Outsourcing: Find the Right Telemarketing Company
Some owners prefer to outsource call center functions, so they remain free to focus on core business. And contrary to popular belief, hiring an outside company can actually cost less than keeping operations in-house.
Even so, telemarketing laws have been in flux and are subject to state-by-state differences. Reputable telemarketing companies will stay abreast of current and changing regulations.
It makes sense to outsource when:
- You can’t afford to hire extra staff or equip a call center
- You lack space for a call center
- You don’t want the responsibility of managing another team
- Your business has peaks and valleys in terms of when leads come in
- You want to get a fast start on your telemarketing campaign
- You want to test new programs
Outsourcing advantages include:
- Personnel. The telemarketing company has the existing personnel and is experienced at hiring workers in this field.
- Training. Although you will be involved, the contracting company takes responsibility for training your outbound call personnel.
- Motivation and Supervision. Telemarketing companies are experienced at keeping their employees engaged and enthusiastic.
- Space and equipment. You get the benefit of state-of-the-art technology at much less cost.
- Reporting and tracking. Telemarketing companies have extensive reporting and tracking capabilities that help evaluate the program’s effectiveness.
Tips to identify the right telemarketing company
Before you visit – or hire – a prospective telemarketing firm, do a bit of homework. Start by researching a candidate’s call-volume studies, customer response, and employee feedback to assess your needs. Then:
- Check the firm's experience and references.
- Choose one that most closely provides the range of services you require.
- Consider affordability.
- Look for flexible services.
- Find a provider who can be available and responsive when you need them.
Leading sales and marketing experts recommend the following guidelines when you visit with potential contractors:
- Ask about experience. This encompasses a wide area, from how long the company has been in business to whether the company specializes in B-to-B sales-lead generation. You don't want a company whose protocol includes making cold calls at dinnertime; rather, look for one who can represent your company and its products or services to the right market. Your prospect should have direct experience in your specific industry.
- Get real numbers. If you're looking for more qualified sales leads, inquire how many a typical program can generate, as well as the leads-to-sales ratio to expect as well. Also, ask how the vendor measures return on investment.
- Tour the facilities (if possible). Venture beyond the conference room and onto the production floor. Listen in on phone calls and look over the shoulders of people who enter data and fulfill information requests. Ask to meet account managers and call teams.
- Get a written proposal. This is an easy way to check the company's understanding of your needs. It should include company background, qualifications, a detailed program recommendation, and related fees. Keep in mind that the quality of the proposal and its attention to detail will often serve as a reflection of the vendor's quality and their attention to detail.
- Review their technology. Ask prospective companies what they do to more efficiently make telemarketing calls. Also, request reports on activity and results. Finally, does the candidate have the experience and know-how to integrate their systems with yours?
- Check references. Ask to see a current customer list, along with some names of clients the company lost in the past year or two. Then, call both. Ask satisfied customers about the quality of services and personnel, and whether they would work with these telemarketers again. Unhappy customers should be able to tell you exactly what they did not like.