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Thursday, December 18, 2008

The other day I was speaking with a prospective client who was considering outsourcing telemarketing after his in-house telemarketer "left and never returned".

I asked how long the telemarketer had been working with him and he told me just 4 days!

Was he any good? "Oh yeah", says this guy, "He made about 20 or so calls a day and got us a meeting before he left"

20 calls a day? One meeting after 4 days work? Oh please...

That pretty much sums up the experience of many businesses who have tried to hire people in-house to "do some telemarketing". I know, when I ran a UK sales team I hired and trained telemarketers. The trouble is, good ones are just hard to find.

What usually happens is this:

During the interview they tell you that they've had some experience telemarketing. Which is true, pretty much anyone who's been in some sales or admin role will have had to do a little cold-calling.

So, you set them on, give them the training and then they go hard at it. If you're lucky, they make plenty of calls, turn up some leads and even book some meetings.

That's week one over.

Then, as sure as the sun comes up every morning, their performance starts to tail off. They start telling you the leads are drying up. And - I guarantee this - they start to "help out" with a few jobs around the office.

It could be some filing, maybe helping with the marketing, or even "researching" online. If someone in the office goes off ill, they're in their seat like a shot. Before you know it, one day soon, you'll wake up and realise that they're no longer making those calls.

Why does this happen?

The reason is simple: very few people like to make cold calls.

Why do you think the average staff churn in most telemarketing call centres is close to 50%? People who can do this job and are any good at it are like hens teeth.

Most people would rather crawl over broken glass on bare knees than pick up the phone and start cold calling (and that includes most salespeople).

If you really want an in-house telemarketing team, expect to invest heavily in recruiting, managing and retaining them. Unless you have a market that can support two or more telemarketers full-time, it simply doesn't make sense to create an in-house team.

Outsourcing telemarketing to a professional telemarketing agency really is a no-brainer for most businesses.

For one thing, it's more flexible. Only need someone for a day a week? Need to halt a campaign, stop during the holidays or avoid specific times within your industry? By outsourcing your telemarketing to an agency that's not a problem.

For example, we work on monthly retainers for many clients, but will take a break whenever it suits ours clients best. That's the kind of flexibility that's not possible with employed in-house staff, even part-time ones!

Also, by outsourcing to a telemarketing agency that works with seasoned telemarketers (like ours, of course), you'll work with experienced people who you simply wouldn't find on the open market.

As I said earlier, very few people like to do this work and are good at it. If you hire someone with little experience then cut to the chase and ask them to start filing.

Quality telemarketing professionals are the ones who do this for a living.

Even the costs of in-house telemarketing vs outsourced seldom stack up.

OK, so you will be able to pay someone to work in-house for less than an agency. Of course, there's a whole bunch of hidden costs you'll incur such as holidays, sickness, management time, IT costs, training, etc, but even with these added, the total "costs" may still be less, pound for pound, for an in-house person compared with an outsourced telemarketer through a professional telemarketing agency.

But, it's not the costs you need to consider - it's your return-on-investment.

Even if an in-house telemarketer costs you half of an agencies daily rate, they will struggle to deliver a quarter of the results of an experienced pro.

What did that guy tell me at the start of this post? His in-house telemarketer had worked with him for 4 days, made 20 calls a day and got him one meeting. No professional telemarketer would survive on those ratios - they'd have no clients.

Outsourcing telemarketing to experienced, seasoned professionals will give you a superior return-on-investment compared with in-house people. Sure, hour-for-hour, day-for-day it might cost more to outsource telemarketing, but if your in-house people deliver a fraction of the results (and they will) then it's an irrelevant comparison.

Any experienced telemarketer worth their salt will produce at least 4x the results of the type of person you're likely to attract for an in-house role.

Plus they'll do it day after day, consistently, without you having to manage them.

And, they won't ask to do the filing :-)

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Posted by: David Regler @ 4:24 pm |   | Links to this post  

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  1. Feedback At 3:11 pm ~ Blogger Sheryl Tuttle said...

    Great points, and I especially agree with your comments on the ROI. As is so commonly the case, "you get what you pay for."

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