The Yahoo Outbound Telemarketing Buyer’s Guide isn’t bad. It’s just that it’s stuffed so full of fluff and SEO-oriented sentences and formatting, that it can be a little frustrating to get through. You can check it here.
Anyway, to spare you the pain, I went ahead and created the Cliff Notes version for you:
Types of Telemarketing Services:
- Direct sales
- Lead generation
- Appointment scheduling
- Verifying information/cleaning lists
- Research and surveys
Balance cost versus expertise level of the service provider.
Reasons to Outsource:
- Accommodate rapid growth
- Leverage expertise of service provider
- Test new markets quickly
- Specialty services such as split shifts, multiple languages, etc.
- Potential cost savings
- Decide on goals and pick success metrics in advance
- Forecast your expected call volume
- Find an agency with relevant experience
- If possible, sync up CRM systems
- Avoid companies where the average tenure of an agent is less than 1 year… look for agencies where 35% or more of the agents have been with the firm for 3 years or more.
- Determine in advance the reporting you will need (type and format) and verify that the agency can accommodate you.
- Decide whether you want to be able to monitor the agents live.
- Decide whether data security is important to you and what safeguards you require.
- Establish call protols in advance:
- time of day to call
- number tries before leaving a message
- how to follow up
- Participate in training
- Did you accomplish your overall goals when working with this company?
- Were you able to get all the metrics you needed around activity and results?
- What were the agents’ biggest strengths and weaknesses?
To Offshore Or Not To Offshore
- Pro: cheaper… up to 75% lower
- Con: can impact corporate image
- Con: communication issues
- Con: travel for site visits
Choose locations where accents are not too strong and English is commonly spoken…
Apply the same selection criteria as you would for U.S.-based agencies.
- Listen to calls
- Talk to the agents
Outsourcing Costs & Requirements
- Many firms have minimu call volumes ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 person hours or more
- Costs can range from $10 an hour for an offshore service to as high as $60 an hour for a specialized domestic call center
- Setup fees can be in the thousands of dollars
- Some agencies charge separately for administration
- Agencies willing to work on a commission, at least partially, often deliver better results
- Own all your 800 numbers
- Invest in good scripting… take your call center’s advise seriously
- Have your best sales people participate in the training