potential customers — it will allow you to laser-focus other marketing efforts, such as search engine and social media marketing, as well as feeding your salesforce with the information required to secure high-value sales.
I started my sales career in direct marketing, selling home improvements door-to-door and worked my way up to selling into the boardrooms of some of the worlds largest tech-companies…but it was telemarketing that got me the best results in terms of generating interest and leads, which is the key to making sales.
Here is a good definition of the term from Investopedia, and you can see that telesales, is a component of telemarketing and where the focus is on one specific action — generating the sale.
Telemarketing is emotional — it builds a more personal connection between you and your customer, as opposed to sending out an email, or waiting for those clicks to come from your Google or social media campaign.
Granted, it is not as emotional as a face-to-face meeting, but it comes a close second and I am also talking about gaining speed and efficiency and especially in tough times when budgets are tight and results are needed rapidly.
Telemarketing, in my opinion, should be at the top of the list of marketing activities for most businesses.
I will give you a personal example:
I was contacted by a wine company and the opening words from the guy at the other end of the phone were to state who he was, the company he was calling from, and then he told me that he is calling me to sell me something!
I like that straight-up approach and he got my attention…and an order for a case of wine.
Let me explain to you that will take sales calls from anyone as I know how hard the job is, but one of the most annoying things you can do to me is to try to tell me you are not selling something…if you are.
Many people are not like me and they feel that telemarketing and telesales is an intrusion on their time — the least a telemarketer can do is to explain why they intend taking up the recipient’s valuable time and also to be honest.
The role of telemarketing
In the wine example above, it was a business-to-consumer role (B2C) and where it is reasonable to expect a sale.
That was an example of telesales and yes, the guy probably got a ton of rejections before landing a sales with me, but it is not just the sale that is important — he made a new connection and one that had bought.
And the entire process was easy to track and measure.
So let’s go a little deeper into a few other roles of telemarketing and put into context through my personal experience:
- Research — when I was launching my tech-staffing company, I conducted research on potential clients by calling marketing departments trying to gather information about the company. I simply asked them for information concerning their products, services, planned launches, and asked them how they differentiated from their competitors…and I told them it was because I wanted to be a supplier to them and precisely tailor my services to them.
- Past customers — I was consulting with a major company that had gone through a ton of salespeople over recent years and there were many customers on their CRM that had irregular contact. Rather than let another salesperson simply call and update the contact, the entire process was centralized and now marketing “owned” the contact, but only from an informational point. The results of each customer were passed directly to the sales director and he then made the decision to take on the customer personally, or distribute it to the salesperson he felt could best develop them. Sales increased dramatically and the overall number of salespeople was reduced.
- Follow-up on inbound inquiries — I had worked with the head of marketing for a software company that I co-founded and mounted a very specific digital marketing campaign to potential clients. I wanted the head of marketing to personally follow-up with each lead. This was because the campaign was financially based and I didn’t want product-focussed salespeople to try to sell straight off the bat.
- Lead generation and sales — this is the obvious one and I have worked at the sharp end of selling when I was at college (door-to-door sales) and in my early commercial sales career when I had to generate leads for the sales team by cold-calling.
- Customer service and satisfaction — I have used telemarketing as a valuable customer service tool over the years and it is amazing how many more opportunities you can uncover when you take the time to simply contact your customers regularly and with a purpose.
Telemarketing: The right way
There are so many options for companies in business today — you can find a company to take over almost any part of the business lifecycle process and telemarketing and telesales are no exceptions.
There are many telemarketing, telesales companies as well as telemarketing agents to choose from…but, I urge caution!
The best way to do this, if you possibly can, is to insource the process and if you cannot, then get an outside agency to train your own in-house personnel.
I say this because, in this way, you can have total control over the process and ensure that it fits perfectly with your overall sales and marketing strategy.
I talk here from experience.
I hired an outside agency one time, with disastrous results and it was after 3 attempts with some others!
Each agency failed to grasp the essence of what I was trying to do and simply ran their own cookie-cutter model.
I ended up hiring a freelance telemarketer, who worked with me for six months and then continued on a longer-term engagement.
Remember…you are letting people loose on your potential and existing customers.
There is only one real way to work with any form of telemarketing…at least in my opinion and that is to be extremely transparent and honest about the process.
Customers are people, just like you and me, and they resonate to toward those qualities — even when I was knocking people’s doors trying to sell them home improvements, I was honest and transparent.
And much to the dismay of my sales manager…but I got results.
I was genuinely sorry to disturb their evening.
I was equally not sorry to ask them if they would be interested in receiving a quote for any home improvements that they might be, or likely to be considering.
And I explained to them that it was totally free and without obligation.
That was it and they were free to engage…or slam the door shut, which a few did.
But not as many as you would expect!
Just as I later called large multi-national tech-companies that I wanted to do business with and explained to the marketing departments that I contacted as part of my research, that I wanted to gain as much knowledge about the products, services, and differentiators they had, in order to better align my services as a supplier.
It is always better, to be honest, and transparent — successful sales, which is the ultimate goal of any marketing campaign, is ultimately about the long-game.
With so many offers emerging on social media and through other marketing channels, it is easy to forget the simple processes and technologies of yesteryear and dismiss them as “old school.”
Yet, we use quotes from philosophers that existed in the same yesteryear and with pride.
I am a proponent of technology…and that is because I have operated in the tech space for almost all of my working and business life.
But, I am equally a proponent of maintaining the “human touch” — something that is under threat in these days of increasing automation.
And I am talking about the human touch with a total dose of honesty and transparency.
Telemarketing enables people and businesses to connect in a very straightforward manner and done the right way, the customer or potential customer will never feel “pushed” or coerced into anything.
They will always have control…as they should!
Use telemarketing to shorten sales lifecycles, to connect with your customers, and to keep the relationship going.
After all…it’s “tele” — at a distance…and you know the definition of marketing!
Contact me if you need any help as to how to build a profitable telemarketing strategy, or if you want any advice.
Last modified: September 8, 2020