Top 10 Tips for Telemarketing by Nigel Blake, Managing Director of Perfect Pitch

Few of us relish the prospect of telephone sales, especially when it comes to cold calling, so the idea of a specialist company who can take this on for you can be very appealing.   These tips on what to do, and the pitfalls to avoid, are designed to make it easier for you to select and manage a telesales company, and achieve great results.

1)      Prepare and position – Make sure you are clear on your message, your website is ready for new visitors and you have the staff and infrastructure to manage the increased demand.

2)      Define your prospects – One of the great things about a new campaign is that you have a blank piece of paper in front of you; if you are buying data it can be filtered via Location, Industry, Company Size, Turnover, Number of Employees or Job Title.  You should also be able to get a phone number, fax and email address so don’t compromise: target the exact market you wish to work in.

3)      Data cleansing – Consider cleaning your data ahead of the calls, this is usually a small price to pay to ensure you are targeting the right person in the organisation, as this will aid the telemarketer and maximise your marketing campaign.  After all, it’s a false economy to pay a telemarketing company a higher rate per hour to call the wrong person.

4)      Set up costs – Be careful how much you invest before the company proves themselves:  it’s important that they are as determined as you for the campaign to work, so ask them to consider working on an initial trial basis. Whilst results are never instant, it should you give you a good feel for the working relationship and how it might develop.

5)      Fees – A flat hourly rate can encourage complacency.  If they are a good as they say they are perhaps that rate could be reduced a little and topped up with commission based on success fees (eg a bonus for each appointment made)

6)      Personnel – Consider the demographic of the target market you are trying to reach and therefore who will be making the calls as it’s often not the impressive person who sells you the service.  Empathy is important and this will be easier if the telemarketer on your campaign is able to relate more closely to the target, in terms of age, experience, personality etc… Make sure you meet and speak with them, then ask the question would you buy from them? Remember they represent your company.

7)      Qualification – Be clear about how you define success.  For example, a meeting needs to be qualified with the right decision maker, with a need, for the right length of time – not dropping off a brochure on reception or “Cup of Coffee meetings”.  Put your success criteria in writing and if they are not adhered to, don’t pay!

8)      Quality or Quantity? – Less can be more:  one qualified appointment per hour is better than 30 calls resulting in ‘no’s.  Before you engage a telemarketer, ask to speak to their clients and demonstrate their track record; if they have a good one they should be more than willing to share it.

9)      Try some calls yourself – this will help you measure what constitutes success, particularly if you have not done a similar campaign in the past.  If this is impractical try using two companies initially on a trial basis, and may the best company win!

10)  Momentum – When you have established the right company to work with, keep the momentum going.  Results will improve over time and a pipeline will start to grow, so try and avoid a stop-start approach and keep with it.