Telemarketing is a word that has different meanings to different people. Its definition can even vary from person to person, business to business. So what does it really mean, and how can it be used effectively?
What is telemarketing?
Telemarketing is a widely used method of contacting existing and potential customers primarily by telephone. This type of outreach activity allows salespeople to share information about products or services, increase their understanding of a customer’s challenges and needs ahead of sale, and develop a relationship with their customer.
Predictably, the definition of telemarketing has evolved over the last few decades, with both B2B and B2C businesses opting for a mix of both traditional and digital sales and marketing activity to proactively communicate with their customers.
Telemarketers now employ a range of digital resources such as e-mail marketing and social media to supplement their outreach activity, personalising how they reach out to prospective and current customers.
Is telemarketing ethical?
A term you may have often heard is that of ‘cold calling.’ Telemarketing which involves contacting brand new prospective customers is classed as cold calling, where the customer has no prior knowledge that they will be approached.
While telemarketing is a useful tool to promote products and services, and boost brand awareness, telemarketers risk customers being annoyed to be called unexpectedly by a stranger.
How a telemarketing company approaches each call and introduces themselves is key to building a friendly and genuine connection with customers. And with many outsourced telemarketing companies calling using their client’s brand name, a permission-based approach is all the more important to protecting brand reputation.
Professional telemarketers will also be concerned with using ethical practises when it comes to customer data. Due to scammers using intrusive methods to capture customer data, regulations such as GDPR and CTPS provide opt outs for anyone not interested in communications from a business.
If companies adopt a code of ethics and enforce it, taking into account where they source their data and how they respectfully open up dialogue over the phone and email, telemarketing can be a useful ethical practice to further business growth.
How telemarketing works within the sales function
Most often, telemarketing is primarily used as a customer service and a pre-sales tool. Alongside answering customer queries and giving technical advice, communication over the phone still remains a vital pre-sales resource for marketing and sales people looking to generate new customers for their business.
Forward-thinking businesses will be considering their future sales targets, and especially for those in a long sales-cycle, pipeline generation – i.e. capturing future leads – is key to winning new business.
Whilst marketing teams may receive inbound leads via website, email marketing, or social media, these opportunities will need to be followed up and qualified by either sales or marketing teams to ensure they are worth the time investment and converted to sale.
On top of this, many businesses will need to proactively reach out to companies who are not actively looking to buy in order to build a relationship with key decision-makers ahead of sale, and ensure they are ahead of competitors in their industry.
Why utilise telemarketing?
Telemarketing is generally less expensive compared to other forms of marketing, however it does demand high-quality expert skills.
Organisations can receive immediate feedback from the customer, as they are in direct contact with them, and customers (both potential and current) can gain an understanding of the products or services with greater ease.
Is telemarketing for you?
Telemarketing helps sales and marketing teams to achieve measurable results, but it needs to be practiced ethically to ensure customer satisfaction and a positive brand reputation.
Whether a small, medium or large business, telemarketing may have a place within your customer’s journey. The choice is yours, but incorporating telemarketing into your business strategy could help you build relationships with customers and provide value to both your sales and marketing teams and works especially well when there is a high value, complex, long sales cycle solution, and multiple decision makers need to be engaged.