People tend to shudder at the word “telemarketing,” but the fact is, telemarketing can be a smart investment for a small business.
A 2011 study of marketing professionals by MarketingSherpa found that 35% of respondents believe telemarketing to be “very effective.” Telemarketing may have a negative vibe, but it’s still widely used and is still effective. Hiring a telemarketing company is an investment, and when telemarketing is done properly it can increase your business’ success. By reaching out to prospective clients and helping expand your customer base, good telemarketing companies save valuable employee time, save your company money on gaining leads, and increase sales. Here is what you need to know when considering telemarketing companies.
Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Telemarketing Company
The phrase “You get what you pay for” is very applicable to telemarketing companies. While price is a consideration, you should avoid companies that offer you drastically lower prices than competitors. Do sufficient research and never hire a telemarketing company when you’re in a hurry. Find out the following before making your decision:
- Is the company located in the U.S. or in another country? Off-shore providers are cheaper, but you have to make sure workers have adequate language skills.
- Ask if the telemarketing company has a minimum call volume requirement and determine whether your needed call volume meets it. Also determine whether your company has an adequate number of sales reps to deal with the results of the call volume.
- Find out how the telemarketing staff will learn about your product. If they don’t get to know your product, they can’t make effective calls.
- Ask how often the telemarketing company provides you with reports on sales and customer satisfaction. Some companies allow you to monitor their effectiveness online and some allow you to listen in on calls so you can assess service and quality yourself.
- Find out how telemarketing employees are trained.
- Ask for a breakdown of costs and determine whether they cover training, script writing, and related travel.
- Ask for references and check them yourself.
Common Mistakes Made by Telemarketing Companies
It is better for your telemarketing company to reach a lower number of people and convince a higher percentage of them than to cast too wide a net and convince a smaller percentage of them. Cold calling and auto-dialer numbers are becoming obsolete as targeted calling lists become more popular. Targeted lists save time and have a higher incidence of leads that convert into sales. Telemarketing companies that don’t take the time to get to know your products are also less effective and cannot answer questions about the product or address objections raised by people they call.
What You Should Expect from Telemarketing Companies
Telemarketing workers don’t enjoy a lot of prestige, but you have the right to expect certain things from your telemarketing company and their workers.
- You should expect workers to understand your products or services so that they don’t simply sound like they are regurgitating memorized lines.
- You have the right to expect workers to act professionally on the phone and to be willing to answer questions.
- You have the right to expect your telemarketing company and its workers to have integrity and to follow all applicable laws.
Signs of a Bad Telemarketing Company
Telemarketing companies that make illegal “robocalls” or call numbers listed on the Do Not Call registry can — and do — get into trouble with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Telemarketing companies are not allowed to mask Caller ID information by using generic or inaccurate ID names like “CREDIT SERVICES” or “PRIVATE OFFICE.” Before hiring a telemarketing company, it’s a good idea to visit the FTC’s website at ftc.gov and search on the company’s name to find out if it has been the subject of an investigation. Good telemarketing companies exist, so there’s no reason to work with one that has been in trouble for unethical or illegal practices.
Photo credit: Michael Sheehan