In this digital world that we live in many companies seem to forget that ‘people buy from people’. Building a relationship over email or online can sometimes prove extremely difficult compared to striking up a conversation over the phone. It might seem old fashion but it is still very effective when used appropriately and when within the marketing mix.
With more ways to communicate than ever before a mix of methods is often the most effective and suitable way of communicating. Modern types of marketing channels might be fashionably in demand however in some instances are they really best suited to do the job at hand? A traditional approach such as telemarketing still has an important place in the marketing arsenal.
However, as most people know telemarketing programmes are not guaranteed to succeed so to offer a helping hand we have detailed 10 of the most common pitfalls that cause telemarketing programmes to fall short.
1. Data segmentation
Most online campaigns heavily utilise segmentation to help reach the right audience. Segmentation is often an area that sometimes get overlooked in telemarketing programmes. Without the correct segmentation speaking to the right people within the right companies can prove both time consuming and costly.
2. Data capture
Most calls in an ongoing campaign will produce an outcome either positive or negative but would not necessarily be noted down. However, without making a note from every call, you might be missing important information that could be used to produce more efficient calling, such as incorrect targeting, frequency limitations, seasonality challenges, timing of call etc.
3. Managing change
Too much of a scripted approach will make conversations static and uninteresting. Too little guidance will not steer the programme in the right direction. However, being able to read the signs for when change is required is vital in ensuring a long term successful programme. Regular feedback check points with all stakeholders involved are essential.
If people buy from people, then inevitably having the right people on the phones is key to achieving success. Allocating a suitable resource rather than just using the one that happens to be available could determine the success of your programme. Training, monitoring and ongoing mentoring is a time consuming task, so if your programme is run internally then make sure that enough ‘prime time’ is allocated.
The challenge around resourcing a programme internally, is also the reason why companies choose to outsource their telemarketing programmes. However the key with outsourcing as with insourcing is ensuring the right people are used for the right job. Time and effort needs to be taken to train an external resource as it would be to train an internal resource particularly if the proposition is complex, highly technical or with small nuances that could make all the difference when speaking with people on the phone. The lines of communication between the internal stakeholders and the external companies need to be left open and include regular updates on progress, issues being discovered etc.
6. Differentiating between sales and marketing
Even though marketing by nature has the aim to eventually generate sales, sales and marketing are inherently two very different disciplines. The tact and approach for a sales activity versus a marketing activity will vary significantly and it is important that sales and marketing both agree on defining simple things like what is an acceptable lead when passing such leads from and to each other. Without this agreement sales and marketing will not be working towards the same goal, leads and sales.
7. Setting goals and expectations
As with any programme, setting the expectations and defining the goals up front enables agreement on the aim of a campaign as well as define the benchmark to judge its success against. For long term telemarketing programmes, it becomes important to ensure that your approach will enable you to revisit conversations at a point where they are mature from a nurturing point of view. Ultimately, this will affect how viable your programme is ongoing and these sorts of factors, such as nurturing of contacts to sales readiness should be discussed as aims of the programme from the very beginning. Short term campaign bursts do not necessarily have this restriction as a consideration.
Just because a programme utilises the telephone as the main medium for communication, does not exclude it from being creative. Consider the best way to engage with your audience and devise the tools and means of successful engagement accordingly. This may include online or interactive tools, trigger messaging or advance dynamic messaging or indeed technology such as instant call-back or chat now functions.
9. Frequency and timing
Speaking to the right target audience with the right message at the right time might sound simple but it can become complex and difficult to identify who is the right person and what is the right message unless you have the facilities to capture the indicators required to segment data to make this happen. Nurturing only works if you are able to capture these signals and deliver content accordingly in the preferred manner. It would also be wise to watch out for ‘learnt’ behaviour from your target audience, such as them beginning to realise that as soon as they open an email they receive a phone call, so put time or frequency levels in place to delay follow up appropriately.
Cutting through the ‘noise’ can be very difficult in busy marketing channels. Switching to a different marketing channel can prove very beneficial, but can also be regarded as not appropriate depending on the topic. Choosing the right channel for the right message can be just as important as who should deliver it. Just because you can reach someone, anywhere at any time doesn’t mean that you should!