Inbound and Outbound Telemarketing: Key Differences You Need To Know
Say what you will about directly talking to people about your product or services, but inbound and outbound telemarketing remains a dependable strategy that keeps on delivering results for businesses across industries even in this digital age.
Telemarketing in the digital age
Some people believe that telemarketing is passé – an old school way of selling products and services, especially today when more businesses are increasingly making use of websites and social media platforms to reach their customers. Such a claim, however, is a sweeping generalization that upon closer inspection can be disputed with solid facts and figures.
While a strong digital pivot has been happening in recent years, many would think telemarketing would phase out, but multiple studies have shown that most people still prefer talking to an agent over the phone rather than just chatting on social media or other platforms when talking about a product or service they are interested in.
Telemarketing is the process of introducing a product or service to customers through phone calls. A direct marketing practice that involves agents or sales representatives contacting and vetting potential customers from a call centre, office, or home, depending on the work arrangement. It has been used for selling, lead generation, surveying, event promotion, and even market research, among others.
Depending on your business, telemarketing can either be B2B or B2C. Most of us are more familiar with B2C telemarketing, which places a big emphasis on consumer data and customer sales. On the other hand, B2B telemarketing, however, places a bigger emphasis on creating relationships with other businesses, than the actual sale of products or services.
Inbound vs outbound telemarketing
Whether you are into B2B or B2C, it pays to know the difference between inbound and outbound telemarketing. While inbound and outbound telemarketing have the same functions, they are used for different objectives. There are also different dynamics between inbound and outbound telemarketing that you need to understand to make the most out of this marketing strategy.
Inbound telemarketing is a strategy used when it is the customer who makes first contact with the business. It is reactive telemarketing for customers who already have an interest in your product or service. Usually, these people have heard about your business from your website, blog posts, advertisements, networking campaigns, and other pre-sales activities.
In this situation, the role of your inbound telemarketers is to answer the queries of the customers, and information with as much detail as possible. Your sales agents need to understand the customer’s needs and where your product or service can be of help. The information you give will help the customer decide and make an order.
Inbound telemarketing usually involves the use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to manage calls and queries across different platforms, making sure that you don’t leave any questions unanswered. CRM tools and strategies are also important in recording customer information that can be used for future campaigns.
On the other hand, outbound telemarketing is the more proactive form of telemarketing as it involves your agent directly reaching out to a potential customer to introduce or offer a product. Outbound telemarketing usually involves a tedious process of collecting data and targeting prospects before making the actual call.
Because outbound telemarketing involves unsolicited phone calls, it may become difficult to find customers that would take an interest in your products. Agents would experience cold calling prospects who would not even want to take a few minutes to learn about the product. Such rejection is commonplace, but there are strategies out there that drastically improve the chances of success.
In making the calls, agents usually follow a script that allows them to break the ice with the prospect. The same script has a list of key discussion points about the product and how it can help them in their daily lives. One strategy for outbound telemarketing is to identify and call key decision-makers of a business or a household as they usually have the purchasing power to avail your product.
Best practices in telemarketing
Reaching consumers has become more difficult these days with the rise of various digital platforms. Certain demographics would cluster on one social media website, while others would flock to another. While it is important to reach customers wherever they are in the digital world, smart business leaders would never shrug off the importance of reaching customers through the phone.
Telemarketing may be old school for some, but given the right tools and strategy, it can bring you not just ordinary buyers, but loyal customers, which can be hard to find with all the information noise in the digital world. Here are 5 different ways you maximize inbound and outbound telemarketing as a business strategy.
Set your goals
Never start a telemarketing campaign without first crafting concrete goals and objectives. Is your campaign for lead generation, event promotion, market research, or closing sales? Having a clear goal will help you determine if you need to focus on inbound or outbound calls.
Know the laws
Some areas around the globe have rules when it comes to cold calling. The United States and Australia, for example, have a Do Not Call list. Customers in this database can only receive calls from companies that do not sell any product or services.
Data is key
Before going hard on outbound sales calls, it might be more fitting to launch an account profiling campaign first to determine which prospects to pursue. When receiving inbound calls, grab the opportunity to get as much data that you might need in future campaigns and follow-up calls.
Hire qualified professionals
Telemarketing is a field that requires a certain skill set in communication. Be sure to find the right people for the job – professionals who are not just good communicators but are also willing to be ambassadors of your brand, products, and services.
Leverage global talent
Finding qualified professionals that would lead your telemarketing initiatives may be difficult, especially if you are in a region where there is a talent shortage. But why limit your reach locally when you can access global talent through outsourcing inbound and outbound sales agents?
Outsourcing is a cost-effective solution when building a team of competent sales and marketing staff. Top outsourcing destinations like the Philippines offer a wide range of experienced professionals that can deliver results based on your specific needs.
For decades now, Philippine-based talent has been supporting many companies across the globe when it comes to their sales and marketing campaigns. Not only do Filipino workers have an unparalleled work ethic and English-speaking skills, but they are also one of the most culturally adaptable people around.
Telemarketing will certainly help you reach your target customers, but it can only bring you as far as your team can go. Having a reliable outsourcing provider to help you build a competent team is one of the best solutions to make sure your sales and marketing campaigns would not go to waste.