Telemarketing is defined as the direct marketing of goods and services to potential customers. It involves approaching, contacting or vetting to assess the interest of the customer and then follow-up to pursue a sale.
Meaning of telemarketing
Telemarketing is also known as inside sales or telesales and has received severe backlash because of its invasive nature. It is one of the most popular forms of marketing that various companies use to connect with potential customers.
The process includes using multiple tools like phone calls, fax, internet and even conference calls to deal with customers. It also includes sales pitches that are pre-recorded and played over the phone through automatic dialing. Some of the industries rely more on telemarketing than other sectors. These are
- Charitable organizations
- Political groups
- Market research
- Donation solicitation
- Financial services
- Home security systems
- Cable and internet services
At one point in time, most of the telemarketing companies became so intrusive that governments had to introduce legislation to curb its unpopular activities. Some states have a Do Not Call option that a subscriber can choose so that a telemarketing company cannot disturb him.
In some states, there are specific rules in place that forbids a telemarketing company to call on private numbers. As per the Federal Laws, a company cannot make direct or indirect contact between the hours of 9.00 PM to 8.00 AM local time.
The company also cannot make calls on Sunday or a holiday. Some state laws have restricted the timings before 9.00 PM and later to 8.00 AM so that the ordinary people are not disturbed.
Types of telemarketing
Telemarketing involves various activities like telesales, appointment setting, surveying, a call-to-action, and database cleaning and maintenance. The process can be divided into the following categories –
In this type of telemarketing, the companies reach out to customers after inbound inquiries about services or products. The demand here is created by publicity or advertising. The inbound telemarketing includes taking orders for various products via handling of incoming calls that are generated by catalogs, direct mail, and advertising
This is a type of proactive telemarketing the company reaches out to existing and potential customers actively in a straightforward manner. As more actual selling is involved in outbound telemarketing, the representatives are required to be trained and knowledgeable.
This type of telemarketing involves persuasive tactics by salespeople
4. Lead generation
In this type of telemarketing, the telecommuters reach out to customers after collecting information about their interests, profiles and demographic data.
Service styles of telemarketing
The service styles of telemarketing are as follows-
1. Database cleansing
The database service style of telemarketing is used for outbound telemarketing to clean the website by removing incorrect or outdated data and preparing new contact details that will be used in future campaigns of telemarketing.
2. Appointment setting
The appointment setting service style of telemarketing is used for both outbound and inbound telemarketing to create telephone or personal face-to-face appointments to create opportunities for sales
3. Call to action
The call-to-action service style of telemarketing is generally used for outbound telemarketing for getting a response from the customers
The survey service style of telemarketing is generally used for both inbound and outbound telemarketing. Its purpose is to gather information and pertaining data for qualitative research from particular target markets
The telesales service style of telemarketing is used for outbound and inbound telemarketing. Its purpose is to make a sales transaction over the phone through the credit card payment option.
Skills needed in a telemarketer for telemarketing
The skills required for a telemarketer for effective telemarketing are as follows-
Honesty is a desired trait in human beings. The best sales are achieved by people who are honest in their dealings. They face minor issues like problems with customers and order cancellations.
A telemarketer will have to talk with numerous people in a single day that will have different opinions, tastes, preferences and queries. He needs to be adaptable so that he can face every change enthusiastically.
3. Listening Skills
Listening is an important skill to have in a telemarketer. This trait helps to listen to a person’s questions, queries, needs, concerns and doubts so that he can frame his responses as per the personal preference of the customer.
An essential quality that a telemarketer should have is tenacity and resilience power. The telemarketing job is very unpredictable and a person has to face lots of rude behavior and rejections. He can make a success of his role only if he is resilient enough to ignore abusive and bad behavior and keep on working
5. Voice and tone
A telemarketer should speak in a clear and precise voice so that others can hear and understand him correctly. He should keep his tone reasonable and enthusiastic so that his approach looks convincing to others.
A telemarketer should be highly motivated because his role is such that he needs to persuade others to buy from him. If he lacks this skill, then how is he going to convince others and generate lead. Moreover, he needs to be motivated so that he can contact innumerable people and still sound fresh and willing after every individual call.
7. Keen learner
A person involved in telemarketing has to be open to learning. His willingness should never be in question because his job profile is such that he will have to hold numerous conversations in a day and to be on the look-out to learn new things. This is possible only when he is a keen learner
8. Computer literate
The times are changing, and telemarketer work involves phone calls as well as web calls. If a telemarketer is not computer literate, then it would harm his job, role, and responsibility
9. Well organized
The telemarketer must be well-organized so that he can handle all his tasks in a coordinated manner.
