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Outsourcing Your Telemarketing Function – The Pros & Cons

These days, if you don’t fancy making your own appointments, or selling your products directly, you can hire someone to do it for you.

While most of the companies I talk to prefer to directly recruit their own telesales or telemarketing teams, outsourcing the telemarketing role seems to be a popular second choice.

Yesterday a friend of mine asked me for some advice on how to go about selecting the right telemarketing company for the outsourced option. Below are some thoughts:

Decide your strategy (then stick to it)
Have you fully worked out whether going to prospective client meetings is your most efficient way to sell?

At Natural Training we have built a strong business by cutting out meetings from our sales cycle as much as possible. The money this saves is extraordinary, which we can use to keep the costs of our training down. And fewer meetings = much better sales productivity (1 meeting versus 50 calls).

For example a lot of products demonstrate well online, and teleconferencing with an online demo or view of webpages might be a logical next step. Meetings come at a cost – I know some companies who have been sent to bankruptcy by lots of poorly qualified meetings that they chase around the UK.

Internal versus External Telemarketing/Telesales Resource
Have you priced up the option of having a dedicated telesales/telemarketing resource? Around £18-25K basic plus performance based incentives totalling £30K per year will do it.

You’ll be lucky to pay a telemarketing company less than that if they are to do the job properly (£2.K – £4K per month).

At Natural Training we have a very particular recruitment process to find the best of the best to sell our presentation skills and sales training courses. It’s not easy hiring the best, but it can pay itself off many times over if you get it right. Let me know if you need any tips on recruiting telemarketing/telesales people!

If you do outsource your telemarketing/telesales, choose your provider wisely!
It’s important to know that they owner of the telemarketing company may give you confidence and earn your trust, but may not be actually making the calls. It’s important to ask of the owner/s:
* What is his team like?
* What is her office like? Look for cleanliness, results on whiteboards clearly, incentives and prizes, break out areas etc.
* How does he brief his team? Sit in the office for a couple of hours sipping coffee and looking. You should see calm and controlled activity, information clearly laid out on computer screens, no-one losing tempers, people helping each other out etc.

Killer questions to ask of your telemarketing company:
· Can I please have the name of three customers who I can call as reference points?

· What is your typical call/conversation/pitch/close ratio like? (Don’t accept vague answers, he should know these average numbers off the top of his head and if he doesn’t that also tells you something).

· How do you train your people to ensure that they are the best?

· What reports will I receive – can I have a look at a sample call sheet, meeting agenda report and monthly consolidated report?

· Will I get a direct line through to the person who made the meeting if I have any questions?

· How many people will be in charge of my campaign?

· How much talk time per day do you expect from your people?

Stay involved!
The key to the whole outsourcing process is to stay involved. If you nurture the relationship with your outsourced telemarketing/telesales provider, call and meet weekly, feed through new developments, don’t accept poor performance, and pretty much spend a lot of energy on outsourcing then you get a good result.

If you don’t spend LOTS of time getting it right and working closely with your outsourced telemarketing provider, then you might find your company reputation slips behind.

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