Telemarketing may seem like an annoying thing that companies do at the most inconvenient times (like when you’re playing the speed round on Family Feud while cooking dinner), but it’s actually a great tool for companies to utilize for several different reasons. Whether you’re a small business looking for feedback on your first major campaign, or a non-profit that just needs some extra fundraising support, outbound call centers or answering services that offer outbound calling are a helpful, affordable alternative than making all of those calls yourself. If you’re not familiar with telemarketing, check out our infographic!
Read our extended resource to learn more about telemarketing and how it’s used by call centers. If you’re writing about telemarketing on your own website, please copy the code below to use this infographic:
<img title=”Learn About Telemarketing Infographic” alt=”Learn About Telemarketing Infographic” src=”https://www.specialtyansweringservice.net/wp-content/uploads/learn-about-telemarketing-infographic.jpg” width=”836″ height=”7101″ />
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Outbound contact centers are mainly used for 3 types of applications:
- Customer service
- Telemarketing (sales)
Within the telemarketing umbrella there are different types of outbound calls:
- Cold calls for telesales
- Proactive notification of deals and offers
- Market research activities
- Fundraising efforts
- Lead follow-up based on customer interest
Contact centers can be classified in various ways:
- Offshore: Usually located in a different state – primarily Asia
- Nearshore: Located in countries close to the United States such as Mexico and Brazil
- Onshore: Usually located in America, employing native English speakers. Onshore is best for telemarketing
Brick and Mortar vs. At Home
Using at home agents is a major trend in telemarketing, but it has it’s risks:
- Agent development, training and quality may be significantly affected
- Untrained agents may directly affect telemarketing sales productivity
Outbound vs. Inbound vs. Mixed
It is best to have dedicated agents handle outbound telemarketing initiatives.
- A dedicated telemarketing agent should have the ability to convince a potential buyer about the benefits of a product or service, and also be able to close a sale
- An inbound agent only needs to follow a defined process to handle callers’ service requests
- The skill set required for telemarketing is very different from an inbound agent
Telemarketing Business Practices
List Management: Maintaining the list of prospects is a key step in the telemarketing process.
- Acquire a generic list of phone numbers
- Make qualifying calls to eliminate fax numbers, disconnected numbers and uninterested parties
- Scrub list periodically to update the database based on call output and other information
Telemarketing Applications: Telemarketing may be used for various business needs such as:
- Mailer follow-up
- Account activation and renewals
- Cross-sales and upsales
Telemarketing Challenges: List quality is an important parameter for telemarketing success.
- Often the list provided by the company many be substandard and the telemarketing center takes the blame for the program’s failure
- To run a successful campaign, a telemarketing center needs to focus on identifying the most desirable accounts, evaluating and improving conversion rates, and prioritizing which accounts to target first
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Since telemarketing is a form of sales, it is essential to monitor and measure metrics on a periodic basis. Some metrics to measure include:
- Call Metrics: deal with the effectiveness of the dialer technology as well as the list that is being used
- Outbound Time Metrics: The time involved in various activities
- Talk Time: the amount of time spent by the agent actually talking to the prospect
- Update Time: The time taken by the agent to update call outcome details in the system
- Total Handling Time: The sum of the talk time and the update time
- Agent Idle Time: The time between calls when the agent is idle
- Sales per Hour
- Conversion Rate
- Average Sale Amount per Call
- Total Sales Revenue
- Total Products Sold
Best Practices in Telemarketing
- Increase the number of calls: Assuming the conversion rate to be a constant, the higher the number of calls an agent can make, the better the sales metrics will be
- Remove non-value adding activities: Minimize non-value adding activities performed by an agent such as dial time, hold time, update time, etc.
- Personalize and customize the service offering: Use data analytics of the prospect’s previous history with the company to customize the service offering and increase sales
- Invest in coaching and training: Monitor how agents conduct themselves during a call
Choosing a Telemarketing Partner
Factors to consider when hiring a telemarketing call center:
- How well does the contact center train them?
- What is the agent attrition rate?
- What is the quality of the agents?
- Partner with a telemarketing company that can handle data accurately and securely
- Verify whether company complies with regulations such as PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards)
- The contact center should also have strong disaster recovery and business continuity plans
- Sales Verification: Every sale is verified by an independent quality assurance employee before the customer is billed
- Shadow Monitoring: Silent monitoring or shadow monitoring capabilities that allow clients to listen to the calls being made at any time
- Hosted Monitoring: Every call is listened to live by a client representative
Monitoring and Reporting:
- Daily Reports: Offer a snapshot of the previous day’s calling efforts
- Monthly Reports: Cover key metrics and call results for an entire month
- End of Term Reports: Capture the end results of the program
Telemarketing has evolved considerably in the past decade, but the fundamentals remain the same. With telemarketing, the contact center is a direct partner for the business and not just a vendor. As a result, the contact center will have to show the same commitment to the telemarketing program, monitoring and measuring it to ensure a successful campaign.