Telemarketing vs Tele-Prospecting: Best Choice for your Business
One of the most popular methods of building rapport with prospective buyers is through phone sales. This technology has enabled businesses to get in touch with more prospects in less time, thereby generating increasing profitability.
Sales representatives have to call leads, understand their requirements, discuss the company’s products and services, and figure out ways to turn those leads into bonafide buyers – they may also have to call on existing customers to gauge their satisfaction and possibly upsell them.
It is important to have sales personnel to professionally represent your business because reports suggest that 77% of buyers want to hear from representatives in the first stage of buying to enhance their business operations.
Similarly, 62% of customers prefer getting in touch with an agent to solve a problem related to the business’s product or service – stats like these render phone calls a vital tool in your sales repertoire.
Now, you might have been at the receiving end of two types of calls: telemarketing and tele-prospecting. Although both the terms refer to using the telephone to communicate with a prospect, this is where the similarities end.
Telemarketing is just what it sounds like – marketing via the phone, and it has proven to be an effective strategy in engaging leads.
Telemarketers are responsible for selling or promoting a product or service over the phone, and their goal is to relay their message as efficiently as possible.
On the other hand, tele-prospecting is the practice of generating or seeking the interest of a lead in your company’s products or services – it is usually deployed in B2B sales.
Let’s dive into the details and see which of these is more effective for your business.
What is Telemarketing?
Telemarketing is the process of selling via phone, using predefined scripts in hopes that the sales agent will get the message through quickly and effectively.
The agent relates to the prospect, lays out the benefits of what they are selling, and then attempts to answer any queries and concerns that the customer might have.
Telemarketing is often a one-time call that generates immediate sales, and this is why it is employed by many businesses all over the world. In Australia alone, the telemarketing industry has grown by 3.3% over a span of five years – it has performed well for companies that emphasise high-quality and value-added customer services.
This form of marketing can be effective at promoting consumer-based goods and services, especially items with relatively low value but high sales volume. But the trouble with telemarketing is that it lacks personalisation and that sometimes affects its effectiveness as a strategy.
Besides, it can take several phone calls to introduce prospects into a sales funnel since buyers don’t like to be called only to be harangued into spending their money. It can be challenging to convince them over the phone using a generic script – only trained professional sales agents have the ability to customise the script without putting the business at risk or irritating the prospect.
The number of call attempts, connections made or the suitability of conversations had, measure the success of this strategy. Little attention is paid to the quality or relevance of the interaction with the contact.
For this purpose, less experienced staff are hired whose only job is to blaze through the lists of prospects and telephone numbers, while sticking to the script.
What is Tele-Prospecting?
Tele-prospecting takes a more targeted approach to selling on the phone. In practice, the agent creates a more open dialogue with the prospects to help them identify the benefits and opportunities of the products they are selling.
These interactive discussions are often unscripted, but they sometimes involve prompts to guide the conversation and help it evolve into something fruitful. The sales representative makes sure that he or she listens to the prospect and adapt their approach to fit the queries and concerns.
Therefore, tele-prospecting can’t be left to novice salespeople, and only experienced marketers are charged with the tasks of identifying the company’s objectives and aligning them with the needs of the prospect.
The agent is then required to nurture the relationship and re-engage with the prospect at ideal times in case they are not ready to take action during the initial phone call. However, the real difference between telemarketing and tele-prospecting is that a prospector won’t be upset if the conversation ends after the first phone call without a sale.
That’s because the real goal of a tele-prospecting campaign is to find the right fit of a customer and not just a one-off sale.
Sure, the success of your campaign may be determined by the number of conversions or calls that lead to an action taken by the prospect, but the most crucial element is the conversion forecasts and not just meetings booked or sales made.
Critical Differences between Telemarketing and Tele-Prospecting
The terms telemarketing and tele-prospecting are often lumped together, but there are some fundamental differences between the two. Following are the key factors that differentiate them:
Telemarketers utilise a business-to-consumer (B2C) selling approach where they place many calls to a long list of recipients hoping some would bite. They do not have much time for these calls, and they don’t put much value on the person at the other end.
Their goal is just to achieve a high number of calls to meet their sales numbers.
On the other hand, tele-prospecting is a complex function that takes a more business-to-business (B2B) approach to sales. It is mostly associated with warm-calling carried out by a trained staff that can engage and communicate with the decision-makers on the other end of the call.
Tele-prospectors make calls to high-level evaluators, with whom they can start a conversation, often using referrals to find them. This is why this is the most suitable method for promoting B2B products and services.
A telemarketer will determine their successful calls based on the number of people they were able to pass through the sales pipeline. It is improbable that they will revisit these prospects if the calls end with a yes or no.
However, in tele-prospecting, the success of a call is not measured quantitatively. The goal of this process is to develop sales leads that are bound to take action. It generates quality leads by understanding the buyer’s needs and offering a compelling proposition that satisfies their needs and leaves no room for queries and concerns.
