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Overcoming the barriers to telemarketing success

Telemarketing, when executed well, can deliver higher ROI than many other marketing approaches - generating high quality outcomes across the sales process, from leads, demos, hotkey transfers and appointments, right through to direct sales. In addition, it is an extremely effective platform for building personal connections and gaining insights into the interests, needs and buying modes of your target audience. However, as with any form of marketing, there are challenges to success and achieving a return on investment requires clear vision and good planning. As simple as that may sound, it’s surprising how many brands set about implementing a campaign without a solid plan or clear idea of what they want to achieve – after all, the answer cannot simply be: everything.

We’ve outlined some of the most common telemarketing challenges that businesses come up against and looked at how these can be overcome.

Telemarketing without purpose

A common challenge that companies face is how to set up a telemarketing campaign so that it has a clear purpose and uses a structured approach that generates the right outcomes.

If you are new to telemarketing, it may be difficult to know where to start. Start from the ground up with a clear campaign brief that outlines the following:

  • Background – is there any important information about your business or its customers that would help inform the campaign?

  • Objectives – what measurable outcomes are you hoping to get out of the campaign?

  • Channels – will your campaign be running across multiple channels? It’s important to consider this as you will want to ensure your messaging is consistent.

  • Target audience – who are you trying to reach and do you have data that matches that group?

  • Communications – highlight the key information and message you need to get across to your audience(s). Importantly, what do you want the audience to do upon receiving it? Be sure to make note of the way you should be communicating, with key information around the tone.

A sound brief is important for everyone involved with the campaign, whether colleagues from your immediate team or external partners if you have outsourced your campaign.

Getting the most from the channel

One of the key attributes of the telemarketing channel is its ability to deliver a highly personalised message that can be tailored on the fly. Whilst it may make things easier, particularly for inexperienced staff, we recommend that you throw away your script. A script will undermine the flow of conversation and the insight that can be developed through a live two-way interchange. Voice contact also has the benefit of creating a human connection and building rapport, vital in the B2B sector. An impersonal, scripted approach won’t cut it, and will potentially alienate your prospect.

This type of unscripted approach relies on the skills of the caller; an experienced agent is able to sell consultatively, tailoring the proposition around the client’s pain points and challenges as they build rapport and understanding through an open dialogue. If you don’t have these skills in-house, you may benefit from an outsource solution offered by an agency specialising in lead generation and sales support.

If you are looking to develop your in house skills, be that solution sales, listening skills, or how to deal with gatekeepers, there are many resources available, including our own Knowledge Bank. Our resources have been compiled with expert knowledge, drawing on our experience of almost 30 years in the industry. Why not, for example, read our do’s and don’ts of building rapport?

Lack of systems and processes

Even if you have overcome the challenge of having the right skills within your team, consider whether your team has the infrastructure needed to maintain the necessary level of activity and to accurately track and measure campaign performance.

A telemarketing agency with a specialist calling platform and a team of dedicated agents can generally maintain higher levels of productivity than an in-house team working with a standard CRM system. In addition, an experienced Account Manager will proactively manage the campaign, coach agents using live and recorded calls, optimise use of data and hone campaign performance using pipeline metrics from a bespoke set up. Often an agency can provide an online reporting portal to give clients real-time visibility of campaign performance.

It is difficult to achieve the same efficiencies in-house without these bespoke systems but, if you have created a solid brief with clear objectives and robust criteria to define target outcomes, you are in a good position to establish processes around your own systems and track ROI. In general, having a dedicated team focused on outbound calling, rather assigning a mix of tasks - both outbound and inbound - to the same team, increases efficiency and your ability to measure results.

Data, data, data

In a post-GDPR world, initiating an activity such as telemarketing, which relies on a good data foundation, can be daunting. Are you confident that any existing databases you hold are clean, compliant and relevant?

Whilst you may be keen to get on with generating leads for your sales team, this will be a costly waste of investment unless the data is profiled to match your target group and is clean, accurate and compliant. It is vital, therefore, to ensure your database is up-to-date and contains the right contacts. It may be worth buying new data, or engaging a data bureau to carry out a cleansing exercise. Phone-based research can help you gain further, deeper insight into your existing database, so you can segment your audience and target the prospects that are most likely to convert. Whilst this requires resource to begin with, it will enable you to qualify out poor leads and ensure your sales team isn’t wasting their time chasing the wrong prospects.

Since 1990, The Telemarketing Company has delivered high quality, unscripted B2B telemarketing and telesales services to the world’s leading organisations. Our research division offers a range of data services, together with specialist pre and post sales CATI research. We pride ourselves on a flexible, collaborative approach that integrates with our client’s own activity, acting as seamless extension to their team.

If you’d like to discuss how we might help with your requirements, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Alternatively, if you are considering the benefits of outsourcing your telemarketing, take a look at our recent infographic.

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