TELEMARKETING DOESN'T WORK
Well of course it does, or should do. Telemarketing is great. When else can you get to speak to hundreds of your targeted prospects, communicating directly with the decision maker? You can be absolutely certain that they have received your message (not like a posted piece of direct mail). We should all be using telemarketing as part of our marketing and sales mix.
But sometimes it still doesn't "work" - why not?
Simple, it's because so often key elements of the campaign are not planned or are omitted completely.
So, without trying to put together a comprehensive telemarketing training guide, what do we mean by this? We've undertaken hundreds of campaigns for our clients and seen what was going on before and this is a list of some of the main problem areas.
Most businesses do plan their telemarketing - at least to some degree. But so often they see it as an isolated activity. Not part of a long term sales plan or integrated marketing strategy. Telemarketing can work on it's own but it's so much more effective when it's part of an integrated multi stage approach which considers all of the stages of the sales cycle.
Good data is everything. It's very demoralising for skilled telemarketing consultants to lose credibility with gatekeepers by asking for people who have left the business two years ago. Clean the data first using a different (cheaper) team. It'll make the campaign more productive and actually more cost effective.
Sales isn't it? Well yes, but you can't expect everyone to be at the buying stage right now. So the objective of telemarketing is sales now, or in the future - and that means capturing relevant customer and market information relating to "why not now" and "when might you" and "if not us, then who and why". A key objective of telemarketing should be to gather data that helps turn today's "no" into a "yes please" in the future. Or maybe from the feedback you'll find that you need to tailor the communication message or even the product.
The trouble with most telemarketers is that they come... and they go. This means that regular training is crucial to the team's effectiveness.
Usually businesses are very good at training their teams on the features (and even occasionally the benefits) of their own products (well they should be shouldn't they?). They are often less good at training their consultants about the different types of businesses or individuals they may be calling. A council is very different from a mobile telecoms company or an engineering firm. An FD is very different from a Marketing Director. They all need to be contacted at different times, on different days, in different ways. They all need to be empathised with - but do your teams understand what's going on in their business lives which might be affecting their buying behaviour, especially in these turbulent times?
The other classic mistake which is still prevalent is the "information spew". This means the consultant outpours all of the key bits of product information quickly, before the recipient hangs up, on the basis that "you never know, something might strike a chord". No way! Please introduce the call, ask a question, shut up, listen and learn what they really need. Then tell them what you've got that suits their needs.
A key part of telemarketing planning is about objections that the consultant will face. Often they're viewed with fear and how to avoid them, but actually they should be welcomed. You can make a sale without objections because they are a natural part of making a decision. They fall into two types:
The knee-jerk reactions to an invasion of their space and they mean "hang on, give me a moment to think". It's best to give them that moment by slowing the pace. Remember they weren't expecting the call and they've been caught on the hop.
The considered objection. You need these. If you make an appointment without some objections then your Sales Director will travel the length of the country to a meeting, only to find that the person he's meeting isn't there, or didn't really want the meeting. If you get a "sale" over the phone without objections then they'll probably cancel tomorrow. Objections often mean that someone is interested and wants more information, or wants to see how you behave (can he trust you). Welcome them and plan for them.
(Actually there is a third type. They don't want your product, they want to know where you got their name and they want the name of your boss).
Remember these telemarketing slip ups and hopefully your campaigns will be much more effective.