Time to hire a telemarketer?
First: Find a good telemarketing company
They all say they do a great job when you call them on the phone. But how do you know? There are actually a few useful guidelines you can use.
- 5 years or more in business. You will be surprised at this. But when you start your search for telemarketing companies, you will probably use the internet. Then you will probably find out that the first two or three companies you call are no longer in business. Or, you will find out that they are start-ups with less than 2 years under their belts. Be sure to do your shopping and look for a company that has at least 5 years of experience or more. For some reason, the 5 year mark separates the men from the boys.
- Experience in your area of need. Ask your prospective telemarketing firm how much experience they have in your specific area of need. then ask a bunch of questions as to “why” they are so good in this area. Don’t accept “corporate speak” for a response. Look for real answers and real solutions.
- Provable references. Ah, now your list of prospects just got much, much smaller! You must ask for references. And what is more, you should ask for at least two references for current/active customers and at least one reference for a past customer. Find out from other individuals what they thought about their telemarketing program and learn what they did with their results.
Second: Know where your telemarketing vendor is located
Ask your prospective vendor where he is physically located (where the telemarketing agents are actually seated). You get three responses to this question:
- Domestic USA-based provider. This is the highest-quality form of telemarketing. Consumers in the USA are simply not interested in receiving solicitation calls from folks located overseas. If quality, rather than volume, is your goal you should be seriously considering domestic telemarketing.
- Near-shore. This means a location that is relatively close the coastline of the USA. for example, a country like the Dominican Republic may provide telemarketing services and would be considered a “near-shore” operation. This would be the second-best choice in terms of overall quality.
- Off-shore. This means overseas. Manila, Philippines, India – you get the picture. Folks that choose off-shore telemarketing are usually not particularly interested in the quality of the telemarketing but focus more on inexpensive, volume-based pricing.
Third: Know what you should expect to pay
Now you have a prospective vendor on the line. How much do you pay him?
There are two primary ways to pay for telemarketing: Pay-by-the-hour and Pay-for-performance. Let’s look at both:
- Pay-by-the-hour. Most telemarketing companies use an hourly structure to bill for their services. Your vendor will give you an estimate in advance and tell you how much service will cost based on the amount of hours that the company will work for you. This hourly rate is typically scaled based on the volume of hours processed. Domestic, USA-based telemarketing will range anywhere from $25 to $35 per hour based on volume. The lower range is paid when you are generating significantly high monthly volumes of telemarketing (several thousand hours per month). The higher range is for smaller, highly-customized programs. Rates can go higher than $35/hour based on the complexity of the outbound campaign. Near-shore services run in the $15 to $25 per hour range. Off-shore can provide telemarketing services for less than $15 per hour. It is not uncommon to see overseas telemarketing sold for $12 per hour.
- Pay-for-performance. Not too many telemarketing companies offer this type of payment method. A telemarketing vendor is paid for telemarketing work when a lead is created and a sale is generated as a result of that lead. This puts the telemarketing vendor in a precarious position – they have to rely on the sales closing skill of their customer to get paid for their efforts. On the other hand, the customer – you – are also relying on the skill of the telemarketing company to actually set up quality leads for you. Most telemarketing companies will not agree to this kind of payment structure. It is simply too risky. However, pay-for-performance deals can be developed to work well for both telemarketer AND client once a particular project has proven its worth. A telemarketing company can be hired on an hourly basis for a small initial investment of hours. Then, once the client is happy with the outcome and the telemarketing service can prove to itself that the program is worthwhile, the actual results can be used to develop an ongoing pay-for-performance structure that works for both.
Finally, spend time with your prospective telemarketing service. Get to know the sales rep. Ask if you can speak directly with the telemarketing agents themselves. Find out if you can participate directly in training the telemarketing group. Ask specifics about your program such as list management, and list penetration. When you start to get positive responses to all of these questions, then you are definitely on the right trail. A good telemarketing firm will NOT promise you the sun, stars, moon and millions of dollars in closed sales. Telemarketing is hard work and good vendors know this. Telemarketing is still a numbers game. It has to be applied over time in order to be successful. But a good telemarketing team knows how to develop an opportunity when they find one. Good telemarketing vendors don’t promise you millions of dollars in instant sales. What they do promise you are consistent results applied over time.
For more information, call Sound Telecom at 425.392.3120.