One of the big questions we get from people who’re exploring telemarketing for the first time is just how it interacts with sales – so here are some of the related questions and answers.

Is telemarketing something you use in place of sales? or Can telemarketing replace my sales team?

In short, no. Telemarketing is a tool to support sales. A telemarketing team will help to generate leads for your sales team, who can then work on closing those leads and turning them into customers.

Effectively, sales and telemarketing work together. Telemarketing can support with nurturing leads as well as generating them, helping to create qualified and engaged prospects that will be easier for your sales teams to convert.

If you’re thinking about telemarketing instead of sales, you might be thinking of ‘telesales’, which involves directly selling to prospects over the phone. This technique isn’t suitable for a lot of businesses – it generally depends on what you’re selling and whether or not people need time to think about and research the opportunity before purchasing.

Can telemarketing reduce my sales team?

This is potentially possible, depending on the size and type of your sales team. If you have a team of people who primarily focus on generating leads (often known as Business Development Reps, BDRs, or Business Development Executives, BDEs), then telemarketing might be able to replace some of that activity and reduce the number you need to employ directly.

If your BDRs (or equivalent) spend a lot of time on the phones drumming up and nurturing leads, then this is activity that the telemarketing team will be able to cover. But if your BDRs do more beyond that, then you’ll need to carefully assess what they do that can’t be replaced with telemarketing.

You probably won’t want to reduce your overall sales team all that much – they’re the ones who will be working the leads generated by your telemarketers, and the purpose of having a telemarketing agency or in-house teams is to get more leads for those teams. More leads = more people required to close them.

What can sales expect from telemarketing?

Sales can expect qualified leads that have heard the key messaging from your business, who fit into your ideal customer profile, and who are willing to speak further about the opportunities your business can provide to them.

Depending on the parameters of your telemarketing campaign, your sales team might be getting warm or hot leads, people with immediate need or people who will need your services in the near future, businesses to partner with or businesses to sell to.

A lot of what sales can expect should be fleshed out during the planning phase of your telemarketing campaigns. For example, we work closely with you to define exactly what counts as a lead, what the key messages are, who your targets are, and what you need for this to be a successful engagement. This all feeds into what you can tell your sales team to expect.

How important is communication between telemarketing and sales?

Very important! If your telemarketers are delivering leads and none of them are converting, that needs to be communicated. It might indicate an issue with the people you’re targeting, or your messaging, or your timing. Knowing the conversion rates from lead to customer will help telemarketers know what’s working, or what needs to be reviewed.

As telemarketers are the people on the front lines, speaking to prospects all day every day, they’re in a great position to communicate feedback to sales teams. If the messaging simply isn’t landing, it’s important to communicate this back so that changes can be made.

When a lead is passed over from telemarketing to sales, communication is, again, extremely important. Notes detailing what has been discussed, anything the prospect has specifically mentioned, and expectations will be crucial for the salesperson to take the next meeting. Without having that, the sales team have to start from scratch to get the information, which not only wastes time and frustrates you and the prospect, but also implies that your business isn’t communicating internally, leaving the prospect with a poor impression.

How else can telemarketing support sales teams?

Telemarketing can be used for a whole bunch of things, not just generating leads and appointments.

  • Event recruitment – if your sales team are attending or exhibiting at an event, you can use telemarketing to increase awareness of that event, invite prospects you’d like to see, and encourage people to stop by and meet with your team. If you’re hosting an event then this is even more important – you need to get the word out.
  • Cleansing your data – perhaps your sales team want to work their database themselves. Well, that doesn’t mean telemarketers can’t help. If you’ve bought data, or you’ve had that database a long time, there will definitely be a lot of bad or outdated information hanging around. A database cleanse involves telemarketers calling and validating (or updating) the information you have, to make sure your sales team don’t waste their time.
  • Gain market insights – we mentioned earlier that telemarketers are the front line – they’re hearing directly from your prospects. This can give your sales team great insights into the challenges and priorities your prospects are facing. Common themes can generate talking points, fodder for email outreach, and even ideas for product development.
  • Follow ups – after your sales team have met with a lead, they need to follow up, right? Well, what if they have dozens of leads and appointments to handle? Telemarketing can be used for following up to check back in with the prospect, get their feedback, move them to the next stage, and nurture them – all without taking time from your sales teams.
  • Appointment reminders – how often have you booked appointments with prospects only for them to fail to show up? This is a big challenge for sales teams, wasting time and effort. Telemarketers can conduct courtesy reminder calls, to make sure the prospect remembers the meeting and attends, or reschedule if things have now changed. It’s easy for people to skip a sales meeting if other priorities come up, so this technique can really improve attendance rates and reduce wasted time.

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