B2C Telemarketing

Telemarketing involves calling customers or other businesses to promote or sell products or services. In B2C telemarketing, trained personnel proactively contact potential customers by telephone for telemarketing purposes. This is outbound telemarketing.

1. B2C Telemarketing Overview

The telemarketing industry in the United States consists of 5,000 companies and yearly revenue of approximately $15 billion. Convergys, Sitel, and West are some of the bigger companies in the telemarketing industry. Although about 60 percent of the market is held by the 50 largest companies, most firms in the industry are small. These smaller companies have yearly earnings of less than $1,000,000 and most have less than 20 employees.

Consumer spending dictates the demand in the telemarketing industry. Individual company's profit is the direct result of the efficiency of operations. While big companies have large corporate customers, small companies can concentrate on providing services to small and midsized customers. Reports indicate that the average yearly revenue per employee is approximately $35,000.

Major services offered by the telemarketing industry are telemarketing sales, technical support, customer service, and call answering. Small companies often specialize in only one aspect of telemarketing. Another interesting fact regarding telemarketing is that telemarketing regulations as well as offshore competition have greatly affected the industry.

Telemarketing is expected to grow not only in the U.S. but globally as well. Proof of this is the fact that business conducted by multinational firms has grown by 15% compared to a 4.5% domestic growth rate. New technology has contributed and will continue to contribute to this growth, as companies can contact current or potential clients anywhere in the world.

2. B2C Telemarketing Procedure

One method of contacting potential clients through telemarketing is through a customer service representative making outbound calls, or by an automated telemarketing system. Both methods are effective, although human contact is always the best choice.

B2C telemarketing is done from a call center or from a person's home office. Furthermore, he can work as an employee or under independent contractor's status. Generally, he may receive a list of names and the contact information.

Effective telemarketing involves contacting the person two or more times. The initial contact is with the intent of identifying the person's needs. The second call or series of calls are meant to motivate the person to action; normally that would involve purchasing a product or service.

You may be wondering how these contacts are obtained. There are many ways to acquire leads. Depending on the kind of business, some companies may already have the names in their database. They may be customers that made purchases from them in the past. A company will contact previous customers to promote new services or to regain their business. Others may have requested product or service information from the company. Moreover, other methods of obtaining leads are to purchase them from other companies' databases, from a directory, or from a public list.

3. B2C Telemarketing Regulations

It may seem as if telemarketers call your house whenever they want but that's not the case. In the United States, telemarketing is regulated by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) 47 USC Section 227. The Federal Trade Commission (FCC) Sales Rule also plays a role in regulating telemarketing.

Some areas have used legislation to implement Do Not Call lists to protect a person's right to privacy. There are heavy penalties for companies that don't abide by this list. Nationally, the FCC has also implemented a National Do Not Call list. Trade groups and telemarketing corporations opposed this measure and called it a violation of commercial speech rights. In spite of that, the National Do Not Call list was upheld by the court of appeals and went into effect on February 17, 2004.

Furthermore, states have adopted their own measures on the state level to protect consumers. These regulations involve calling times, Sunday and holiday calls, rebutting statutes, as well as permission to record. Some states have restrictions in place for political calls.

Other countries also have telemarketing regulations. One example is Australia. The Australian Federal Government restricts calls made for research and marketing purposes as well as the hours when calls are made.

4. Negative Perceptions Towards B2C Telemarketing

The majority of people consider telemarketing calls an inconvenience and an invasion of their privacy. The main reason for this negativity is that people normally receive calls after work hours during dinnertime, early in the morning, or late in the evening when people want to relax and spend quality time with their family. They feel that these are unsolicited calls, and they shouldn't be bothered with them.

Other reasons for negativity towards telemarketing are that it's frequently associated with fraud and pyramid schemes. Additionally, telemarketing is perceived by some as an unethical business practice due to the sales techniques used by some telemarketers. Consumers feel that they are pressured to buy products they don't need or want. Even after stating their unwillingness to buy the product, the telemarketer may insist, which results in a negative perception towards BC2 telemarketing.

A person can find numerous articles on the Internet advising consumers on how to stop telemarketing calls. They offer suggestions on how to handle a call and make them aware of their rights. Further suggestions to stop telemarketing include: having caller ID (so you can identify who is calling), anonymous call rejections (prevents call from going through if the number is blocked), and call blocking (keeps your number from being displayed when you call companies).

5. B2C Telemarketing and Lead Generation

There are several methods to generate leads. Your company can hire telemarketers (this is inhouse lead generation). Their job would be to contact potential leads and qualify them so your sales agents can take over. Going this route costs money; you may need to pay benefits, have a lead generation supervisor, and pay employees whether they're generating leads or not.

