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Insider Knowledge - Interview with a Senior Account Manager at The Telemarketing Company

At the Telemarketing Company we pride ourselves on the strength and experience of our account management team. The team has all been with us for many years and most began their career with us as telemarketers, which gives them a deep understanding of every aspect of a campaign. To give you the benefit of this experience and some insight into what is important in implementing telemarketing, we interview Nicola Catt, Senior Account Manager at The Telemarketing Company.

Tim Newman, Telemarketing Specialist

The Telemarketing Company

How long have you worked with The Telemarketing Company?

  • I joined the company in 2006. 

Over nine years I would imagine you’ve seen a pretty impressive number of campaigns. How many do you think you’ve run?

  •  All our Account Managers have a core set of clients to manage as 80-90% of our business is repeat. That aside, I’ve still run over a hundred projects and they are all different. We are B2B specialists but within B2B we work with clients in a wide range of sectors; we’ve had campaigns covering everything under the sun, including IT infrastructure, educational software, telephone headset manufacturers, printing companies, wholesalers, industry events and everything in between.

In your experience, what are the factors that are most likely to negatively impact a campaign’s success?

  • Poor data is a big one. If data is badly selected for the message it can be a big issue. For instance, if we are trying to contact larger companies and are only provided with switchboard numbers it can be an uphill battle. Also, if information is old or over called it can be challenging to make any headway. Of course, not having enough data can make things tricky too.

    Another aspect of running a campaign to be wary of is the information sent out to prospective customers. It’s important to make sure that during planning any collateral email shots are discussed at length. The message has to be spot on. If it falls short it will dissuade people from engaging when the call follows.

Can telemarketing work for any client?

  • It can, but you need a good proposition and USP to ensure a return on investment. Every sector is filled to the brim with strong messages; yours needs to stand out in some way.

    Many clients will highlight excellent customer service as their main USP; this may well be a fact, but virtually every other company on earth sings that same song.

    Telemarketing certainly isn’t a magic wand, but if you do the ground work it can deliver a really good return and adds value beyond the target outcomes.

    It’s vital to think through what value the calling can add, aside from producing results. So, things like capturing up to date contacts, direct lines and email addresses. Also finding out why a prospect isn’t interested, or when they might be interested in the future is valuable information. Regardless of the appointments we set, we provide every client with an up to the minute, accurate data set containing the contacts they are most interested in at the end of a campaign. 

You obviously deal with many different types of client on a daily basis. What advice would you give to clients with regard to getting the best results from working with an agency?

  • Client input is key: the more information and feedback we receive, the better the message we can present. The first calls on a campaign will be exploratory, and as such may need polishing. We always send a selection of early call recordings to our clients, so the more hints and tips we get back from them, the quicker we can hone the message and start making real headway.
  • Open and honest communication is important in managing expectations for both parties: for example, we will always tell clients when a campaign isn't going to work if there is a good reason for doing so.
  • Getting the level and type of communication right from the start provides a good foundation for both the relationship and the campaign. It is important for us to know when and how often to contact a client. Some clients want to be called at least twice a day, others would rather you just email them if something urgent comes up. We don’t want to pester or ignore a client, so it’s essential to strike the right balance straight off the bat.

Based on your experience, what would be your tops tips for campaign success?

  • If you have priority data - do not call this first - despite it seeming like the right place to begin, you should always cut your teeth on the less important records. That way you can make sure your message is tip-top before hitting the big names. 
  •  If you have undertaken telemarketing before, look at each campaign with a fresh eye. No two campaigns are the same, regardless of first appearances. This is particularly important for us where we have worked with so many different briefs, be it VMWare / Lease cars / insurance - take your pick.
  • Also, a good solid brief with clear objectives is critical. Take time to pull together the key pieces of information – target customer profile, message, pain points and benefits. Speak to the relevant individuals in your organisation direct, don’t rely of second hand information and treat it like the layers of an onion, keep peeling away at them until the brief is crystal clear.

 

Finally, I’d say, don't get too up by the ups or too down by the downs. You never know what’s around the next corner!!

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