Teleprospecting or Telemarketing?

Patrick Mason - Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Teleprospecting or Telemarketing?


The difference between Teleprospecting and Telemarketing… and why it matters

For many, the two activities – Telemarketing and Teleprospecting are lumped together as being one and the same thing. Most people do not understand the differences, nor do they recognise that there is even a difference. However these two functions are in practice and results, miles apart.

Who cares? Either way the salesperson is making ‘calls’ to a previously unknown contact, in the expectation of arranging a meeting or appointment with them …. Not so!

At some point in your career you’ll have been on the receiving end of both types of call, and you will surely have noticed the difference between them … from the person calling, to their delivery and understanding, to the purpose of the call itself.

Beyond the telephone as the means of communication, the similarities end there. Telemarketing is simply Marketing and Promotion via the phone, where large numbers of calls are made to deliver a short ‘qualifier pitch’ to as many as possible, in the hope that it will resonate with some. The Telemarketer often works through a scripted conversation, designed to get the prospect to commit to the next step in the process.

Telemarketing is intended to cover as much ground in as short a time as possible.

In extreme cases the use of Automated Dialling systems are applied to increase the volume of ‘connections’.

This form of marketing can be very successful for organisations promoting consumer-based (B2C) goods and services - essentially items of relatively low value and high volume sales.Within a B2B environment this may also apply for small-ticket, relatively fast-moving items.

However, this ‘scatter-gun’ approach coupled with a lack of personalisation, severely limits its effectiveness as a strategy for developing larger B2B or B2G sales. Both are often more complex, high-value ‘solutions or services’, where the sales process can extend over several months or more.

Telemarketing tends to be a process-driven function, where success is measured on the number of Call Attempts, Connections or Conversations and on the number that ticked a box to be considered suitable to move to the next stage of the process. Little attention is paid to the quality or relevance of the interaction with the contact.

This volume-based approach lends itself to hiring ‘junior’ less-experienced and lower-salaried staff to work at high-speed through lists of prospects and telephone numbers.

Teleprospecting by contrast is well-targeted, personalised and interactive.

Rather than a one-size fits all approach to its delivery, Teleprospecting employs a more ‘conversational, exploratory’ approach to prospecting for new business … or interacting with existing customers.

In this approach, the Business Developer is looking to open dialogue with prospects, ultimately to identify New Business opportunities. In the process, they will need to create awareness, educate the prospect and establish levels of trust and confidence before a prospect is likely to express interest and discuss their ‘Problem, Needs or Goals’.

Typically, these interactive discussions are unscripted, though they might involve ‘prompters’ to ensure a naturally evolving discussion over several stages. Key to successful Teleprospecting is the ability to listen and adapt questions to suit responses. As part of the broader objective, the goal is to ascertain whether the prospect and the organisation are suitable candidates. Essentially a process of ‘qualifying in’ … or ‘qualifying out’ a prospect.

Teleprospecting is therefore a role best carried out by more experienced Business Developers, who are capable of balancing near-term objectives, with a longer-term view. The Business Developer is then well placed to nurture the relationship and re-engage at a later date should a prospect not be ready to proceed at the time.

Success in Teleprospecting is generally defined by a number of key metrics. It starts with the number of conversions, including the number of conversations leading to next actions, and then next actions to defined opportunities. However this is just the beginning. The essential element is the forecast value created on a sales pipeline, followed by the revenue figure (subject to timeline) attributable to the Teleprospecting opportunities delivered.

This means that good Teleprospecting will not only deliver better quality ‘Sales Qualified’ opportunities, but it will ensure that anything that isn’t going to progress through the sales process doesn’t go further.

There are significant pitfalls in making the ‘wrong’ choice between Telemarketing and Teleprospecting to promote your product or service. It could lead to wasting considerable time and money, damage to your reputation and ultimately disastrous sales results.

For some, both methods can apply. Where a business has a range of products and services that are relevant to different markets and types of customer, implementing both functions can make a lot of sense. However, as a guide, those businesses whose offerings are relatively low value and/or high volume and where the sales time-line is short, might be best opting for Telemarketing. Whereas those businesses with relatively complex offerings, long sales-lead times and/or higher value goods and services, would likely be better served by Teleprospecting.

Telemarketing or Teleprospecting? Make sure you chose the right one for your business.