|When setting up or refurbishing a telemarketing unit, it is wise to consider the various options of telemarketing equipment - both hardware and software - thoroughly so as not to invest in over capacity or undertake unnecessary expenses...|
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Telemarketing equipment where to draw the line?
Let me begin by confessing that I'm not an expert of telemarketing equipment.
But I have had some experience with it and the purpose of this article is to stress the importance of evaluating the important aspects of telemarketing equipment before you commit yourself.
There are many aspects to consider when contemplating the acquisition of telemarketing equipment.
One needs to estimate the extent of the future telemarketing activity and judge what capacity of calling is needed.
One must evaluate the degree of automation required and weigh the cost (and training time) of using various telemarketing dialling software, comparing it to the likely size and flow of the future telemarketing activity.
Now, all of this would be easy if only we could foresee the future OR guarantee that our intended goals would easily be achieved in the speculated time frame.
Only that's not how it goes in real life... and especially not with telemarketing.
Before committing to a huge capacity, consider an interim solution, one that's low in cost, easy to use, and more modest in its capacity than what the envisioned full-grown telemarketing activity.
Telephone systems are extremely expensive and usually come with very long commitments.
My advice is that if you need an additional telephone system, go with a secondhand one to begin with, just until you have created and STABILISED your telemarketing team (AND had it running for a few months at that intended capacity)... and only then consider making a future commitment of any significance.
Some telemarketing equipment is essential and inexpensive.
For instance, do obtain headsets those hands-free gadgets which have a speaker and a microphone since these aren't expensive and yet greatly increase the ease of telemarketing. Beware though, not all telephones take headset connections, so verify that the phone equipment will interface with the headsets.
Headsets differ in many ways.
The comfort and padding of the ear piece are important when someone uses it for a full day. The audio quality and VOLUME of the sound to the ear piece which is sometimes too muffled and/or quiet to enable effective telephone work.
Equally, the quality of the microphone needs checking as some have a poor quality OR their range is small and, amazingly, even the reach of the microphone holder may be a problem if it's too short combined with a microphone with a poor all-round pick-up of sound.
Some microphones pick up your breathing really well but not your speech...
If you have a slightly larger head, you might end up not being heard by the caller on the other end of your phone line. You then have to pull the microphone closer to your lips, resulting in the ear piece being pulled partly off your ear... so the alternatives are that you're not heard or YOU don't hear.
Personally I don't think the manufacturers of these gadgets really test them in use with various "head-sized" people... or so it appears.
I don't see the point going for wireless headsets unless your business requires the telemarketer to walk about the premises.
Wireless headsets are far more expensive and their transmission can easily be disturbed... and in telemarketing, it's most important to keep the conversation flowing without irritating interruptions or weird sounds on the line.
Also, consider whether it's actually necessary to go with a computer for each telemarketer.
Granted, it's far more sophisticated and quicker if each telemarketer has a computer and you have some form of software for conducting the telemarketing interviews IF the results / data from the prospective client needs to be saved / forwarded.
But to start you just need a phone, a telemarketing script... and someone you can call a telemarketer.
Don't get shopping-happy with telemarketing equipment
It's amazing how LITTLE one needs to get started in telemarketing. Remember that it's quite challenging to build up a telemarketing unit to the size you envisioned BEFORE you tried it.
Telemarketers come and go, things appear to be unstable and it's quite time (and patience-) consuming to build your telemarketing unit up to the size you want.
Thus, there's no need to go all out to acquire the top equipment for the telemarketing unit before it's actually THERE.
One can become addicted to buying telemarketing equipment. There are a lot of gadgets on offer which are completely and utterly unnecessary, in spite of their definitely spellbinding technical wizardry.
Think before you buy conference units, fancy telephone systems, various mobile units and/or wireless mobile headsets, or some fancy software which ON PAPER (or in the promotional video) appears to be absolutely necessary... but in actual USE proves to be not even useful
Some telemarketing equipment sounds great in terms of increasing the efficiency of your calling but doesn't create a good impression on the target group members receiving the calls.
Examples of such telemarketing equipment and/or software are the so-called "predictive telephone diallers" or "predictive phone dialler systems" that come with various kind of predictive dialling software.
These systems dial out automatically and the idea is that the next prospect is on the line the SECOND the telemarketer ends the previous call.
Unfortunately nothing is an unpredictive as human interaction and communication, so this doesn't really work all that well. In fact, it's easy to "predict" the outcome in the receiving end when the phone rings, you answer... and there's no one there but a hum...
Get a couple of these calls BEFORE the telemarketer is at the other end and you'll soon find your mood less than receptive due to this run-around done for the sake of saving the time of the telemarketer whom you never asked to call you...
My view of these predictive dialling systems is that while they will increase the "run-through" time and capacity of the telemarketer, they aren't suited for B2B telemarketing AND they lower the QUALITY of telemarketing per se, thus making the benefits acquired much in question.
These systems are basically used by mass production telemarketer units doing consumer telemarketing wherein the quantity of calls is more important than their quality.
B2B telemarketing is all about QUALITY, not gadgets
My message is to go about acquiring telemarketing equipment gradually. Start with something simple and cheap that won't burden you with future commitments.
It matters not how it looks, it's not important if it doesn't have the latest lighted buttons, colour screens, thingamajigs, and 20,000 ring tones... all that matters is that you can CALL OUT with it.
Set it up cheap and cheerful to begin with, then start building your telemarketing unit, hiring and training (and supervising) telemarketers until you have stabilized the unit and the same guys have stayed on at least six months...
...and onlyTHEN consider investing money for a more long-term solution in terms of telemarketing equipment and possibly software for interviews and/or dialling and whatnot.
So in considering investing in telemarketing equipment, be patient, bide your time, and err on the side of caution until the telemarketing activity has stabilised so it is there for a few months and produces the expected quality and quantity of results.
To establish a team of telemarketers who know their business and stay on for a meaningful period of time each is quite an undertaking and it almost never succeeds in the time you THINK it will before you've experienced it.
Similarly, to keep a telemarketing activity there for the duration requires a lot of persistence and effort too.
Sometimes other things come in between and it's not uncommon for a business to put its telemarketing unit on hold for a while if they lose all their telemarketers.
Thus, try to minimise the investment made in telemarketing equipment at first and don't even consider committing yourself to costly long-term contracts for telephone systems and other telemarketing gadgets UNTIL there's overwhelming evidence of stability of the call-out unit.
If you're interested in getting a better picture what to do to establish or improve a telemarketing activity for your company, please read the presentation of the Professional B2B-sector Telemarketing Guide. It gives the successful actions in creating / improving and stabilizing a telemarketing unit for your company.
If you already have a telemarketing activity, consider the Telemarketing Result-Optimization Analysis for finding out the strengths and weaknesses of your telemarketers so you can improve results.
And if you want to maximise your success for an in-house telemarketing unit one you're planning or one that already exists then you can have a telemarketing system created and tailored to your specific needs... see HDK Custom-Made Telemarketing Systems for more information.
Start your telemarketing unit with modesty when it comes to investing in telemarketing equipment!
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