Nature of Sales Representatives
Telemarketers are mostly entry-level salespeople with minimal sales experience. They follow a script that sounds more like a sales pitch where they are forced to make many calls, sometimes even hundreds, in a day.
On the other hand, tele-prospecting is carried out by highly-trained, seasoned, and well-paid experts. They are well-versed in structured communication using intelligence-based guidelines to uncover sales opportunities.
It is an engaging 2-way interaction that requires the tele-prospector to be skilled at the art of asking questions and effectively answering them.
They understand the nuances involved in a business conversation and ensure that they draw out qualifying information from the call through soft-skills and dialogue.
Already tried Telemarketing? Here’s why your Business Needs Tele-Prospecting!
The main goal for every business is to increase its customer base to increase its sales, and ultimately, profits. But the main challenge is that they do not have the time to look for prospects.
It is a fact that identifying a potential buyer can be very time-consuming, and sometimes it takes their attention away from their existing clientele.
This is where tele-prospecting comes in. It identifies prospects from a sea of thousands of potential customers and qualifies them to go through a sales pipeline.
Tele-prospecting serves as a bridge between sales and marketing.
Following are some compelling arguments for the increasing importance of tele-prospecting:
Increase in Demand Generation
When tele-prospectors call and make a value proposition to a potential customer, they are generating demand. They do this by phone instead of resorting to emails, landing pages, blogs, or other forms of content. Hence, tele-prospecting is just another useful tool in the demand generation tool kit.
It provides a more personalised and human touch that sets it apart from other demand generation tactics.
Employing it can divide the sales and marketing responsibilities at each stage of the buying cycle, especially if you are the owner of a large corporation.
Helps in Better Sales-Marketing Alignment
There is too often a war between sales and marketing – but when marketing professionals are designated with the responsibility of tele-prospecting, they usually develop a soft spot for the sales team and empathise with them.
This is because the marketing department then has to overlook all processes such as recruitment, on-boarding, capacity planning, and productivity metrics for the tele-prospectors.
There is also no denying the fact that if you have an excellent team of tele-prospectors at your hand, they can be the vanguard in the lead generation war. They are in tune with qualified leads and know from the get-go which ones won’t work.
If it is executed in the right manner, tele-prospecting will help the marketing department understand how they can help in optimising the productivity of both prospecting and sales.
The revenue produced by tele-prospecting is far higher than the income generated by paid search, social media, or even advertising. It is a strategy that firmly believes in a high return on investments.
Even if it is just meant to identify leads, it can deliver a considerable pay off if done well. Also, the right tele-prospecting operation will open the door to new funding for the marketing departments due to the revenue generated.
Works Best with Outbound Marketing
Outbound marketing is only effective if all its parts work in conjunction with each other. Integrated lead nurturing produces positive results for a reason, but it can become challenging if you remove tele-prospecting from the picture.
You need specific departments to design the message and also figure out its deployment time, frequency, and method of contact. Also, make sure that this messaging and information-exchange strategy works – and tele-prospecting can bring it all together and help you do just that.
It can blend well with other outbound marketing tactics to help you achieve your sales quota.
Enhances the Lead Scoring Models
Tele-prospecting provides the necessary funnel data on lead generation so that you can fine-tune the scoring model. Through this data, the marketing department can compare the unreachable leads with those that do follow up with tele-prospecting representatives.
This way, they can identify the characteristics that relate to the responsiveness and develop strategies to increase the lead scoring numbers accordingly.
Helps in Improving your Brand’s Message
Through tele-prospecting, marketers can find out if the potential customers are acting on their messaging or media strategy. If a large number of customers are not reaching out to the target market, the marketing team can change their brand’s message to enhance the number of responders.
Similarly, if the tele-prospecting team receives the same data, they can work on their prospecting techniques and improve their practices. So if a large number of sales-ready leads are not responding to follow-up calls, the tele-prospectors will try to assess the situation and react accordingly.
Choosing Between the Two
There can be some severe consequences for making the wrong choice between telemarketing and tele-prospecting to promote your product or service. It could lead to a considerable loss of time, money, damage to reputation, and sometimes catastrophic sales results.
For some businesses, both methods can work when executed in the right manner. It depends on your range of products and services, the kind of market you cater to, and the customers you serve (B2B, B2C, or both).
Businesses that offer low value but high sales volume products or services on a rather short timeline should go for telemarketing.
But if you have a more sophisticated sales cycle with long sales-lead times and high-value offerings, tele-prospecting is the right choice for you.
This makes it evident that both telemarketing and tele-prospecting have a place in a successful sales strategy. But only applying the right methodology at the right time and in the right situation will help you determine the success of your telesales efforts.
What is the goal of tele-prospecting?
The ultimate goal of a tele-prospector is to pass on high quality, qualified sales leads. The focus is on building rapport and determining which prospects will be a good fit.
What is the goal of telemarketing?
A telemarketers success is measured on the volume of calls they make within the shortest possible time. The focus is on conveying their message via a script designed to get their prospect to commit to the next step in the sales process.