Benefits of Telemarketing for the Small Business
Telemarketing is composed of two types of service, inbound and outbound. They have many differences, but both accomplish the same objective: to acquire sales and provide service to customers. Inbound telemarketing refers to the method in which a company receives calls from consumers. These calls are answered with the customer sales order, or any other information, saved. Most telemarketing services offered will streamline business communications, giving businesses an advantage, with the opportunity of nationwide expansion.
Inbound telemarketing has numerous benefits, including higher volume of sales, greater profits, increased lead generation, reduced costs per sale, increased number of qualified telemarketing leads, increased number of appointments, increased customer base, higher number of closed sales, and maximum phone productivity. All of this, while in some instances, offering the consumer a 24 hour, around the clock, operation. Inbound telemarketing is the least expensive and easiest method of communication with companies having the option to outsource their telemarketing services to a third party.
With its inexpensive costs and its ease of use, outbound telemarketing has been around almost since the invention of the telephone (inbound telemarketing did not come to be until 1967). Thousands of companies rely on the phone for a substantial part of their sales. Telephone sales now surpass direct mail as a form of advertising for businesses. Out-bound telemarketing provides the opportunity to make sales calls, to upgrade mail orders, do prospecting, or speed up cash flow to the corporation through accounts receivable collection efforts. Outbound calling may also be used to build retail traffic, get appointments for sales reps, and even re-sell customers who have cancelled their orders. Fund raising represents another area where outbound telemarketing has brought dramatic results. One pharmaceutical company realized the impact of outbound marketing when they found they could call hundreds of pharmacies an hour through outbound telemarketing compared to much less with direct mail, with lower costs to contend with. Politicians on both the local and national level also rely on outbound telemarketing to get their message out.
A Positive Perception of Telemarketing
Absolute Today is about to inspire you to think differently about telemarketing. The all-too-common association of an irrelevant, cold-call being employed at dinnertime has been overused and is as common to Absolute Today as silly putty is in being used by professional architects. It is simply not a reality.
What is the reality? How about this: Telemarketing is one of the most effective marketing tools. You can expect between a 5% and 10% response rate. This rate is higher than that of direct mail, door-to-door fliers, advertising, and e-mail marketing.
Telemarketing affords a business the chance to communicate directly with the customers. This is extremely valuable! You can assess exactly what the customers find pleasing about your products/services and what can be improved upon. When can you get that kind of immediate opportunity with mailings and other forms of marketing? Telemarketing links you directly with the cornerstone of your business - the customers.
So why did telemarketing attract negative associations in the past? It was not "telemarketing" that was bothering the people, but it was the "people" exercising the use of telemarketing. Think about it.
How to use telemarketing
There is one, broad reason why telemarketing has not received good results for companies in the past - the lack of relevance. Businesses have to pay attention to "whom" they are calling and "what" they are calling them about. Telemarketing is best effective when it is used as a "strategic" marketing tool. A business needs to do a little bit of homework so a high amount of calls can generate sales. Pre-identified, target markets composed of particular clients receiving calls in relation to relevant opportunities will result in well-received calls and a high sales rate.
Having the right person making the call is also an integral piece of the project. Telemarketers need to be well trained and well informed in relating to people, and specifically, in relation to the products/services being addressed to the consumers. A finely devised script is important, but it is more important for the telemarketer to know how to relate to consumers "off script." This is achieved through our experience and excellent training.
The business and Absolute Today need to establish long and short-term goals. The business needs to relate their expectations to Absolute Today and the latter needs to provide feedback in order for goals to be modified or augmented. Having one objective per campaign usually works. The objective can be broken down into smaller "victories."
Here's a Quick Way to Conduct your Telemarketing
Absolute Today can be an incredibly resourceful appendage to any business. This is a cost-effective alternative to making a large number of sales calls from your own in-house group. These services are broken down into two stratums: inbound and outbound calling. The process of making/taking calls includes creating leads, appointment scheduling, direct sales, and research/surveys. Taking advantage of this insight will serve your business well; it just takes some effort on the part of the business. Absolute Today can be a lucrative addition to your business; the business just has to consider some things in order to make the "best educated" decision in launching a successful venture.
