How to Use Telemarketing to Generate More Leads

use telemarketing to generate more leadsThe phrase “cold calling” sends chills down the spines of many business people.  It’s often viewed as an intimidating, difficult, and boring process … and that means it doesn’t get done as often as it should.

However, outbound telemarketing campaigns can be a great way to reach a group of targeted prospects or customers to communicate a message, gather feedback, and determine a next step for the relationship.

In many companies, sales reps *should* make hundreds or thousands of cold calls every month to set appointments and/or generate leads.  But busy reps usually prefer to work on closing their existing pipeline.  Prospecting often slips on the priority list; as a result, the sales pipeline isn’t always filled with new prospects.

7 Steps to Use Telemarketing to Generate More Leads

If cold-calling activity has slipped in your company, or if you want to try it for the first time, here are 7 steps to get you on track.

1.  Specialize! If cold calling is an effective way to introduce your company to new prospects, don’t ignore it.  Instead of forcing a sales team to devote time to prospecting, many companies use an in-house or outsourced telemarketing group to make a high volume of calls, find decisionmakers and qualify leads for the field sales group.

When telemarketers handle prospecting, salespeople can spend 100% of their time selling and closing.  Your company can produce more revenue in the same amount of time; your reps earn more commission, they’re doing what they love, and they’re more satisfied with their jobs.

2. Estimate your call volume. Your call volume drives your headcount, software needs, phone system and the office space you’ll need.  If you’re thinking about outsourcing, it’s the first question any vendor will ask.

First, figure out how many calls you need to make and over what period.

    • Length of campaign:  Do you just need to call a certain number of leaders or is it an ongoing program?
    • What time zones are you calling?  If you’re calling nationwide, you have more available hours in the day to place calls.
    • Are there certain days of the week, month or year that are most important?

Second, estimate how many calls you can complete in an hour — then you’ll have a basic estimate on the number of calls and hours you’ll need.  Remember that it’s tough to get decisionmakers on the phone.  A good rep may only have a handful of quality conversations each hour.  Everything else is usually a callback.

Here’s a basic back-of-the-napkin hours estimate:  Let’s say you have a thousand business leads to call and a rep can have four quality conversations per hour.  The rep can probably only reach 80-90% of the list cost-effectively.  (1000 x .90)/4 = 225 hours of calling to call this list.  Now if you have one rep working 25 hours per week at 80% capacity (or 20 true work hours), it will take approximately 11.25 weeks (225/25) to complete the round of calls.

3.  Budget for everything! Don’t forget the incidentals — these costs can sneak up on you.  And if your budget is skyrocketing, you’re going to have a tough time generating a positive ROI.  Your budget may include

    • Headcount
    • Headsets  / phones
    • Workstations
    • Extra phone lines (installation & monthly fees) + long distance charges
    • Software licenses
    • Bonuses and incentives
    • Management


4.  Develop good scripts and keep fine-tuning.
Reps need to capture attention, build value, and close; a good script will help them do it consistently.

    • Make your scripts conversational, simple, and focused on the end goal.
    • It helps to make and listen to calls as you’re developing and refining your script.  What looks good on paper may not work on the phone.
    • Get feedback from your team as well.


5.  Regular coaching and quality assurance is crucial.
Engage your reps, role-play and guide them through calls.  Listen to calls regularly, evaluate your reps and coach them to improve their performance.  And you should be willing to get on the phone and show them how it’s done.

6.  Make it fun! Telemarketing is a tough job and turnover is a big issue.  It’s up to you to keep the energy high — and if reps are bored or unhappy, it comes through in their voice and results.

    • Keep spirits up with contests, events, and other incentives.
    • Make their space comfortable and interesting – tiny cubes, old chairs and windowless rooms don’t put a smile in anyone’s voice.

7.  Report your results

    • Define the reports you’ll need before you launch.  Your system may not be able to provide all of the data, but you can probably find an alternate solution.
    • Use reports to consistently evaluate progress and improve your campaigns.

In telemarketing it’s all about execution.  Manage your team effectively and devote enough resources to ensure that they’re a success!

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