Telemarketing – How To Generate Business In Spite of Legislative Hurdles

The telemarketing industry is facing a serious challenge that has gained impetus in the last few years – restrictive legislation. Regulation of telemarketing services has the votes of the general public and is supported by both parties. While this puts some pressure on telemarketing services, it is also an opportunity for quality organizations to prove their worth by adding value to businesses and consumers.

Telemarketing regulations – a mutating challenge

The challenge of conforming to telemarketing regulations is further complicated by the frequent changes made to them. Old laws are revamped and new laws developed that often have overlapping jurisdictions. Telemarketing services have their work cut out in keeping current with the legislative environment.

Some rules that telemarketing companies must comply with to avoid getting penalized are:

Curfews: Telemarketers cannot call consumers at any time of the day. There is a specified time range within which the call should be made.
Do-Not-Call lists: People who have registered on Do-Not-Call lists cannot be called by telemarketers. Telemarketing services are expected to make this check before making a call. They can call the customer under certain exceptions only. Do-Not-Call registries are maintained at national and state levels.
Licensing: Though not applicable in all states, telemarketing companies have to obtain a license to operate. Some states also expect bonding of the company. This creates more paperwork and additional payout of fees for telemarketing services.
Mandating caller ID transmission: Consumers can use call screening to divert calls from call centers or choose not to receive them. This closes the door on telemarketers effectively.
Content restrictions: There are laws that regulate what a telemarketing service can market and even the form of marketing them. This is restrictive and sets more monitoring checks for the company.
Effective telemarketing – merging compliance and sales

In spite of the many restrictions imposed on telemarketing, it can be a part of a business’ marketing mix. Companies maintain their telemarketing efforts by following these strategies:

Optimizing on existing customer relationships: Telemarketing laws allow calling a customer who already has a business relationship with the company, even if she is registered in the Do-Not-Call list. By cross-selling to these customers, the business keeps the doors open for future sales. Selling low-cost products or loss leaders is an opportunity to expand the client base and increase the chances of making more profitable sales in the future.
Supporting telemarketing with other marketing strategies: Businesses typically use more than one marketing strategy to promote products and offers. For telemarketing, marketing materials such as direct mails, emails, and newsletters also work to introduce customers to call center numbers and obtain their consent for calls.
Getting permission to call: Telemarketing rules also exempt cases where customers on Do-Not-Call lists agree to receive calls from some company. Businesses can get customer’s consent through affinity programs, contests or special offers.
Being professional: The reason why telemarketing is regulated so strictly today is because of the indiscriminate cold calling practiced by unprofessional call centers in the past. The calls came close to customer badgering and telemarketing faced a lot of flak for it. Quality telemarketing services maintain high standards by respecting customer’s time and willingness to entertain a call.
Telemarketing regulations, though restrictive, have raised the bar for telemarketing services. With the weeding out of unethical companies, quality telemarketing companies can distinguish themselves with their services and strategies to obtain customer buy-in.

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Should You Employ In House Telemarketers or Use an Outbound Telemarketing Agency?

Even for larger companies with dedicated sales teams this is a valid question: should you use your own telemarketers or turn to a specialist outbound telemarketing agency?

For many companies, there are three compelling reasons to outsource your telemarketing:

1) Focus

2) Capabilities

3) Cost

This article examines these three reasons and suggests why, in many cases, it makes more sense to use the services of an external telemarketing agency for business-to-business telemarketing campaigns.

1) Focus

Firstly, a strong reason for using an external telemarketing company is that they will focus on the task of generating leads for your business. Many companies, when using an internal resource, will hand this over to either an admin person or expect telemarketing to be done as an extension of their role.

But, let’s be honest about what really happens in most businesses: they find something else to do.

Unlike an external company, which employs people to make outbound telemarketing calls day-in, day-out, your employees have other duties to perform. And, believe me, they will find anything else to do rather than telemarketing. The same goes for if you choose to hire your own people “just to cold call”. After a few months, I guarantee, they will be doing something (anything) else rather than telemarketing.

Using a telemarketing agency means that you have a resource focused on telemarketing for your business and you ensure a continual effort to generate leads, not the reluctant, ad-hoc approach you will get form your own people.

2) Capabilities

Hand-in-hand with the issue of focus is that of capabilities. By outsourcing telemarketing you will access people who are far better at telemarketing that your own people. Even if you have dedicated sales people they often won’t match a seasoned telemarketer when it comes to making outbound calls.

External telemarketing agencies also bring capabilities around data acquisition, segmentation, key message and “pitch” development which your own people will lack.

Think about it; a good telemarketer will pitch around 100 prospects in a week. Given that the best telemarketers have been in the game for at least 10 years, that’s over 50,000 pitches. That’s a level of telemarketing experience you will never get it from an in-house employee.

3) Cost

Finally, another reason for many companies to consider using a telemarketing agency is cost.

When comparing using your people, or even yourself as the owner of a small business, against the cost of a telemarketing company, the costs are pretty compelling.

Telemarketing agencies charge, on average around £250 per day for a telemarketer. That’s attractive even when you compare it against the cost of your sales people. But when you consider the cost of them not being in front of prospects and actually closing, the cost justification stacks up in favour of outsourcing.

When comparing an external telemarketing company against an admin person making “a few cold calls” the costs need a little more study but they still make sense. Usually, the best approach is to consider two factors: a) the cost per lead and b) the opportunity cost.

When looking at the former, external telemarketing agencies, which are always more efficient, typically wins. In addition, when you think about the opportunity cost of not getting new leads into your pipeline and the resulting lost new business growth, it’s usually obvious that using a telemarketing company is the best investment.

So, in summary, when thinking about whether to use your own people or external telemarketers, consider the total picture of how much focused your own people will be, how good they will be, and what is the real return on the

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