Any business understands that they must make a connection to the public. It is up to each business to decide in what manner this will most effectively be accomplished. A business can consider taking on the task themselves, but you have to consider generating money, hiring staff, educating staff, finding room for the staff, and technology to suit these specific needs (to name a few). Why not call on the professionals? Absolute Today already have the people, equipment, and especially the knowledge and expertise that will be priceless to your business. A great businessperson knows when to delegate responsibility, so why not put this aspect of your business into the hands of geared professionals?
Absolute Today's telemarketing services come in a multitude of forms, so it is up to the business to tap into their brain first before seeking us out. It would be beneficial to know exactly what you want out of such a union so Absolute Today can tailor our services to your needs. It would be wise to talk to other businesses that have delved into the same process and find out what worked for them, what didn't, and what they might do differently. Here are some aspects to consider:
- What volume of calls do you expect to be made/received?
- Make sure your software is compatible with theirs in reference to exchanging data
- Some providers are general or offer services that are more unique. What are you looking for and what will work best for you in making this a successful union?
"People must help one another; it's nature's law."
Give It Time
Just like anything else in business - success takes time. If you have finally made the decision to go with Absolute Today, remember that Rome was not built in a day! Feel out the nature and dynamic of the relationship. Are there outside factors that are contributing to success (or it being unsuccessful)? Having the most information possible before you engage in the union will only serve you well. If you have all the information, then it will be easier to understand why things are going (or not going) well. The advantage of insight will aid you in deciding to either 'tweak' what is happening or to end it indefinitely.
Due to the versatility of Absolute Today, your expectations, call volume, opportunities for investment, etc., there will be a range of cost in hiring Absolute Today. Consider some of these pricing issues:
- Absolute Today require a minimum work order ranging from a minimum of 40 person hours per project to a specific number of contacts in a given time period. Absolute Today charge an hourly rate and bill by time spent on calls ranging from $25 to $60 per hour. Keep in mind that there is competition that can offer bill rates as low as $10 per hour if considering offshore companies (due to the increased amounts of investigations and corruptions, this is something left for you to decide for your self to take advantage of or not).
- What is the structure of pay? Some firms provide the telemarketing callers a commission on every appointment or sale. This is an effective motivational tool that should be carefully considered. Expect possible commission charges to be anywhere between 1 to 10% of revenue generated.
- Make sure that everything is well delineated before the ball gets rolling. There will be initial set-up fees, possible additional training for them, script preparation, reporting fees, etc. Do not be in a position to be surprised - educate your self beforehand.
- Make sure your initial contract specifies what standards and procedures Absolute Today is to follow, how their performance will be gauged, and what penalties that may be imposed if requirements are not met. Non-disclosure clauses in the contract are highly recommended. Also consider options such as exclusivity, translation services, secrecy/confidentiality, monitoring rights, etc. Expect to pay more for special requests.
Bringing in Absolute Today can definitely prove most fruitful for your business. Here are some tips to consider:
- Partnering with a firm that offers commission may help you out in the long run since this provides an incentive for the workers.
- The success of calls relies heavily on a good script. Does your script have a way with words? Consult with Absolute Today because we may be able to offer insight into what has worked and waned in the past for other companies. Remember, your firm is hiring Absolute Today not only for our ability to make calls, but also for our accumulated knowledge of what does and does not work.
- Set up a general email address and 800-telephone number. The helpful staff at Absolute Today can do this for you.
- If sending a representative to Absolute Today to help better suit your needs; send your aces. This venture is an extension of your business, so sending in the most efficient and professional representative will set the tone.
Should your Business Use a Telemarketing Firm?
Absolute Today's telemarketers will make and take a large volume of calls on your company's behalf. Like all aspects of life, there is a bright and dark side to making the decision as to whether to establish telemarketing in-house, or to bank on Absolute Today for these services.
