Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.

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33 questions for telemarketing success

If you are about to launch into a telemarketing program, it is important to understand where you have been, how you got to where you are with your current marketing program and where you are going. And you should have this understanding before beginning any marketing effort — including telemarketing

From my own experience in developing integrated marketing programs I learned how to come to this understanding by putting out questions that require specific answers if a bottom-line successful campaign is to be the result.

These 33 Questions to Answer are a start toward fulfilling your telemarketing objectives in particular, as well as your overall marketing objectives.

To focus your efforts, I have divided the questions into 8 groups. You can review the questions in sequence or use them in any order that’s intuitive to you. Either way, the outcome of your inquiry will be an inventory of considerations around which to build your program. Let's talk about each of these eight groups one by one.

Group 1: Planning

Because most of us have always had access and use of a telephone and many of us have used the telephone for business on a daily basis, there is a misconception in the business marketplace that all it takes to establish an effective telemarketing program is a desk, yellow tablet, a sharp pencil, and a phone. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The five questions in group 1 address the issue of making certain you know the direction you want your telemarketing program to take. It matches its purpose against the overall marketing objectives that have been established for a particular product or product line, a division, or the total company — whichever is applicable.

Group 2: The audience

Who are your prospects and customers? What list source will you use? What information is available from that list?

The single most important aspect of any data marketing program, and particularly any telemarketing program, is the audience. You cannot be successful unless you aim the message at the right people. It is imperative, even more than with direct mail, that a careful and highly targeted selection be made of the individuals you will be telephoning.

Group 3: Orders

How many leads will you get every month? How many orders from those leads? What does this translate into dollar volume and the numbers of products or services sold?

This means that whatever you've done in the past, you can expect to be able to repeat in the future.

Group 4: Objectives

The most important point is that you have them! It doesn't matter nearly as much what they are ... it matters considerably that you have seriously renewed your needs and have established a set of objectives specifically for your telemarketing operation.

These objectives need to be separated from other aspects of your complete advertising, public relations, sales promotion, and direct marketing program. A part of the whole, but individually set.

Group 5: Co-op marketing

How will the other sales and marketing tools that are being used to support your business interface with your telemarketing program?

It is a rare instance when a telemarketing program stands on its own. In most cases the telephone as a sales and marketing support tool worked better in cooperation with other media. Establish up-front how that is going to work for you.

Group 6: The offer, the time of the year, and money.

It is imperative in any marketing program to have an offer, a reason for your call, and some news of value for your audience.

You need to build in to your telemarketing presentation an opportunity for your audience and the reason they should consider you now: An offer. This is not an option! It is a mandatory element for any successful telemarketing program.

Although telemarketing could be considered "manufacturing" with the use of a script and a constant and ongoing program, each individual "product", each individual telephone call, is just that — individual.

Most products and services do have a season. You need to know what this is in the beginning in order to build your program around it at the best possible time to get to your audience.

End-users buy Christmas trees in December. You may be able to get to the wholesale marketplace, however, during the summer months.

Most beachwear is bought in the late spring and summer. Department stores make their buying decisions during the winter months. So it's important to know your audience.

As with anything, you must have a budget. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Two of the largest expenses in telemarketing programs are equipment and people. In addition, there is overhead expense for supplies, postage, fulfillment materials, and such. It is a capital intensive as well as a personnel intensive business.

Group 7: Staff and environment

You need more than just telemarketers and an adequate facility in which to house them. Support staff and equipment can many times make the difference in a successful program. Telemarketers — the good ones — should be on the telephone 5 to 6 hours of their 8-hour day. They not should be given assignments pushing paper and concerning themselves with other aspects of running the business.

As you build your total telemarketing program, you must consider how you are going to physically serve the telecommunicators as well as your audience.

Group 8: Measurement

How will you measure the success of your telemarketing program? What results will you consider successful? As with any direct marketing program, it is imperative up-front to decide what will be your measure of success. How will you analyze what happens?

There are four key things to analyze: 1) What happened? 2) What did not happens 3) Why it happened, or why didn't it happen? 4) Now that you know all this information, what are you going to do with it? As you plan your overall telemarketing effort, know how you're going to measure that effort.

The questions

By answering these 33 questions, or at least making a thorough attempt to do so, you are forced to think and plan. It is important to know where you are going. It is important to know your marketplace and the competition. It is important to know the media mix.

It is also important to consider all the variables and the timetable for your program, and the budget to implement it.

Are you guaranteed success if you answer these questions? No! But you will have aimed yourself in the direction that allows you to think and plan and to set your objectives.

Group 1: Planning

1. Do you have an overall company marketing plan? Is there a section on telemarketing within the plan?

2. What are your current company sales revenues and what are your objectives for the next 12 months?

3. How much of this expected growth, over the next 12 months, is planned to come from your telemarketing unit?

4. What is your reason for believing telemarketing will work for you to this audience?

5. What else do you think is important that will help you get this program up and running successfully?

Group 2: Audience

6. Who will you be calling? What is the fist source?

7. How have you been serving this marketplace to date — in person, through the mail, dealers, distributors, other networks, other?

8. Are there any outside sales people making calls today? If so, how many sales reps do you have? Who are they calling on?

9. Are your lists available including names and telephone numbers? What is the list format?

10. What do you know about your customers? Is there a sales history?

11. How do you currently maintain your customer database information?

12. How do you currently keep your prospect files?

Group 3: Orders

13. How many leads do you receive each month? Average? Range?

14. How many orders do you receive each month? Is the number of orders a reflection of the number of leads?

15. What is the average dollar volume of each individual sale? What is the range?

16. What is the average gross margin on the average sale? What is the range?

17. What quantities of products do your customers usually buy?

18. How often do your customers repeat an order in a 12-month period? What is each worth to you in a year? Average? Medium? Range?

Group 4: Objectives

19. What is the primary objective of your telemarketing program?

20. What are your secondary objectives?

Group 5: Co-op marketing

21. What sales promotion, advertising, direct marketing, or public relations efforts are now being used to support your business?

22. Do you prospect or service your audience at trade shows? If yes, which ones?

23. How will your advertising and marketing programs now in place support your telemarketing effort?

24. Will outbound calls follow-up your advertising and marketing responses or will calls be made independent of prior contacts?

Group 6: Offer, season, and budget

25. What news or offer, can be added to the call? What is your reason for calling?

26. Do you have a seasonal product or service? If so, what is the high season? What is the low season?

27. Is a telemarketing budget established? For the test period? For the next 12 months?

28. Who will be available to provide technical assistance in developing this program with you? Areas in which input will be needed include:

Product information. Features, needs, advantages, benefits, sales points.
Personal sales call flow.
Most commonly asked questions and the answers.
How to coordinate this program with your distribution channels.
How to handle orders received.
Technical information.

Group 7: Staff and environment

29. Is there a designated physical environment available for telemarketing?

30. What support is available for this program from management? Clerical and secretarial?

31. What computer support, if any, is available now? Or soon will be?

Group 8: Measurement

32. What is the measure of your proposed program? What result will you consider successful?

33. Reporting-what would you like in the content of your reports?

Source of lead.
Territory response.
Cost per lead.
Number of total leads.
Cost per close.
Last order received.
Frequency of order.
Value of order.
How often would you like to have a report on your telemarketing program?


Use these tips to organize your thinking, whether about a new telemarketing program or one that you already have in operation. Planning leads to success.

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