11.05.2022 - Molly Zonneveld

Telemarketing is not dead, but it does need a critical update

When selling a high-value product or service, it’s tempting to call your leads directly to engage in a one-on-one phone conversation. While our world continues to move towards omnipresent automation, telemarketing can seem like an archaic approach – especially when lists are low-quality, leads question your authenticity and agents stray from proper protocols. But all is not lost; telemarketing is still a valuable medium if you take these steps to future-proof your approach.  

So what’s the most crucial step in achieving 21st century telemarketing success? Refreshing your sales and conversion funnel. While this might seem obvious, scripts and forecasts are often outdated, calling structures unclear and outbound processes missing altogether. To do a full scrape of your existing funnel, we suggest going through the below steps to create the ‘telemarketing funnel 2.0’ that will help make your sales projections a profitable reality. 

To start, look at the number of leads generated. Your leads are the key determinant of your funnel’s success. The general rule of thumb is that the more leads you have, the better, but it’s crucial that all leads have been targeted correctly. 

While uniquely targeted leads can keep your team alert and creative, continuous widespread outreach to vastly different demographics or lead sources can confuse agents and keep them from finding their ‘flow’. Remember that lead conversion rates typically fall somewhere between 2-10% for any given lead generation approach, so make sure you have a long list of high-value contacts to help boost your chances of conversion.

Another rule of thumb: invest in quality lists. Telemarketing is tricky to begin with, and a low-quality or outdated list doesn’t make it any easier to convert sales. To maximize your outbound marketing success, make sure your lead source is both transparent and credible, and the lead-capture net you’ve cast isn’t too wide. Spend time doing the proper research needed to define your audience, so your agents have targeted lists with genuine potential value. 

Now let’s talk about speed. Once your new leads have been delivered (securely and via API), it’s crucial to establish contact as quickly as possible to maximize brand recall and engagement. While it may seem trivial, dialling speed also plays a key factor in higher conversion rates. The faster you dial, the more calls you can make, which increases your total reach and potential number of closes. Keeping tabs on your minute-to-minute dialling rates across an entire campaign is an important habit to adopt – and asking yourself the below questions is a good way to measure progress or areas for improvement.  

  • How many leads are your agents calling?
  • What does this amount to per minute hour, day, month and year?
  • When considering your conversion rates, how does this measure alongside your sales forecasting?
  • How can you improve the numbers above? 

If your agents are still manually dialling each lead, you are missing out on a substantial amount of potential selling time – particularly with unanswered calls. With online tools like real-time reporting, you can instantaneously view this data and pinpoint problem areas if rates start to drop. 

As a general benchmark, you should be reaching at least 15% of your call list. Of the 15% of people you reach, you should expect to convert 3.5-5% into real sales opportunities. When dealing with pre-qualified leads, your benchmark reach rate should be closer to 50%. 

If your reach rate is lower, you may be calling unqualified leads and are likely damaging your chances of reaching your sales targets. Dipping below these percentages means there’s a flaw in your funnel requiring immediate attention – and it’s typically because of one of the reasons below:

  • The lists are low-quality, unqualified or come from an non-credible source
  • The scripts need improvement 
  • The call rates are too low 
  • The follow-up process needs improvement 
  • The deal-closing approach is missing the right ‘sell’, or is scaring people off 

Above all, remember that targets should be reached at each step of your sales funnel. If you’re missing your targets at any given step, go back to the source and fix it.

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