Absolute Today's telemarketers, often referred to as telephone sales representatives (TSRs), make different types of phone calls to generate appointments or sales for your business. TSRs endeavor at direct sales, making leads, schedule appointments, verify information, and conduct research and surveys, all depending on the nature of your business. In considering outsourcing Absolute Today for the service, it is always good practice to look at the TSRs as an extension of you and your own business; after all, they will be dealing with your customers who have no idea that you have chosen to outsource (if they even know what that means) for these services. The following are factors to think about in developing and choosing a telemarketing division for your business:
Outsource, Of Course
The orchestration of a large, in-house telemarketing division for your company can be a monumental investment. You would have to consider hiring new employees, finding the space, providing furniture and other resources, and not to mention the beginning and on-going training that would have to be provided in order for the venture to hopefully become a success. Many businesses decide to outsource with Absolute Today to avoid the time and money it would take to establish their own telemarketing sector, along with other positives that stem from the decision.
Absolute Today can very easily handle a rapid or slower period of growth. We will have the resources ready to take on more people if the time of year or the growth of your business becomes a factor. Absolute Today also will bring with them their experience (which you cannot put a price on - especially if your business has no prior experience in telemarketing). We can help with creating lists, scripts, running tests, and managing campaigns.
The Calm before the Search
Before jumping into a partnership with Absolute Today, there are several things to consider. You will need to properly estimate what your expected call volume will be. You would not want to come up with a number that is too high or too low to reflect what the reality will be, if so, the Absolute Today may not be able to handle your calls at optimal status. In coming up with your number consider any elevations or valleys in calls that may deal with special sales, time of year, company growth, etc.
"If you want work well done, select a busy man- the other kind has no time."
There are other ancillary aspects to consider as far as the compatibility of software between Absolute Today and your firm goes as well as in deciding what extra or special features you may desire Absolute Today to provide. You want to smoothly exchange data with Absolute Today in order to monitor levels of success. Absolute Today will provide you with data of sales and recent updates.
Many businesses have made the decision to adopt call centers that are located 'offshore' (based out of the United States). Many companies have decided that 'offshoring' is a solid business decision mainly because it is cost-effective; but the legality and ethics of the situation have recently made their way into American headlines. As stated, it could be greatly cheaper to use an offshore call center. Rates can be as much as 25% lower than using a call center in the U.S. that is a complete replica. To reiterate, the ethics of the situation come into play because many businesses (whether they knew or not) have been tied in with some illegal activity in regards to not staying faithful to the laws upheld here in America. Industry and customer perception may come into play and going offshore will leave smaller companies more susceptible to negative reactions.
Communication issues can be a factor if deciding to outsource offshore. TSRs with heavy accents may find it more difficult to engage in conversation with your customers and vice versa. Usually, these places will have a formulaic script set up to ensure that there is little communication breakdown, but this may serve to be advantageous or disastrous depending on the nature of your business.
Which Telemarketer to Prefer
Obviously, your bottom line is going to be in mind while considering partnering with Absolute Today. Depending on expected volume, the impending pricing may vary. Absolute Today may charge your company per minute or per dedicated representative for instance. Pricing is very important, but don't forget to remember that most likely your customers will make no distinction between your company and the voice on the other end of the line; your customers will think that they are dealing directly with your company, so knowing that Absolute Today will handle your calls with the same passion and desire for success should be something to be heavily considered despite the cost.
While this partnership is taking place, you will need detailed and accurate reporting from their end to make sure that this was a solid business decision in the first place. Think about receiving reports for total sales and revenue, sales and revenue per list, sales and revenue per representative, average call duration, average call handling time, etc. Decide whether you want to get reporting as a whole and broken down over time so you can really assess whether to expand contact with them, downsize it, or disconnect it all together.
"Where there is no desire, there will be no industry."
It has been mentioned that several factors will pour into just how much this campaign will cost your company. You have to consider the volume of calls, where the outsourced company is located, the type of project, technology needed, the expertise of the TSRs, etc. Most telemarketing companies ask for a minimum work order. Absolute Today's minimum can range from a specific number of hours per project or will charge month or number of calls per period. Typical per hour billing ranges starts at $25 per hour, with a 8 hour minimum package. Other fees to consider involve initial set up costs along with additional training, programming, reporting fees, etc., which leads into the next point.
Absolute Today will make sure that all fees and stipulations are crystal clear before engaging in a partnership with your firm. Depending on how successful your company becomes (or does not become) there may be additional penalty fees due to your company's stray from the initial projections. Absolute Today recommends both parties signing a non-disclosure clause in the initial contract. By doing so, this protects both parties. Your firm will not be able to take Absolute Today trade secrets and we cannot take your company's trade secrets either. Consider other contract options such as exclusivity, translation services, confidentiality, monitoring rights, etc.
