Updated May 31, 2023
Introduction to Successful Telemarketing
With the rapid growth in telecommunications in the past few decades, it is now possible for people to be in touch with each other continuously. Mobile telephony, internet and voice calls, and several other internet call options.
The revolutionary changes in telecommunications helped person-to-person communications and government–to–government and citizenry–to–government communications. In parallel, business-to-business and business-to-consumer communications for marketing also emerged as viable alternatives to direct sales and marketing through mass media.
Telemarketing Definition and Scope
Different countries refer to telemarketing services by other names. It is known as telesales in the UK and more popularly called telemarketing in the USA. A telemarketer is primarily responsible for selling products or services over the phone. They could work from a call center, a private office, or at home.
Telemarketing may be a cost-effective way to reach potential consumers because it eliminates travel and other overhead costs, and call center executives to have a database available to work on. However, a little effort toward understanding the consumer’s strategies and needs can provide a better response to telemarketing efforts.
1. Is telemarketing needed for the company’s products
The first step in the process is whether the company should have a telemarketing team based on the industry domain and products the firm sells. E.g., technical products may require demonstration on-site and further presentations to prospective clients. Or they may want to see them functioning in a shop or retail outlet before making a purchase decision. Financial products, mobile services, insurance and loan products, and technology support in the IT industry are all possible areas where Tele-calling works effectively.
2. Training of call center employees
If the company has decided to go ahead with telemarketing techniques, the first step is recruiting team leaders and building a team of tele-callers who have to do cold calls or make calls to existing customers. They have to be trained in the proper introduction, showing courtesy to customers, asking permission to continue the conversation and most importantly they should have a good awareness of the company they work for, its objectives and the products they sell and also have in-depth knowledge of the products or services offered by the company. Many a time, people encounter telecallers who could be more courteous and end up irritating prospective customers.
The tele-caller must have full awareness of the sales process from start to finish. It includes billing, shipping, refunding or return policies, customer support, and follow-up procedures apart from warranty terms for the product or service. The tele-caller should have good communication skills in the language in which he or she interacts with the customer. They have to speak with authority but should not sound harsh or mumble with words that show a lack of communication skills. The caller should exude confidence in his tone and seen to be proud of selling the product and the company to the consumer.
Telemarketing experts often say that developing the skills for this numbers game requires patience and time. However, the executives must make several telemarketing calls daily and positively accept customer rejections.
Telemarketers can stick to a script provided by the company, but the customer should not feel the call center agent is blindly following it. Instead, minor changes and modifications to the script based on the response from the customer should be made. The executives need to think on their feet, have the presence of mind, and deliver results.
3. Call monitoring and feedback
Telemarketing efforts can work only if the call center executive is monitored regularly for his performance in dealing with customers, sales pitch, description of products and the need for the consumer to buy it, and the ability to keep the conversation live before closing the deal. Call centers to record marketing calls for quality or training purposes and inform the customer about the recording. Telecallers should refrain from sound rehearsed and repeating a memorized script, but after introducing the company and themselves, they should continue the conversation based on the consumer’s response.
Team leaders are responsible for nurturing and enabling the executives to perform. Still, there should not be any undue pressure on the part of the company or those upward in the hierarchy, so much so the employee, out of stress, breaks down. However, call centers should use call recording for training and feedback to identify improvement areas.
Developing a rapport with the customer before going in for a sales pitch is very important. Developing a connection shows that the company and the executive are interested in them beyond just sales or business.
4. Follow-up calls
Once a telemarketer contacts a customer, the customer often only decides to purchase but may seek clarification or request time to decide. In all such cases, follow-up calls must be made to address further clarification on the product or service. And if the customer has specified a particular day or time, executives should stick to that schedule and not disturb the customer otherwise. The follow-up calls can also focus one step ahead, a direct interaction with the customer by a marketing or sales executive.
It could be for a presentation or demo. It’s essential to note down the details or answers provided by the customer, either on paper or on the computer, so that it will be helpful while making follow-up calls. Recording those details can be beneficial. Even if another agent or executive follows up, they will be armed with all the relevant information and can avoid asking the same questions again.