Careers in telemarketing
The telemarketing team is filled with professionals from an entry-level position to salaried posts in management. The most common careers in this field are as follows-
1. Marketing manager
He is in charge of the marketing campaign and responsible for recruiting team members, assigning them suitable tasks, handling the budget and approving the materials that will be needed. It is a leadership role, and the marketing manager should have a bachelor’s degree in a marketing-related subject.
Several marketing managers study further and achieve advanced training or a Master of Business Administration Degree to further their prospects.
The copywriter is the person who crafts the script for phone conversations in telemarketing campaigns. It involves creating different marketing materials with versatile content. It includes white papers, eBooks, blogs, website text and advertising copy.
The copywriter should be educated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, psychology, communications, journalism or English. He should have a portfolio of work samples that conveys his experience and ability to handle the job
3. Telephone associate
The role of a telephone associate involves working via phones to make the first contact with the customer. It does not require too much of experience because a phone associate will gain the same by seeing measuring metrics, marketing scripts and information from brand research and development.
The education of a telephone associate includes a degree or in the process of attaining a degree in marketing, psychology, communications or business. Although they do not require much work experience in case a potential candidate has it, then he gets preferential treatment over others.
Role and responsibilities of telemarketing
The roles and responsibilities of telemarketing are as follows-
- Delivering prepared sales talks
- Describing the product and services to potential and existing customers to make a sale
- Promoting and explaining technical information related to the products and services by contacting individuals or business entities via phone calls or web calls
- Answering the queries of a customer about goods and services
- Obtaining information like name, address, mode of payment and maintaining the records in the customer database
- Keeping records about the customer contacts
- Identifying potential customers and collecting their names, address and contact number from different sources like reply cards, telephone directories and purchase list of other companies
- Developing content for sales presentations
- Answering calls of potential customers
- Responding to customer correspondence via letters or telephone calls
- Follow-up calls to make the potential customer a customer
- Scheduling appointments with potential customers
- Attending sales presentations
- Maintaining records of customer accounts
- Monitoring the changing trends and current conditions in the market
Techniques of telemarketing
The telemarketing process requires an effective technique to succeed in such competitive times. These are as follows-
- Learn about the product or service thoroughly before making any contact
- The information should be specific and should include specifications, benefits and warranty
- Use natural and straightforward language so that the customers can easily understand you
- Record the call and listen to it
- Now analyze your call so that you can make viable improvements next time
- Coordinate with other departments
- Focus on body movements during the conversations. It is a fact that the people at another end cannot see you, but they can feel your smile and warmth nevertheless quite easily
- Do not speak too fast or too slow. Maintain a moderate speed
- Develop better rapport by understanding the nuances of the customer speech and adjusting your words and gestures accordingly
- Ask relevant questions
- Spend on data analytics to gain useful insights
Advantages of telemarketing
The advantages of telemarketing are as follows
1. Human connection
The telemarketing involves human interaction that builds a connection and helps in lead generation and sales
An essential advantage of telemarketing is that it is very flexible. It is prepared to identify and understand the needs and wants of a customer and act accordingly. Surveys are conducted to know and update the changing demands of the consumer base so that the companies can move forward in tandem with the wishes and requirements of its customer base.
3. Customer service
Telemarketing helps in creating a strong customer base that is loyal and facilitates repeat orders. It has the advantage of providing excellent services and penetrating new markets.
4. Saves time and money
Telemarketing is considered a valuable tool for small business entities as direct contact via web calls and phone calls helps it in saving lots of time and money
5. Minimizes cost
Small business entities are using telemarketing to communicate and interact with the customers. The expenses incurred during field sales are way higher than those committed through the process of telemarketing and this is why it is proving beneficial for business entities
6. Compare results
An advantage of telemarketing is that it is possible to know and measure the effectiveness of advertising through this process. The telemarketing company can compare the result with previous ones to establish plans based on these results
Disadvantages of telemarketing
The disadvantages of telemarketing are as follows-
- Governments are taking stiff actions to curb the over-enthusiasm of telemarketers and curb the activities of those who are using illegal means
- Inspection before purchase is not possible through telemarketing and most people hence are not comfortable with this concept
- The incessant harping has made most of the people unwilling to telemarketing
- The consumers are screening unwanted calls and amongst these the primary ones belong to the telemarketers
- A severe limitation of telemarketing is that there is no visual contact with the customers
- Hiring a firm for telemarketing lessens the control of a firm because it will not be as motivated as the hired company
- Hiring an outside firm for telemarketing can prove expensive for a business entity
- The conversations over the phone have a shorter memory with no lasting effects