You’ve gone through it yourself. You know – the phone call that comes in at the most inconvenient time like when you’re chilling after a long day or on a Sunday while you’re watching your favorite TV shows with the family.
The person on the other end of the line isn’t someone you know. It’s a telemarketer offering you a new product or service. Perhaps the telemarketer is from a company you’ve done business with. Regardless, this isn’t the time for a sales call.
You don’t even grant the telemarketer 20 seconds on the phone. The call is ended but you know it won’t be the last. If not in a few hours, then maybe over the next few days or the following weekend.
Telemarketing has built up a negative reputation over the last few decades. Countries such as the United States, Singapore, and Australia have created Do Not Call (DNC) registries to give their citizens a measure of protection against these companies that invade their rights to privacy.
Penalties for violating the rules of the DNC registry can be quite costly. For example, in Singapore, a company that violates the DNC registry can be fined up to $1 Million. In the United States, a company can be fined almost $50,000 per call.
So in view of the above, why should you do telemarketing for your business in 2022 and beyond?
The 2 Types Of Telemarketing
If some of you are still shaking your head from our previous statement, to understand why telemarketing is important for your business, we have to discuss the 2 types of telemarketing.
1. Outbound Telemarketing
These are the calls made by telemarketers to people who are identified in a list of leads that are provided by the company. The leads list is often generated by the company’s digital marketing team through SEO tactics or paid ads.
People don’t get irate if they are familiar with the company or have made inquiries in the past. Outbound telemarketing becomes a problem for consumers if the call comes from a company they aren’t familiar with and offers products or services they don’t need.
Unfortunately, there are companies that incorporate shady business practices such as buying leads from unscrupulous third parties. These leads aren’t “scrubbed” or cross-referenced from the DNC registry and can get you in trouble.
2. Inbound Telemarketing
In contrast, inbound telemarketing covers the calls made by customers to your company often to inquire or relay concerns about your products or services.
The problem that’s commonly associated with inbound telemarketing is the perceived incompetence of the telemarketer. A potential customer might be asking for information about a specific product but the telemarketer can’t seem to give the right answers.
Customer support services is another form of inbound telemarketing because it gives your company the opportunity to upsell or promote a new product or service.
However, if the customer is irate, the last thing he wants to hear is a sales pitch about one of your products.
The Benefits Of Telemarketing For Your Business
You can incorporate both types of telemarketing into your business and find great success.
Outbound and inbound telemarketing can help you generate new sales while at the same time enhancing your business brand by providing top-level customer service.
Here are the 6 benefits of telemarketing for your business.
1. Reduce Operating Costs
You don’t have to hire Full-Time Employees (FTEs) to do telemarketing for your company. You can outsource telemarketing to an agency or to remote workers such as freelancers and virtual assistants.
By outsourcing telemarketing to qualified service providers, you can lower operating costs significantly because the payment structure is flexible. You can negotiate a payment structure based on performance whereby the agency or freelancer is paid commissions or on a productive hour basis.
2. Provide Personalized Service
Having Artificial Intelligence (AI) handle customer service and inbound sales is convenient but has its share of limitations. For one, if the AI is programmed to handle a set of questions, customer inquiries that fall outside the scope won’t get resolved.
A human telemarketing agent can provide all the answers that a customer needs and go the extra mile by offering solutions that are specific to his concerns.
3. Create a Feedback Cycle with Customers
A feedback cycle is a question-and-response interaction between the telemarketing agent and customer that happens in real-time. It helps resolve conflicts and improve relations between the business and its customers.
In comparison, an AI cannot create a feedback mechanism because it’s limited by its program. It cannot interact freely with customers and proactively work toward finding a workable solution.
4. Immediately Expand Your Customer Database
When a telemarketing agent qualifies a prospect, part of the process is getting information such as email addresses, mobile phone numbers, birth dates, and office and residential addresses.
These pieces of information can be used to build a customer database or a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
With a CRM in place, you can consistently update the status of your customers and prospects. Thus, if a prospect says “no” initially, you can have another agent contact him a few months later and see if he can convert him into a paying customer.
5. Book Appointments with Decision-Makers
Telemarketing agents aren’t only limited to selling products and services or attending to customer inquiries. They can also set appointments for you. The challenge of booking appointments is getting past the gatekeeper.
Usually, the gatekeeper is the secretary or receptionist of the company’s top executive. You can find telemarketing agents with the experience and knowledge for getting past the gatekeepers and successfully set you up with appointments with the key decision-makers.
6. Widen the Reach of Your Sales Team
Can you accommodate orders from other countries? If so, an outbound team of telemarketers can widen your sales reach. You can hire bilingual telemarketers and designate them for specific locations. Schedule their work shifts according to the region they are targeting.
For example, if your business is based in Los Angeles and you’re targeting customers from Madrid, hire local agents who can write and speak fluent Spanish and schedule their work shift from 11:00 pm to 6:00 am which is 8:00 am to 5:00 pm in Madrid.
How To Run Telemarketing For Your Business
Telemarketers are often subjected to public ridicule and vitriol. They are presented as pests who make opportunities out of the most inopportune times to generate sales and earn commissions.
But telemarketers are just like you – people who are out to make a living by performing the tasks they’re paid to do.
The problem is not the telemarketers but the company that employs them.
There are companies that use guerilla-like tactics to meet their objectives. Instead of a laser-focused approach, they fire a shotgun and blindly hit unsuspecting targets.
