Choosing a Telemarketing Company
The modern customer is bombarded with more forms of marketing than ever and is also more marketing savvy than ever. Finding effective ways to reach out to potential and existing customers to engage them with your product or service is therefore tougher than it’s ever been.
Despite the rise of digital media the time tested methods of telemarketing still provide the personal and immediate elements required for successful lead generation, appointment setting or data cleansing. Professional telemarketing agencies can help you bring new business in the door while protecting your brand image and reputation.
Hiring a telemarketing company is a significant matter and requires the same diligence you’d apply when hiring a new member of staff. After all, the telemarketing company will be speaking on your behalf. In fact, as far as the customer is concerned, you’re one and the same.
This Buyers’ Guide was written in partnership with Telemarketing Business Experts Virtual Sales Limited who bring over 50 years experience of working in business development.
The Benefits of Telemarketing
Expanding the customer base to bring in new streams of revenue is critical for any business and so hiring the right sales team is essential for successful business development. But a sales team only has so much time to scout out new opportunities and trawl through lists of potential prospects. Taking these tasks away from your primary sellers frees them up to concentrate on what they do best - the key tasks of actually selling and managing customer accounts.
So telemarketing isn’t just about getting larger volumes of leads but utilising your existing manpower in the most efficient way possible. A more expansive list of benefits includes:
- Lets you concentrate on core tasks
Let specialists take care of lead generation and appointment setting while your sales team concentrates on developing new business.
- Provides valuable leads
The referrals provided to your sales team are guaranteed to be receptive to calls/meetings and interested in your products.
- Cleanses data
Your lists of prospects can be cleansed of inaccuracies, gone-aways and duplicates so you’ll know that all the remaining data is worth retaining.
Unlike with staff you’ve hired in-house, telemarketing agencies can scale campaigns up or down due to changing demand cycles, seasonal business or unexpected events.
Taking on extra staff to perform telemarketing would involve recruitment, training and HR documentation. Most of this effort can be avoided by hring a telemarketing company.
Unlike other forms of lead generation, the prospects supplied by telemarketing companies have been contacted personally to assess their interest. This personal contact greatly improves the quality of the leads or appointments supplied so your sales staff can approach these new contacts with confidence and a high chance of converting them into sales.
Of course telemarketing agencies don’t just offer lead generation but a whole host of other services. These include:
Appointment Setting: Where telemarketing agents arrange an appointment with a prospective client. This can be an agreement in principle where you go on to arrange the specific date and time or the agency can synch with your diarie(s) to fill appointment slots automatically. Cold calling and selling face to face are very different skills – outsourcing appointment setting frees up your salespeople to concentrate on the latter.
Data Cleansing: If you’ve noticed a marked downturn in the response rates from your direct marketing campaigns it could mean the data you’re using is out of date. Email marketers also have to be careful about keeping their lists accurate to avoid being blacklisted for spam. A telemarketing company can go through your data contact by contact to ensure all details are correct while assessing each prospect for selling opportunities.
Data Procurement: Telemarketing companies can work with a list of prospects that you provide or source data for you. Accurate lists can be found, bought, checked against the TPS and cleansed for use in your campaign.
Telesales: Complete outsourcing of sales operations is also possible and popular with smaller businesses that don’t have dedicated sales teams. If your products or services are suitable for selling over the phone a telemarketing company can take the customer right up to the point of payment and then hand them over to you to close the deal.
Market Research: Telemarketing companies have the right combination of skills and resources to conduct customer satisfaction research or polls while keeping an eye out for up-selling or cross-selling opportunities.
Integrated Campaigns: Maximise the return on investment from email or direct mail campaigns by following up with calls. Some telemarketing companies can coordinate and execute this process from start to finish.
Bespoke Telemarketing Campaigns: If you require a unique mix of elements for your campaign then a telemarketing company can tailor their services to suit. Your products may change frequently or require tailoring for different customers; you might have customers in a particular time zone or your campaigns might need to be intermittent. Whatever your requirements, a good telemarketing company will be able to work around them with professionalism and flexibility.
Choosing a Telemarketing Agency
When you hire a telemarketing outfit you’re not just procuring a service; you’re choosing people who will represent your company to the outside world and who will be the first point of contact with potential customers. It’s therefore vital that the service you choose is not only cost effective but lives up to the standards your company sets and fits in with your ethos.
Factors to consider when choosing a telemarketing firm include:
- Experience: Does the company have a strong track record and do they have experience of working with similar product or services to yours? The more knowledge they have of your sector the more likely it is they’ll be able to hit the ground running and quickly start sending new business your way.
- Data Quality and Handling: Does the telemarketing company have the IT infrastructure for proper handling of your data? You don’t want them calling the same prospects over and over, turning off people who might otherwise have been interested at a later date. If the company is sourcing data on your behalf make sure it’s as accurate and targeted as possible and that it’s checked against the Telephone Preference Service. This will help to avoid black marks against your brand and even potential legal action.
- Flexibility: Can the telemarketing company meet the specific demands of your campaign and will they work with any out of the ordinary requests you might make of them? For example, if you’re selling highly regulated products or services they might need to stick to a rigid script – will they be able to do this?
- Proactivity: Is the company one which will go out of its way to get you those extra leads and appointments or will they just work robot-like through a list and then consider their job done? Do they seem to have a good understanding of your campaign to which they can apply ingenuity?
- Reporting: Will the telemarketing company provide in-depth reports on what they’ve been doing and what results they’ve obtained? This is crucial for planning future campaigns and working out return on investment.
- Credentials: Is the company a member of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA)? This is the foremost professional body for telemarketing companies and attests to their standing within the industry.
Assessing the above criteria for any given telemarketing company does require effort. To come up with a shortlist of companies look at their websites, paying particular attention to testimonials from previous clients. If the company has good feedback and comments from its prior customers it won’t hide them away.
When interviewing prospective agencies try to visit their offices in person. This will give you a good feel for how their staff work and their level of professionalism. This is key to choosing a company that fits with your brand’s ethos and who you can work and communicate effectively with. Attention to detail is critical - leave no questions unasked and no factors unconsidered. Even seemingly trivial things like the regional accents of telemarketing agents could have a big effect on the success of your campaign. A visit will also let you see how much the company values its staff. Good telemarketing companies provide good working conditions because they know this leads to greater engagement and productivity.
It bears repeating that hiring a telemarketing company requires the same level of consideration as hiring staff members as you’re essentially hiring a voice for your company. You don’t get a second chance at first impressions with customers so take the time to find a company that will not only produce good volumes but that will also protect your brand’s reputation and standing within the marketplace. Take on the advice above and you’ll soon be enjoying the satisfaction of an expanding customer base, greater client retention and a growing bottom line.
This Buyers’ Guide was written in partnership with Telemarketing Business Expert Virtual Sales Limited.
About VSL: “VSL offers sales consultants that come with many years' experience and do not need to work from scripts. In addition we can offer our clients a very flexible approach to their telemarketing campaigns starting from as little as one day a week. This enables even the smaller based companies to be able to afford an extension to their sales efforts and really make a difference.”