Telemarketing Software Featured Article

What Not To Do in Outbound Telemarketing

January 30, 2013
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

Outbound telemarketing is not for the faint of heart. Done properly, it can reap enormous rewards – if it didn’t, it wouldn’t have remained a marketing channel of choice for so long. But done improperly, it can lead to damaged customer relationships and even regulatory fines. The difference between outbound telemarketing done well and done badly is enormous. Successful outbound telemarketers make it work for them because they have a program that works and because they avoid making errors.

To take advantage of outbound telemarketing without having to do it themselves, many companies turn to professionals in the form of outsourced companies. While it keeps the companies from having to run the day to day operations, choosing an outbound company is no small feat.

A recent article on ResourceNation underlines the top 10 mistakes of outbound telemarketing, with advice on how to avoid these traps. The most common mistakes include:

Poor targeting. Successful companies know who their target individuals are, and they understand how to qualify leads so they’re not wasting time and annoying customers who might be suitable targets for other campaigns.

Poorly defined campaigns. If you don’t understand what the goal of your campaign is, the agents making the calls certainly won’t, and the people they are calling will be even more mystified.

A lack of product or service knowledge. Customers aren’t stupid, and they will be able to tell quickly if the outbound agent lacks knowledge about the product he or she is selling. If the agent cannot answer basic (or even in depth) questions about what’s being sold, it can scuttle sales very quickly. Training is critical.

Breaking the law. This is where outbound telemarketing agencies have a leg up. They are usually far more in touch with applicable laws and telemarketing restrictions, and they have better resources to regularly scrub lists of individuals on “do not call” lists. Regulatory fines are steep and can add up quickly (particularly if you are using dialers), so it’s critical to know these rules.

Over-reliance on scripts. Prospects can tell when an agent is wedded to a script, and it’s unlikely to inspire confidence. Agents need to be trained properly to sound like they are selling a product or service, not reading a script.

Building trust. The best outbound agents are those who inspire confidence in customers. Telemarketing professionals should sound friendly without being overbearing, and they should avoid taking so little interest that they sound like robots, according to the Resource Nation article.

Listen as much as you talk. Agents who launch into their script without first listening to needs and wished expressed by the customer are missing important cues they could use to make a sale.

Taking money too soon. Discussing the cost of products or services before the prospect is ready and the pertinent details are laid out gives call recipients what’s likely to be their biggest objection (cost) right up front.

Not closing the sale. Experienced outbound agents know that waiting too long to bring the sale to a close risks losing control of the conversation. While you shouldn’t talk price too soon, talking about it too late can be just as damaging.

Skipping analysis of the post-campaign results. Everyone learns from their experiences, and outbound call centers are no exception. After the conclusion of each campaign, it should be examined in detail for intelligence that will help improve future campaigns.

While outbound telemarketing campaigns may still not be for the faint of heart, for those companies willing to put in the effort – or engage the services of true professionals – the rewards can be great.

Edited by Jamie Epstein