For every sales effort, companies have to find ways to increase their feet on the street, whether literally or figuratively. Businesses need a sales force plugging away to sell the range of products and services. Sales is almost always a company’s lifeblood, so companies have to increase their sales revenues to be competitive, whether in a local or global arena. With advances in information and communications technology, methods and channels for marketing and sales abound. One of the increasingly popular marketing and sales methods is sales and telemarketing outsourcing.
Sales and telemarketing outsourcing falls under the call or contact center services of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. This segment of outsourcing means that instead of a company having its own marketing and sales staff in-house, it contracts with a BPO company to do its marketing and sales. Marketing and sales are actually two separate segments of the sales continuum. A company may outsource its marketing or its sales or both processes. The marketing and sales processes can even be broken down into sub-processes in case the company prefers to have its own staff handle specific processes.
Sales and telemarketing outsourcing can be business to consumer/customer (B2C) or business to business (B2B). The outsourcing provider’s staff may conduct these processes through various channels such as voice (via telephone or mobile phone), email, chat or the web.
Marketing almost always comes ahead of sales (almost always because there are unusual sales that do not require any marketing). If done by an offshore outsourcing partner, marketing is implemented via telemarketing. Telemarketing can be inbound, outbound or B2B that are all part of customer relationship management (CRM) – the attempt to establish a good relationship with potential customers.
- Inbound telemarketing involves answering or responding to prospective customers’ calls, email or messages generated from various advertising and promotional campaigns and channels (through direct mail, websites, mass media commercials or radio spots). The telemarketing agent will try to solicit orders and leads.
- Outbound telemarketing has the telemarketing agent making calls to prospects in a wide variety of activities to get the customer even more interested in the company’s products and services: to generate, qualify and nurture leads, to entice visits to stores or requests for more information, to set appointments, and to survey customers.
- Business to business telemarketing is a variant of either inbound or outbound telemarketing. B2B inbound telemarketing is for doing follow-ups for the company’s in-house sales people, and to process orders. B2B outbound telemarketing is used to gain new customers, qualify prospects and pass qualified leads to the sales people of the company that outsourced its telemarketing services. The company has its own staff to close the deals.
Some people do not even differentiate between telemarketing and sales. Since telemarketing flows into sales in the sales process, many companies may consider telemarketing and sales outsourcing as one. However, because of the many different processes within each, there are certain functions that fall squarely under sales outsourcing. Sales outsourcing also requires that the agents use various channels. Some of the sales outsourcing functions are as follows:
- Inbound sales. Actual sales are completed and registered when customers are “converted” after they respond to previous direct response promotions. Sales are also made through web-based order taking, and 24/7 catalogue sales.
- Outbound sales. Agents make sales calls to verify sales, and to inform current customers about new products and services to enable cross-selling or upselling the company’s other products and services.
Because the components in the telemarketing and sales continuum are so diverse and broad, a company cannot have enough warm bodies to fully manage and implement all the aspects to ensure that prospective customers are converted into actual, satisfied, and, in the future, repeat customers. Hence, companies will continue to resort to telemarketing and sales outsourcing – whether a few or many of the functions in its sales continuum – to achieve their revenue targets.