Get the most out of your Telemarketing Campaign: Five Tips for Phone Sales Success
Despite DNC laws that have changed the telemarketing industry, the phone is still a powerful way for businesses to reach out to customers. Whether you're trying to drum up business for your sole-proprietor graphic design shop, or contacting millions of consumers via a call center, you'll be able to put these tips for phone sales success to work for your next telemarketing campaign.
Have a clear objective.
It's important to know why you're calling before you-or your phone salespeople-make the call. What is your goal for each phone call? What do you want your prospect to do as a result of your phone call? Know your goal, and craft your sales message around it.
Know your prospect.
Companies who make calls to consumers are lucky - they have to deal with Do Not Call regulation. That means you can't call anyone on the Do Not Call list - and hardly anyone isn't, nowadays - who hasn't already made contact and expressed interest in your business. That's actually a good thing - it self-selects so that only people who are likely to buy from you are on your list. Make sure you have a general idea who these people are in terms of demographics and why they're likely to be interested in your company.
Outsource your call center.
Many frugal business owners prefer to keep their telemarketing efforts in-house. However, partnering with Absolute Today could save you money in the long run - and it will definitely save you time.
Get a killer script.
The right script is crucial to your telemarketing success. Generally, prospects respond better if the caller is offering something they want - not just trying to pressure them to buy. Since the Do Not Call list took effect, many of the people you call will have done business with you before. That means you can call to offer them special sales or discounts they might be interested in, referencing your previous business contact. Studies show that people are a great deal more likely to buy from someone they've bought from before - so take the small window of opportunity you have to remind them of their prior business with you.
Practice till it sounds natural.
The telephone sales representatives at Absolute Today never read directly from the script -they use it as a guide, that's all. Of course, this can be very difficult, especially with inexperienced telephone sales representatives. Before Absolute Today sets our telephone sales representatives loose on your new phone marketing campaign, we make sure they are comfortable with the script, are familiar with all the objections a prospect might have, and know how to counter them confidently. Absolute Today hold training sessions, role-playing, and allow practice time to allow our employees to get to know your script inside and out.
Telemarketing is still an excellent way to reach consumers and get your message out there. With the right staff, the right script, and solid marketing goals for each call, you're sure to reach your financial goals for this year through a strong telemarketing campaign.
Outbound Campaign Design and Management
Business to business calling has for the last 75 or 80 years included some form of telephone communication. In the last 25 to 30 years, these forms have increasingly taken the form of phone rooms, inside sales, sales representatives, service center and a myriad of other euphuisms for getting on the phone and selling someone something.
On the surface, this would seem like a no-brainer but it proves the adage "all that is old is new again".
Outbound campaign management and design is different from inbound. Some might say simpler or less complex. On the surface and from an outside point of view that appears fair. That view does not however reflect the extent of the variables and the probability of success. If it was easy, everyone would do it and do it correctly the first time and all campaigns would be successful.
Business to business calling is done for all sorts of purposes. You can: sell beer to pubs, marginal account management, customer satisfaction and other surveys, account or dealer support, service outlying and hard to reach accounts, marketing support, appointment setting, political calling, cold call prospecting, lead generation and qualification, data verification, on-going communication (staying in touch), gaining and updating information – aka emails new contacts, multi-step programs etc. If you can think of it, it has likely been done and can be done by phone.
Let's take a brief general look at what is required for an outbound campaign. The demand and the capacity issues and terms are familiar to anyone in a call center. For an outbound campaign the demand requirements are finite usually known in advance. The demand is the number of records/people/accounts needing to be reached in what time. The capacity is usually flexible to meet whatever demand and campaign requires. This is different from inbound where a precise forecast, educated guess or estimate of the demand is the critical success factor. For outbound you usually know the number of calls required during a limited period. The script is known and can be timed. So, the probability of call length varying widely is reduced but not eliminated.
The following estimates provide a high-level capacity requirement.
