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Companies use outbound telemarketing operations to sell products and services directly to customers and prospects. Telemarketing is an alternative to using a field sales team for selling and prospecting. It can also be used to supplement the field team by focusing call center agents on low-value products and services.
Successful telemarketing depends on a combination of technology, data and people. Telemarketing agents must be able to use prospect databases, call center technology and sales scripts. Managers and supervisors must provide induction training for new agents in addition to ongoing training to improve the skills and product knowledge of existing agents.
Telemarketing agents must have excellent product knowledge so they can deliver their presentations with confidence and deal with questions from customers and prospects. By creating sales scripts that cover key product benefits and features in a structured way, managers can ensure that agents present products in a consistent way. The scripts should also include the type of questions or objections prospects are likely to raise, together with appropriate responses.
Agents require comprehensive, up-to-date information on customers and prospects so that they can customize their presentation, rather than relying on a standard script. Data on customers’ purchasing history, preferences and service issues help agents to personalize their calls. Information on customers’ responses to marketing campaigns and promotional offers helps agents to develop offers that will ensure a sale. The information must be available on a single database that agents can access quickly and easily before and during a call.
Quality control is essential to ensure that customers receive a good service. Call centre management software is available for measuring operational quality standards and evaluating the content of calls. By analyzing reports from the quality management software, managers can identify any trends that require remedial action.
Call monitoring is essential to ensure compliance with state laws, industry regulations in sectors such as financial services, and the guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission. The commission’s guidelines are designed to protect consumers from intrusive telemarketing calls or misselling. Managers and supervisors must ensure that agents are aware of any relevant regulations and comply with them.
Although some consumers feel telemarketing is intrusive, successful call center operators can overcome resistance by providing customers with a proactive service. For example, they may contact customers who purchase regularly to remind them to re-stock. By letting customers know about new products and services or special promotions, they can demonstrate customer care.
Based in the United Kingdom, Ian Linton has been a professional writer since 1990. His articles on marketing, technology and distance running have appeared in magazines such as “Marketing” and “Runner's World.” Linton has also authored more than 20 published books and is a copywriter for global companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and economics from Bristol University.