5. Invest in a CRM solution
Customer Relationship Management is now integral to any firm’s sales and distribution process. Companies must invest in customer relationship management (CRM) software based on business growth. A CRM solution enables companies to have a complete database of the consumer, his or her buying habits, some information about his possessions, annual income, email ids, phone numbers, and spending habits. CRM solution works best with robust backend support through an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for the entire company’s operations.
The CRM service provider should be able to provide continued technical and software support to meet the increasing demands of the company when it achieves more growth and business.
6. Believe in the 10:10:80 principle:
Customers are of different types, and telecallers could face rejections or cold responses from people. It is best to keep in mind the 10:10:80 principle. About 10% of the people will say no to everything, and another 10% may say yes to a telecaller’s sales call as they have difficulty saying no. Another 80% of prospects require the agent to present the product or service correctly. That explains why some telemarketers are successful in business conversion compared to others. A qualified agent or executive may introduce the company as having served the industry successfully for the past 50 years and tell about new company business. Then proceed with a statement: May I ask you a couple of questions before proceeding?
7. Be specific in what you have to offer and avoid close-ended questions
Most often, the receiver of a call, irrespective of his job or business, could be busy with work or meetings and hence may need more time for elaborate conversations. It is always better to ask an open-ended question than a closed-ended question. Do you trade in the share market? If the answer is a firm ‘no,’ the conversation ends with no potential for going ahead. On the other hand, a question such as: ‘Would you be interested in trading with us given the proper support, incentives, and guidance? ‘is a better way of addressing both a first-time investor and someone already engaged in it.
Also, if the product or service requires a reasonably good investment, it is better to ask the potential customer how much they can spend on such a service. There is no pointing wasting time on a customer who can’t afford your services.
8. Telecallers should not be overworked
Telecalling is indeed a cost center for any company. Still, it leads to better customer engagement and better awareness about the company and products among consumers and enables feedback. Informing existing customers about the launch of new products or services is another advantage of this method. They must interact with the customers in a positive and confident tone and voice, and an overworked employee may need to converse more effectively. The organization should give call center employees sufficient time for relaxation or rest and provide opportunities for growth within the organization rather than keeping them stuck at the agent level.
9. Avoid irritating and disturbing customers
In many countries, telecom regulators have provided telephone and mobile subscribers a facility to opt for do-not-disturb (DND) facilities so that messages and calls from marketing agents do not reach them. Even for those numbers not registered under DND, keeping a cut-off time for calling customers is better. Although a call center may operate three shifts, calls should only be made based on the convenience of the customers.
In many sectors in India, such as insurance, companies are now forced to opt for online marketing as DND is strictly implemented by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). It has become easier for insurers to sell products in the presence of leads. They now rely heavily on inbound marketing. As a result, the proportion of business due to direct sales has dwindled from 6.4% to 2.55%.
10. Goal setting is important
It is a cost center but must be matched by conversion of sales or improved customer satisfaction in the case of existing customers. Therefore, setting goals is essential. Getting disappointed with a strategy not working and not making any changes is suicidal. There should be quarterly goals for telemarketers, and more incentives can be provided for improved performance. You need to calculate the number of calls required to close a sale and multiply it by the product goal to determine the total number of calls required. A company should be willing to try out alternative telemarketing strategies or consult experts if they need help attaining targets.
Telemarketing can be a cost-effective marketing strategy that eliminates the need for travel and face-to-face meetings to make cold calls. They are the first step in establishing contact with a customer and taking the telemarketing sales process forward. However, many countries need help with government restrictions regarding who can be contacted for business purposes on the telephone and mobile. Therefore, it makes a good strategy to combine online marketing and inbound marketing through websites and blogs, enabling chat facilities on websites.
The success of telemarketing jobs depends on how well-trained the agents or executives are, how they follow up, and how they close deals. It combines technology, good quality human resources, telemarketing skills, and connecting the strategy to supplement other marketing initiatives that will yield results for the company. Good telephone manners and etiquette are vital for telemarketing sales to succeed.
It usually works best with B2C businesses than B2B, where direct interaction with key decision-makers and presentations are vital to clinching deals. The telecallers must refrain from giving false promises or information and nagging them to buy products because they have to meet the targets set by the company. Ultimately, the effectiveness of the telemarketing technique also depends on the quality of the product, how customers perceive the after-sales service and the brand value that customers perceive.
This has been a guide to Successful Telemarketing. Here we discuss a brief overview with ten cost-effective tips to get the best results. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –