Telemarketing in the 21st century? Is it still relevant? asks Steve Shellabear of dancing lion
Have you noticed how there seems to be a fairly lively debate going on regarding the relevance of telesales and telemarketing in the 21st century?
At dancing lion, we find this to be a very odd thing indeed. A little bit like discussing whether dogs should be allowed to bark. The question of relevance is simply irrelevant, because it’s happening!
Companies of all shapes and sizes around the world are using the phone to communicate with their customers, and there are good reasons why, in the age of social media and content marketing, the humble telephone is still a valuable sales and marketing tool.
The answer to why is of course, all about human contact, accurate targeting and cost efficiency. Even though we can leverage vast amounts of data from the various social media platforms in ever more effective ways, there are many industries and sectors in which phoning a prospect is still very effective, and actually the done thing. And the thing that produces high DM contact and excellent conversion rates.
Having said all of which, there are some major if’s and but’s to add to this argument, and top of the list is the effectiveness of our telesales or telemarketing staff. Perhaps one of the reasons telemarketing got such a bad name for itself was the ‘in at the deep end’ tactics of so many disreputable companies. No staff training and no data to speak of, just grab a phone and start calling from the list. Do the numbers. And that’s still largely the perception the majority of us carry around.
Not surprisingly, our experience is radically at odds with this view. When an organisation sticks to the best practice path for telesales or telemarketing operations, the results are superb. The old way of doing things, if it ever was effective, is all but dead now – volume calling, poor lists, ‘anyone’s a good prospect’ – not anymore and certainly not on our watch!
We take a high level view of telesales and telemarketing. What this means in practice is a training programme for call and contact centre staff which develops high levels of accuracy, professionalism and alertness.
Yes, alertness. Wouldn’t you want your staff to be savvy, on-the-ball types, who are paying attention not just to what they’re saying, but what they’re hearing? Listening for openings, opportunities, new avenues to explore for perhaps another department, another product or service. Alertness pays, and in more ways than one. Alert staff are more engaged and take far more ownership in the calls. Aren’t we always asking our calling staff to direct the call? Well this is how they go about doing it – active participation, active listening.
Dancing lion have a strong track record in assisting organisations to implement customer satisfaction initiatives.