A second possibility is to outsource your lead generation work to a call center. Numerous call centers now contract home workers to do this work on a contract basis. Generally, the contractor is paid for generated leads only. These contractors are experienced and frequently receive additional training from the call center as well.

Modern day dialing systems make it possible to generate many leads in a short period. More efficiency means more savings for your business. You can stop the campaign and resume as needed, which eliminates having to hire and fire employees. Another advantage of outsourcing your lead generation is that it allows your employees to concentrate on other aspects of their work instead of training new employees. Some call centers will give you a certain number of hour's worth of work for free to let you see for yourself what they can do for your company. You can be sure that they'll do a good job, as they want to keep your business.

6. How to Choose a B2C Telemarketing Lead Generation Service

One factor to keep in mind is to ensure that the lead generation service you're considering specializes in a wide variety of lead generation. It's better if you can outsource appointment setting, prospecting, or anything else you need to the same call center. Once you know that they can meet your expectations, you won't have to worry about looking for a different service company each time you need to change campaigns.

A second factor to keep in mind is to inquire about quality assurance. Make sure that the lead generation company has a tool in place to verify that all leads are quality leads. All the information should be verified before going to your sales team. This way, your sales employees won't waste time calling leads whose contact information may be incorrect or may not be interested in the product.

It's to your company's advantage if the lead generation service has bilingual representatives on their team. This way you can draw business from various segments of the population. It's also important that the system they use is user friendly. You can request to see or test the system yourself. A user-friendly system allows the telemarketers to enter all the required information without confusion. The result will be high quality leads for your sales team.

7. Industries That Benefit From B2C Telemarketing Services

B2C telemarketing is the best way to contact customers and potential clients. Although many may look down on telemarketers, mainly because of misconceptions, human contact is the best option to promote a business or product. Practically any business can benefit from B2C telemarketing services.

Insurance companies often rely on telemarketing services to provide them with leads. B2C telemarketers often call previous members to encourage them to renew their policies. Energy, telephone, cable, and newspaper companies often leverage off telemarketing services to increase their business. Mechanic shops and other businesses frequently implement a different aspect of outbound telemarketing service. Telemarketers call customers to conduct satisfaction surveys.

B2C telemarketing via email is viewed as spam but it's still outbound telemarketing. Companies often send special promotions to current customers as well as to leads they may have obtained. The email's intent may be to sell a product or service or it may be in the form of a satisfaction survey. Finally, telemarketing may also be through a fax. This method also is considered spam; however, the intent is the same (sell or promote a service or product). Overall, the majority of industries, although irritating to some, implement at least some these methods.

8. B2C Telemarketing Jobs

Telemarketing jobs are abundant. Many telemarketers may work in call centers as employees with benefits and many others work from home. Those that work from home may be either employees or contractors (the majority are contractors). Generally, their compensation is on a per hour basis. If they work in lead generation, the pay is normally on a per lead basis.

Outbound customer service positions may be found in newspaper ads, online employment websites, and on work at home forum sites. Although it's a very common position, it's very competitive. Work at home employers often report receiving hundreds of applications for any posted position.

For any person wanting to work from home in the telemarketing field, it's important to have the following: a computer, reliable Internet service (DSL or cable), a telephone, and a headset. Telemarketing is not for everyone. You need to have the ability to deal with irritated people without losing your composure. Organization skills are equally important. You need to organize your schedule and treat the position the same way you would treat a job away from home. Time management skills play an important role in this. In addition, a telemarketer working from home needs to have the ability to work without or with very little supervision. Even though you don't have a supervisor looking over your shoulder, you're still responsible for completing your work and meeting deadlines.

9. Outbound Dialer Systems for B2C Telemarketing

Many dialing systems are available to take care of any business' telemarketing needs. One example is the predictive dialer. This is a sophisticated system with the capability to dial hundreds of numbers in a short period, but only connects a call to an agent when a person answers the phone. This greatly decreases the amount of wasted time by waiting for prospects to pick up the phone. Other advantages of using a predictive dialing system are that most systems can detect whether it's a live person or a recorded message, it can leave recorded messages for you, and detect disconnected numbers and busy signals.

Another example of an outbound dialer system is the auto dialer. Auto dialers permit agents to interact with customers, update information, and set appointments. This type of outbound dialer service also allows the agent to schedule callbacks, deliver faxes and emails, as well as conduct third party verification. One feature of auto dialers is the capability to include emergency notification delivery. Any company can implement the use of an auto dialer to increase customer contact. However, make sure that you're familiar with federal and state regulations for your area.

The power dialer also delivers emergency notifications, sets appointments, and updates information. It delivers voice messages to you and it can also be used for inbound call center work.

All these systems are designed to increase the telemarketer's productivity. Ultimately, this results in savings for any company. In today's competitive world, any business can benefit from this.
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