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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

There's a recurring theme I keep seeing that actually makes me wonder why I bother.

You see, I come across lots of business owners who have tried telemarketing agencies before and found that they just didn't deliver what they promised.

They tell me something like "we were promised we'd get 2 appointments per day and we only got 1" or "they said that they'd get us senior appointments but we always seemed to end up in front of someone too junior".

You may even have experienced something similar to this yourself.

And, behind this, you'll find plenty of telemarketing agencies (large and small) who are constantly churning clients and have to replace them with new ones.

So, there's this ever increasing spiral of clients looking for more than is delivered (either because they had their fingers burned previously or simply have unrealistic expectations) and telemarketing agencies who are willing to promise the earth as they need to plug a gap of lost clients because they haven't been able to deliver what they promised.

This dynamic is driven by a highly competitive and fragmented market and also by clients looking to get more for less from their marketing budget.

It's all a bit "chicken and the egg" and, in then end, no one wins.

Now, maybe I'm wrong, but I just don't see the point of playing that game.

Here's the reality check: no-one really knows what results you'll get until they try.

This is true of any marketing spend, even "results-based" models such as pay-per-click (which only guarantee "clicks" not sales). Even if a telemarketing agency has worked with a similar sector before, targeting similar prospects it's just that - similar. Even the timing of a telemarketing campaign can vary results so let's stop pretending that anyone really knows what results you'll get.

The only way to find out is to run a pilot that's big enough to get traction but small enough to mitigate the costs of it not working.

Also, let's start being a bit more "grown-up" about results.

Any telemarketer worth their salt should be able to come up with a realistic return for a given investment. Some may be overly optimistic, some much more cautious, but ultimately their predictions shouldn't be miles apart. Given the parameters of any campaign, most experienced telemarketers will agree on the type of results they can deliver.

I've always worked in sales roles where you had to build long term relationships. If anything, I lean towards to conservative end of the spectrum. Why? Well, mainly because I believe in delivering on promises. Plus, I know that if we do deliver, we are more likely to build a longer term, sustainable relationship with our clients.

However, if I was an account manager for a telemarketing agency only interested in winning the next client to keep "bums on seats" then wouldn't I be motivated to inflate expectations to win the gig.

Which will only result in more client churn and more business owners who've had their fingers burned.

Personally, I'd rather set realistic expectations and not win the work. There's a significant investment of time on both sides to set up a campaign and get it under way so why bother unless both parties believe it's the start of a profitable, long term relationship.

I'd like to think that the telemarketing agencies that take the short-term view will eventually drop out of the market but, unfortunately, I doubt that will happen.

More likely they'll just continue to muddy the water for everyone else.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 1:41 pm |   | Links to this post  

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