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Anne Bagnall |12th March 2019

Telemarketing: internal or external?

For those businesses considering implementing a telemarketing campaign, one of the first – and indeed, most crucial – decisions to make is whether to appoint an external company or recruit internally.

According to Gartner – the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company – the cost of external business development is 65% less than the cost of internal selling. And it can also increase revenues by as much as 150%, compared to internal resources. It’s also important to recognise that the wrong approach can impact negatively on your profits and reputation.

Let’s take a look at the options…

Internal telemarketing

Yes, internal implementation brings with it benefits of time, effort and training as employees are already fully knowledgeable of your products and services. What’s more, the proximity of an internal telemarketer to their sales team colleagues means that leads can be immediately passed on and followed up.

But one of the biggest disadvantages with internal teams is that, more often than not, telemarketing is not the ‘day job’. It’s usually been given to them as an extra – often unwanted – responsibility and many employees say that they feel “demoralised” by it. Especially by cold-calling. Needless to say that when combined with the demands of existing workloads, telemarketing tasks are frequently overlooked.

It’s a lack of experience, confidence and time to spend on this specialised task that often results in no clear qualified leads and, worse still, damage to business reputation.

Outsourced telemarketing

A specialist outsourced telemarketing company is fully equipped to focus solely on your campaign objectives – ensuring that necessary hours are delivered to achieve targets set, with none of the issues of internal employee holidays or sick days.

They also employ an expert team of trained agents, using specific IT and telecoms equipment who adhere to telemarketing laws and regulations.

Phonetic is a great example of outsourced telemarketing done properly. It prides itself on the team it has in place and the services it provides – steering away from scripts, temps and cold-calling voices on the end of the phone. Each member of its 120-strong team is highly skilled and experienced, bursting with personality, intelligence, creativity and character. It’s this that sets it apart and makes it best equipped to do what it does well – implementing any sales, marketing or service project with a tailored and personal approach.

Weighing up the costs

It’s often perceived that recruiting an internal telemarketing team is more cost effective than appointing a specialist company that charges on average between £2000 and £4000 each month. But make no mistake – the creation of an internal team is expensive and the return on that investment is usually far less.

In order to truly compare internal and external telemarketing costs, it’s important to compare employee salaries along with insurance, training, IT infrastructure costs – not to mention additional salary costs of managing the team.

Put this way, it’s easy to see how the cost of external business development is often 50% less than the cost of the same activity undertaken internally.

Best of both worlds?

For those still unsure of internal or external telemarketing, there are a couple of options available that combine the benefits of each approach – and these are insourcing and serviced telemarketing.

Insourcing sees the integration of a specialist telemarketing team within your business. Employed by an external company, they quickly become immersed within your ethos and knowledgeable of your product and service offering. However, you are only buying their expertise and would still need to invest in the necessary IT infrastructure and desk space to support them.

Serviced telemarketing, on the other hand, sees your own employees working in situ at a specialist telemarketing agency. Advantages of this approach include ensuring that your staff are fully focussed and that any highly specialist product and service knowledge is most effectively conveyed. This is a very cost effective approach for those companies who want their own telemarketing function, with clients paying on a ‘per-seat’ basis. This means that you are able to reap the benefits of a wide range of other cost savings such as management, training, IT infrastructure and desk space.

The questions to ask

If you decide to invest in the specialist services of an external telemarketing company it’s wise to research thoroughly as they vary greatly.

Here’s Phonetic’s checklist of the questions to ask:

  • What is the team / office like? Is it a productive and positive working environment?
  • What are your staff salary and bonus levels?
  • Is commission key to employee remuneration?
  • What is your ratio in terms of successful pitch / conversation / call / close?
  • What can I expect to receive in terms of campaign evaluation? And how often will I receive campaign updates?
  • How many people will work on my campaign and who will be my key account contact?
  • How often can I expect to hear from / meet with my key contact?
  • Can I define my lead criteria and target audience? And will you adhere to it?
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