Telemarketing cost effective or just plain costly? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Marketing by its very nature is a volatile beast at the best of times and with the maze of marketing activities on offer, it can be difficult to determine the most effective route to pursue. A successful marketing campaign takes planning enterprise, and smart use of a companys resources, whether they are in-house or outsourced. Michael Jackson of EB Marketing suggests that Telemarketing is one of the most successful forms of marketing available and in fact gives one of the best returns on investment. Whilst on the oustide the telemarketing approach may look like a simple and easy way to generate new business is not as straightforward as it first may seem. To the contrary, it requires good communications between the telemarketing company and the client through both the good times and the bad. It also requires a new vibrant way of approaching telemarketing to be a success and with cost effectiveness at the forefront of any campaign; it must ultimately demonstrate measurable results. It is common practice for many telemarketing agencies to offer either appointment setting or lead generation, so why do they not offer both? And why not at no extra cost? Enter Pipeline Management Pipeline management is simply the process of arranging appointments where the potential client is ready to discuss requirements of whom has a budget, and who plans to make the changes now. Generating leads for those who show similar interest but suffer from budget issues or for those who are awaiting budget, requires more work and effort, but results in a bigger pipeline for the client. Naturally budget is an important factor in any marketing activity, and clearly the Pipeline Management approach is a double winner: the client gets more for their money, and the telemarketing company is able to build a long-term relationship as a result of the size of the pipeline they have built over time. But offering Pipeline Management alone will not guarantee a long and happy client relationship they must be offered more. Lead Qualification Its one thing for someone to be interested in meeting; its another to know why. Qualifying appointments and leads is paramount. Clients must ask themselves: What issues are you currently facing? Who is this a problem for? Who will make the final decision? When will the final decision be made? Has budget been allocated to this project? The object of this exercise is simple - to provide a leading edge against the competition, and most importantly when walking through a prospects door you are armed with the relevant information to wow them and close the deal. The real value of telemarketing The biggest problem many face is the decision on whether telemarketing is the right choice and generally it is an activity that suits everyone. However it is important to take into account the cost of the campaign against the cost of the service or product being sold. The ideal length of an initial campaign can and does vary, but generally clients should look at no less than 10 days and the average is nearer to 20 days. Because a campaign never finishes in the same way it started due to changes and improvements, a small pilot campaign is always sensible. Many companies agree to 3-month contracts without any prior experience of a telemarketing company, so it is vital to make sure their ability is tested before signing on the dotted line for longer-term campaigns. It is advisable never to buy data through a telemarketing company as companies like Corpdata provide similar information directly, and the data will belong to the client rather than the telemarketing company. If carried out appropriately, telemarketing is one of the best ways to generate new business, but it is not a simple, quick fix approach and requires a dedicated telemarketing team who understand the needs of the business. Do not see them as outsiders to the business but as an integral part of the sales force and as such, they require the same input and communication as internal sales and marketing departments. Ultimately the success of the campaign should never be based on the number of appointments; but on the quality of those appointments.