Both Telemarketing and Telesales are challenging roles and to succeed in them you have to be resilient and personable. I’ve already written about how we all hates ‘Sales calls’ (the collective term for both activities) – but in my opinion they play an important part in the marketing and sales cycle.
What’s the difference?
As suggested in their name, both use the telephone as their main communication tool and this is backed up with emails and social media activity e.g. research on LinkedIn. There are similar types of calls made during both roles – from contacting ‘cold’ prospects through to managing existing clients with an already strong relationship. To a prospect there isn’t much difference between Telemarketing and Telesales, especially during the initial stages of a cold call i.e. simply trying to speak with the decision maker. But it’s the second part of the name where things change and the key difference is the overall objective of the two roles.
The objective of a Telemarketer is to generate brand and product awareness, building a ‘leads’ momentum through the marketing cycle into the sales pipeline – their end goal is often to book a meeting, webinar or promote an event, NOT to sell directly or ‘close the deal’. In some cases it’s simply a matter of passing a now ‘warm’ lead over to sales and moving on, but often there is a relationship in place and therefore may need to be some cross over until the new relationship has been established with the sales team. A degree of flexibility may be required and if the opportunity arises to close a deal, as long as the commercials are sound, I can’t see a reason (other than commission) for a Telemarketer not to finalize the purchase.
If you’re in Telesales however, your objective is primarily to secure the sale there and then. In some cases you may be ‘warming up leads’ (in the way a Telemarketer does), but typically the prospect will stay with you throughout the cycle until they either drop off your list or make a purchase.
Although Telemarketing can be used in most cases, Telesales ads value in a more specific market i.e. some products need to be seen, touched and understood and have a longer sales cycle – they need Telemarketing – whereas some products have a very short sales cycle, in which case Telesales would be more valuable. Telesales isn’t always an appropriate way of selling, some businesses need a shop, or sales staff on the road whereas some markets are best served over the phone.
An organization selling IT Software wants to progress their prospects who have downloaded a whitepaper – they use Telemarketing to follow up on the download and offer a place on the up-coming supporting webinar.
An electronic components organization want to encourage their existing customers to re-order and up-sell their current contracts – they use Telesales to quickly turn these ‘re-orders’ around and increase their value to both the customer and organization.
There are similarities in the skills required for the two roles, both require an outstanding ability to build relationships quickly, along with a steely determination and thick skin to not take rejection personally. However Telemarketing firmly sits in the Marketing department, forming a key part of a communications strategy and nurturing prospects to the point where the sales team can take over. Telesales on the other hand sits in the Sales function churning out the revenue.