Size of the list, number of numbers to be called ÷ percentage of list likely to be reached ÷ reaches per hour = number of calling hours required
Number of calling hours required ÷ Campaign duration (usually in weeks) = Staff hours per week ÷ FTE or PTE (Full and or Part time staff) =number of staff required.
Number of calling hours required + (training hours per staff x number of staff required) = total staff hours required.
Key to any outbound campaign success is the list to be called. Good list selection is part science, part art and good judgment. Books have been written on this subject alone. In general, the better the list the more success the campaign achieves. For instance calling existing customers capable of buying is better than even good prospects; which are better than suspects; who are in turn better than random selections. For surveys and market research, there is an entire science to sample development and selection. In all cases, money spent to get the right list and the list right for the purpose is money well spent. List segmentation for the purpose of the calling makes the calls more effective and efficient. This is the case regardless of purpose.
It is important to estimate the amount of list penetration required or expected for each campaign. Only a few calls result in reaching the contact the first time. Multiply calls and callbacks are needed. For some accounts/people on the list might require many calls to reach them. At some point, repeated calling is fruitless. Therefore, the following terms will help with setting the expectations:
• 80% penetration means that over campaign the callers reach 80% of the file
• Provide for some percentage of dead or out of service numbers no matter how good the file and excellence of source.
• Reach rate is a function of the number of dials per hour and the number of genuine contacts talked with.
• Qualified contacts are always a subset of those people reached.
• Conversion rate or completion rate is the number of qualified contacts who decide to act on whatever caller is calling about.
Telemarketing benefits many direct marketing campaigns and often quickly pays for the added expense by providing greater conversion that just the direct mail by itself. So for instance, a mailing to prospects gets an average response of 2%. Following up the mailing with a call to the same prospect base gets a lift of between 3 to 5 times the basic mailing responses. This means that instead of just 2% the campaign will generate 6 to 10% response rate. Depending upon the value of the mailing, this means that for just a little extra effort a campaign will generate a lot more value and deeper penetration of the market you are going after.
Script development must conform to the purpose of the call. In market research in order to eliminate bias, a word for word script is used and the staff is monitored to ensure they use exactly the wording provided. While in a business-to-business environment where the purpose is to develop a sales relationship, a more free form script performs better. These take the form of script guides and key points to make. The range and difference from the extremely tight script and the open script guide points and all the other forms in between is one area that trips up people new to this trade. Experience with different campaigns results in better judgment of what works in what situation.
Staff must be selected with the campaign and its purpose in mind. If all that is required is a read this to them survey then the skills needed are those of attention to detail and adherence to instructions and directions. Provided these people make the number of calls required, follow the script, then not much will go wrong that is not in the campaign design.
For business-to-business where the calls are designed to generate appointments, sales or to gather information the skills required are different. The callers will have to think and respond to a variety of situations that are not always detailed in the script. This can include having to zero out to the operator to find who is in charge of a particular area; or explore with a contact on the phone how to make a sale to their company. This requires flexibility and understanding that they have to do more than just follow the script.
Outbound campaigns have similar elements to inbound: people, process, purpose and tools. While these appear similar, they are used differently and can, in the hands of Absolute Today, produce remarkable results. Today, outbound calling is an important part of modern sales and marketing.
Choosing Absolute Today
Telemarketing can be an extremely effective way to grow your business. Many companies outsource this task to Absolute Today, which have expertise in generating business this way. If you're considering taking this step for your business, here are a few helpful tips.
Know your needs. Before you begin shopping for a telemarketing firm, you should have your sales strategy firmly in place. This will save time in determining whether Absolute Today has the capability to fulfill your needs, and it will also get you more accurate price quotes. Before approaching Absolute Today, answer the following questions:
- Do you need to market to businesses, or directly to consumers?
- Telemarketers can use many different tactics, including lead generation, appointment setting, taking orders over the phone, and giving surveys. What tactic or combination of tactics do you plan for your campaign?
- Will you need assistance in writing a telemarketing script?
- What is the volume of calls you expect?
After you have answered the above questions and made a list of other questions and concerns contact Absolute Todays to discuss your needs. Outline exactly what you need, explain your budget, and ask for a proposal. Here are some topics to discuss to help speed up the proposal process:
- How does Absolute Today charge? Some campaigns bill per a specific rate per hour for the duration of your marketing campaign, including a setup fee. Some campaigns pay commissions to their telephone sales representatives. Is your firm offering commissions?
