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Telemarketing Basics

Telemarketing is a method of direct marketing (direct marketing also includes direct mailing, electronic communications, faxes) where telephone is used to sell goods or services or obtain customers’ feedback or research is carried out via telephone conversations.

There are two main categories of telemarketing:

Customers present, past or prospective (future) are contacted with a purpose of sales or introduction of a new product or service, lead generation, for the purpose of information gathering or appointments generation where further sale can be discussed and agreed.

Across the industry it is estimated that there are 164,000 outbound telemarketers agents (DTI figures) who make, on average, approx 50 outbound calls per day. That’s over 7Bn per annum.

Telemarketing can be done from a company’s office (inhouse), from a call centre (telemarketing agency), or even from home.

In order to make telemarketing process effective an initial call is made to establish/identify prospect’s needs/requirements, this is often followed up, if requested or agreed, by info via post or e-mail and then prospect is called again to motivate a decision being made and possibly a purchase.

You can target your past client, where main task for telemarketer is to re-establish a collapsed relationship, your present clients, where you encourage them to buy more from you and prospects (future clients) where you identify possible requirements and make an offer they can’t refuse! These prospects can be identified by industries, their shopping trends, their requirements of your product or service or simply by general calls to a wide range of prospects. High volume of calls and large number of prospects called by telemarketers is extremely important as only a small percentage of these end up purchasing your product or service.

There are a lot of negative perceptions and criticisms. Telemarketing and telesales have been downgraded in people's opinions in the last few years. There are a lot of people who think that telemarketing is a low-skilled profession. Having been in the industry for a few years, I think quite the opposite. It's one of the most creative jobs, telemarketers are people who generate the leads - usually working in the back office, so it's not one of the most glamorous jobs, but it's one of the most important ones. It's often telesales, lead generation, or market research, appointments generation, etc.

Your prospective client will have their first impression of your company through the telemarketer that calls them, their representation of your company, their knowledge of your company and understanding of prospect’s needs, ability to ask the right questions and make correct conclusions, follow up with an informative e-mail or letter and then make a very productive and efficient follow up call. Telemarketer’s job is not just to talk, but to listen also, and to identify interest. Our industry has been spoiled by many pushy agents who disregard the need of listening and understanding “NO”. That’s one of the reasons why Business-to-Consumer telemarketing is close to dying as among many reasons, people got fed up and now there are over 75% of UK households that are registered with TPS (Telephone Preference Service), stopping unsolicited and uninvited marketing and sales calls.

Also, to tackle the view-point that most of the telemarketers are low-skilled individuals. I have only worked in the environment of well educated and ambitious individuals - some use it as a step into further career and some just love the environment of changing challenges - as this is what working in a marketing agency brings - continuous challenge!

Telemarketers have to think on the spot and have to make quick and good decisions because every conversation is different and they have to qualify leads, opportunities, sales, and clients. That's why script reading doesn't work well in telemarketing and we, as a telemarketing agency, do not read scripts, but encourage creativity that boosts performance and success (unless industries' regulations state otherwise - which is rare).

Telemarketing is important!

Telemarketing campaigns can be used for a variety of purposes but mainly to produce more sales and leads, but isn't it the way most of our businesses grow? How many businesses are prepared to invest a few thousand pounds into advertising that brings a very small amount of leads and is overrated, when telemarketing costs less per lead/sale made?

There are regulations, of course – this is from Information Commissioner's Office website:

“The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations cover unsolicited direct marketing messages sent by a range of electronic methods, including phone calls, faxes, emails and texts. Depending on the type of communication, different rules apply. Some rules apply to both individuals and organisations, while others only apply to individuals. Regardless of circumstances, those conducting direct marketing should always identify themselves, provide their contact information and suppress the details of those people who choose to opt out.

Telesales Calls -Regulation 21

Organisations cannot make direct marketing calls to either individuals or organisations if they have been told they do not want to receive them, or if they have registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS). These services operate in the same way as the FPS.”