Buyer Guide to Telemarketing

This Resource Nation Buyer’s Guide contains information on how to choose a telemarketing firm and launch a successful telemarketing service while providing the resources you need to make your search process cost-effective and efficient.

Introduction to telemarketing

Telemarketing is a form of direct marketing where a salesperson reaches out to potential customers typically by phone complemented with face-to-face appointments, e-mail blasts, direct mail, or web conferencing.  

The term “telemarketing” was developed in the 1970s to describe Bell System Communications and its creation of outbound WATS (Wide Area Telephone Service) and inbound toll-free services. Potential customers were obtained for free and could call in for free to request information mostly generated from Bell’s other advertising and publicity campaigns.    

Types of Telemarketing

Different types of telemarketing include lead generation, outbound sales, fundraising, market research, political telemarketing, and call center services .  

Charitable organizations, alumni associations and political parties often use telemarketing to solicit donations. Companies that undertake public opinion polling use telemarketing to survey prospective voters in determining which candidate/issue/ballot is favored.

Appointment setting telemarketing places calls to find out who is the appropriate internal sales representative versus comprehensive telemarketing where firms actually take the sales steps in order to sell a product or service.

In this guide, we’ll mainly focus on lead generation, outbound sales and outbound call centers.

Telemarketing resources

Many telemarketing companies can provide a prospect list based on your company’s target demographic, or you may choose to create a list based on compiling internal lists from your company’s database.  Some sources of internal lists may include:

  • Purchase history (past customers/prospects)
  • Requests for information
  • Competition entry forms
  • Application forms

Companies can either conduct telemarketing in-house or outsource to a telemarketing company. Before making the decision to outsource, make sure you have identified your business goals and the advantages and disadvantages of hiring an outside source.

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