Telemarketer Job Description - Skills, Responsibilities and Career
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What Does a Telemarketer Do?
The job of a telemarketing operator is to carry out marketing over the telephone.
Telemarketing essentially consists of a marketing message or pitch delivered over the telephone to current or potential customers (prospects), with the aim of promoting or advertising a company’s goods or services. A successful telemarketing call typically results in an appointment being fixed with a salesperson, either at the customer’s residence or the company’s premises. Where the aim of a call is to sell a product (as opposed to promoting a product or generating leads), the correct term is telesales.
There are essentially two types of telemarketing:
- Outbound telemarketing
- Inbound telemarketing
In outbound telemarketing, the operator initiates the call, using contact lists provided by the company in accordance with applicable privacy laws.
In inbound telemarketing, the customer or prospect initiates the call, usually by dialing a freephone number. The tasks of the operator taking the call is to supply the caller with the information they need in as clear a way as possible, provide customer service to the required standard and progress the call towards specific pre-defined commercial objectives.
In addition to taking calls, telemarketing operators also carry out data entry tasks (e.g. inputting caller data and recording scheduled appointments), send emails and update and maintain contact databases.
A key characteristic of successful telemarketers is the ability to use their voice effectively. An equally important element, however, is the phone script, which operators use as a guide that can be adapted and personalized to suit each specific prospect. Scripts usually include an introduction stage, consisting of a brief presentation of the company or the marketing initiative, followed by a series of open-ended probing questions to the prospect. This is followed by a “qualification” stage in which the outbound operator attempts to qualify and establish the prospect’s needs and interest. In the event of a positive response from the prospect, during the close phase of the call, the operator will aim to get the prospect to commit to a follow-up, which could be a appointment with a sales agent or representative. Other possible positive outcomes include the prospect consenting to a follow-up phone call, making a purchase, placing an order, agreeing to sign a contract, or providing information. Potential negative scenarios include the prospect requesting that their name be removed from the list of contacts.
Telemarketing is a form of direct marketing carried out in call centers. Call centers may be in-house or run by telemarketing firms, who provide these services on an outsourced basis to large clients (such as telephone companies or electricity or gas suppliers). Telemarketing agents work at a computer equipped with headphones and a microphone. In some cases they may work from home.
Telemarketers may have full-time or part-time contracts, while remuneration typically consists of a basic monthly salary plus commission based on results - which might be measured in terms of appointments arranged, leads generated or other production KPIs defined by the company. Direct telemarketing is used in a vast number of sectors, so job opportunities for telemarketing operators are plentiful.
Telemarketing Operator - Duties and Responsibilities
Outbound telemarketers have the following duties:
- Making telephone calls to a list of current or potential customers (this latter also known as cold calling)
- Proposing products or services and describing their quality and benefits in a detailed and persuasive manner
- Generating leads and appointments for the sales team
- Cross-selling and upselling
- Recording outcome of calls on computer
Meanwhile, the duties of an inbound telemarketing operator include:
- Answering phone calls from customers
- Providing information and technical support regarding products and services, while progressing the call towards pre-defined promotional or commercial outcomes
- Managing customer contacts using CRM applications
- Recording outcomes of call on computer
How to Become a Telemarketer: Education and Training
There are no minimum requirements to become a telemarketer, although some experience, no matter how brief, in a call center or in sales is likely to be welcome. Also likely to prove advantageous is some training in telemarketing and telesales. Courses for aspiring operators are often organized by telemarketing companies and usually cover everything there is to know about making a sales or marketing call, e.g.:
- The basics of communication
- Identifying a customer’s needs by asking the right questions
- Using close listening techniques to tailor the offer to the customer
- Telemarketing techniques for winning over the customer and obtaining their trust
- Using tone of voice and getting the rhythm of the conversation right
- Database management and maintenance
Newly-hired telemarketers are often required to do an initial period of training concerning technical aspects of the job, followed by on-the-job training with more experienced staff.
This allows news recruits to learn how to present a product or offer without coming across as pushy or aggressive and acquire customer management skills.
Telemarketing Operator Skills
Telemarketing operators require the following skills:
- Ability to conduct sales and marketing calls and knowledge of sales techniques
- Relaxed, confident telephone manner, and strong communication, negotiation and persuasion skills
- Ability to convey message to customer and elicit answers
- Computer skills
- Result-oriented approach
- Good team worker
- Patient, determined and motivated
Career Path and What to Expect
The typical career progression for telemarketing operators in a call center is as follows:
- Junior Telemarketer
- Telemarketing Executive
- Team Leader
- Telemarketing Supervisor
- Telemarketing Manager
Progressing to a Team Leader role entails coordinating and motivating a small group of operators, while Supervisors are responsible for overseeing call center operations. Telemarketing Managers have a range of responsibilities, including selection, management and training of personnel, producing statistical reports on performance and coordinating telemarketing activities with other areas of the company.
Top Reasons to Work as a Telemarketer
The main reason for opting for a job as a telemarketer is that it represents an excellent launchpad for a career in sales, providing an opportunity to acquire all the relevant skills and knowledge, including communications and lead generation skills and sales and client management techniques.
Other aspects worth considering include the abundance of job vacancies and the low entry requirements.
Finally, becoming a telemarketer may also be an interesting option for anybody looking for a part-time job or for work that can be done from home.