These companies will require their telemarketers to keep calling at any hour and any day of the week – and sometimes more than twice on a Sunday to get your attention.
Telemarketing becomes a numbers game. The larger the number of targets hit, the higher the probability of closing a deal or getting confidential information from prospects.
Because of these unscrupulous companies, telemarketing has developed a bad reputation and many businesses steer clear of it to protect their brand.
The truth is that you can run telemarketing services and get the desired results without affecting your brand.
1. Generate Your Leads List
Don’t take shortcuts by buying a leads list. Generate your leads list by using organic digital marketing strategies. The success of your telemarketing program will depend on the quality of your leads list – and the website is the best tool to capture leads!
Drive traffic to your website by frequently posting content on social media, blogging at least once a week, having your business registered in an online search directory, and investing in paid ads or Pay-Per-Click ads (PPC).
Make sure you have a clear and definitive Call-to-Action (CTA) on your homepage. Tell the website visitor what you want him to do: “Join Now”, “Sign Up Now”, and “Buy Now!” are commonly used CTAs that continue to be effective.
You can also offer something for free – an e-book or a 30-minute consultation – in exchange for the site visitor’s email address. Whatever you plan to offer the prospective customer, it must be worth their email address.
Contact forms are also a great way to generate leads. The forms must be visible, easy and simple to fill out.
2. Outsource – But Not Entirely
If you’re planning to run a telemarketing operation for the first time, it would be better to outsource the activity to a qualified third-party service provider.
There are 2 good reasons for outsourcing telemarketing:
1. Save money; as mentioned earlier, outsourcing agencies have flexible payment options available from commission-based to per productive hour.
2. Capitalize on the agency’s knowledge and experience; these agencies already have the processes in place from recruitment to IT.
Outbound telemarketing is usually outsourced because this type of operation is busier, requires specialized hardware and software, and runs with more people.
You can outsource outbound telemarketing and run inbound telemarketing operations in-house. Why?
Most of the people who will reach out to your business are paying customers. To maintain top-quality customer service, you want the inbound channels managed by agents who are well-versed with your business, its products, and services.
You don’t need a lot of agents to handle inbound telemarketing. What’s important is that you have at least one person to manage different inbound channels: phone, email, and chat.
3. Create a Buyer’s Profile
Different strokes for different folks.
You can’t apply the same sales tactics to everyone. An executive of a large corporation might be less responsive to your offer because his day could be stacked with different activities.
In comparison, a small business owner might be more receptive to your offer because he could have more available time. Likewise, a younger person might be more engaging to talk to compared to an older person.
Creating a buyer’s profile will help your agents find ways to build better rapport with your prospective customers.
They’ll know how to approach them and offer the products and services that will appeal to them. A more focused, targeted-customer approach to prospects will result in fewer irate responses and a higher success rate.
4. Design a Training Program
If you’ve decided to run telemarketing in-house, you must design a training program that will help your agents develop the necessary technical and fundamental skills needed to keep your prospects impressed and satisfied.
A comprehensive training program typically includes the following topics:
- Company History
- Product Information
- Technical Specifications
- How to Use the Calling Equipment and Software
- How to Update the CRM
- How to Prepare Trouble Tickets
- How to Prepare the Calling Reports
- Understanding the Telemarketing Process Flow
- Sales Presentation/Customer Support
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Answers to FAQs
- Rebuttals; How to Handle Irate Customers
Spread out the training program over the course of a week. Give the agents plenty of time to practice. Test the product knowledge of the agents. The last thing you want is an agent who’s scrambling to find answers.
Here’s a popular question:
“Should we use scripts?”
The answer is “Yes”.
Scripts are the telemarketer’s “cheat codes”. The agent will be more confident knowing what to say to prospects, and the best ways to answer questions, and rebut objections.
A script will ensure that the agent stays on course and protect your company from getting into legal hot water because the practice of telemarketing is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). One of these provisions is that you’re required to disclose certain information about your company.
However, you must train the agent to sound “natural” and not come across as if he was reading off a script.
Yes, prospects know they are reading from a script but your telemarketing agents must be capable of engaging them in natural conversation while staying within the script.
5. Set Up a Telemarketing System
A telemarketing system incorporates processes that help organize the agents’ conduct of work.
Here’s an example:
- Step 1 – The Dialer Manager programs the predictive dialer to manage and handle all of the calls that will be made every day.
- Step 2 – The Dialer Manager prints out copies of the leads list that includes the personal information of each prospect.
- Step 3 – Calling agents will follow the structure of the script – greeting, company introduction, disclosure of confidentiality and recording of the conversation, product/service information, procurement of personal information, and salutation.
- Step 4 – Upload personal information on CRM.
- Step 5 – Quality Assurance Officer will review the call and assess the performance of the caller.
Depending on the type of telemarketing program you’re running – and if you have the budget, invest in good equipment and reliable software.
Inbound marketing can effectively run with chat plugins, an email system, and an inbound phone setup that routes calls to available agents.
Outbound marketing is typically more complicated and expensive and may require a programmable predictive dialer to improve the connect rate and increase productivity.
Lastly, monitor the performance of your telemarketing system. Set goals and establish metrics to measure your team’s performance. Systems shouldn’t be set in stone. There will always be room for improvement.
Telemarketing isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. For business, telemarketing can help boost sales without affecting your brand. Design a telemarketing program that’s specific to the needs of your market and aligned with your business goals.
Rather than hang up, prospects won’t mind spending a few minutes listening to what your agent has to offer.
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