- Where is Absolute Today located? You can save a significant amount by hiring an overseas call center but there are difficulties to offset this, however, including cultural barriers and resistance from your customers. Know that Absolute Today is based in the Midwest and does not outsource its calling overseas.
- Does Absolute Today provide additional services? Some companies need extra services, such as multilingual sales, to help your campaign run more smoothly. Are there any additional services needed?
- How does Absolute Today report results? Your company should have a way to keep track of the success of your campaign and Absolute Today's efficiency. What are your expectations with regards to reporting?
It's important to take your time when selecting the right telemarketing firm. The right partnership can be a great benefit to your business, and the wrong one could be disastrous. Open and honest communication is something that you can count on from Absolute Today and something that we count on from you! This makes the difference between a failed campaign and a successful one.
Telemarketing Services FAQ
Does Absolute Today require a long term commitment?
No, Absolute Today does not "require" a long-term commitment though they would happily foster one. Absolute Today understand that they may be needed for one project, a few, or for many years depending on the business seeking their services.
How soon can I get Absolute Today to work for me?
Absolute Today can set up services between two to six weeks depending on the project. There are several factors involved that can create an impact:
* Absolute Today's operation's workflow
* Absolute Today's programmer's workflow
* Timeliness of client's project information
How do I gain information from my projects?
Absolute Today will offer information via e-mail, website, fax, modem, or courier. Most make daily contact by e-mail and some clients pay to have a website create to offer "real-time" feedback.
Will Absolute Today's telemarketers answer and make calls in the name of my company?
Absolute Today will absolutely take care of your calls. We pride ourselves in saying that callers will not even know they are speaking to a third party provider.
What is "inbound telemarketing?"
Inbound telemarketing refers to calls received in which sales or other business-based information is relayed to a customer. Inbound telemarketers take orders, conduct customer service, engage in direct mail responses, do credit card authorizations, act as a help desk, etc.
How is inbound telemarketing charged?
It depends upon each campaign and client, but Absolute Today often bills per month. This comes along with a setup charge and most likely a minimum amount of weekly usage.
What if I have an 800 number?
Most providers will allow you to route calls from an existing 800 number to the call center.
What is the charge for outbound telemarketing?
This will depend on each campaign and client, but Absolute Today most often charges on a monthly or weekly basis. Management and supervisory time is most often included in the rates paid for representatives.
Can Absolute Today arrange scripts?
Absolute Today will certainly create scripts and offer our insight to any script you bring to us to use. Because of our experience in the field, Absolute Today can help your business arrange very effective scripts.
Can Absolute Today provide me with lists?
Providing lists is not very common for telemarketing firms, but Absolute Today can compile many different types of calling lists.
Absolute Today provides over 25 years of customer relationship management and telemarketing experience. This intense industry knowledge benefits our clients by working with a company that is familiar to delivering results and has the knowledge and skill to do so.
Absolute Today will not commit to working with any client unless we are 100% confident that customer relationship management or telemarketing is the right approach for the product or service and will deliver the return required. If it is then Absolute Today is also 100% confident that no other customer relationship management or telemarketing company will be able to provide the quality and quantity of lead generation, sales or appointment generation that Market Makers can.
Absolute Today works with clients on every facet of their campaign from preliminary planning to final analysis, combining their experience of their market and our industry experience of what works on the phone to create the most effective and successful telephone-based approach. As a customer relationship management or telemarketing campaign progresses Absolute Today will benchmark our activity and provide clients with weekly and monthly predictions on their results, allowing them to plan their service more effectively in the future.
The success and growth of our business is entirely dependent on the success and growth of our clients and we will do whatever it takes to make your customer relationship management and or telemarketing successful for you.
Absolute Today provides innovative customer solutions with results that are affordable and effective.
With deep industry expertise, Absolute Today proficiently manages every single customer interaction. The result is a value chain relationship that our Customer Relationship Management creates, and last forever, increasing your firm's revenues and profits.
Contact Absolute Today for information about how our Customer Relationship Management Solutions turn cold calls into potential consumers, and consumers into lasting customers.