In-house Vs. Outsourced Telemarketing – Which is better?

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In the past, telemarketing was the black sheep of the marketing family and was looked down upon by those in the industry. Almost everyone can relay a story of receiving an unsolicited call from someone they didn’t know about a service that they didn’t care about.

Recently, it has emerged that telemarketing is in fact a viable and effective technique used for business-to-business (B2B) lead generation. The statistics have shown that the return on investment (ROI) for every pound spent on B2B telemarketing is £11 (averaged across various industries). It has certainly scrubbed up well, and that’s a pretty big incentive for your organisation to consider using telemarketing for new business outreach.

The question is if you are going to use telemarketing – should you do it in-house? Or outsource it?

Here are some of the pros and cons of both options:

 

Benefits of in-house:

You’ll have direct and full control over your team’s operations

Having full control and autonomy is probably one of the biggest advantages of setting up telemarketing in-house. You can manage everything personally and make all of the necessary decisions. This means you have total control over how you manage relationships with your customers.

You also have control over any telemarketing campaigns you create. And you will be able to start and end them whenever you wish, as you will not be bound by a contract (although of course, you may have responsibilities to your employees).

You’ll have easy access to your team

Your telemarketing sales team will be in the same building as you, instead of possibly in another town or even country. This will make management easier and much more direct.

Things can move faster

If you want to implement big changes to your sales script, fine tune it or adjust an aspect of your team’s performance, having it all in-house means you can do so immediately. This also allows for complete transparency with your employees and means you can supervise them in real-time, and be around to give instant feedback for any issues that may arise.

You can ensure things are above-board

Having created and established a team yourself, you will be able to ensure that your telemarketers abide by the rules and regulations set by governing bodies, which adds to the level of compliance an in-house team affords you.

You can add that personal touch

Most customers respect businesses who add a personal touch to their operations. Having an in-house team means that customers know they are talking to actual employees who are passionate about your business. The team will be more genuine and knowledgeable about your products, which will increase trust between your business and the customer.

 

Drawbacks of in-house:

It takes time and time is money

With initial staff recruitment and training, assembling a new team can take time. This is time that could have been spent making you some precious pounds.

It can be expensive to set up and maintain

Putting together an in-house telemarketing team involves a substantial initial investment. Besides the salaries of your new managers, supervisors and sales team, you also have to invest in infrastructure.

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Overhead costs will be high, with the cost of utilities, equipment and facilities. The equipment needs to be bought or hired and then there is also a cost involved in training your staff to use it. And don’t forget you’ll also need to repair and maintain your equipment from time to time, and eventually upgrade it to remain competitive in the market.

This initial cost may mean that your telemarketing department has a long payback period.

You need physical floor space

Creating your own in-house team means you’ll need plenty of spare office space, which might be an issue. The amount of space you have available will also impact upon the number of staff your team can have.

Telemarketing departments can be transient

In-house teams may be vulnerable to the whims of management teams. While one manager may have valued the team and encouraged growth, a new manager could see telemarketing as less of a priority. This could lead to the whole team being scrapped, undoing all the initial hard work and investment put in by the team.

 

Benefits of outsourcing:

It makes budgeting easier

One of the main benefits of outsourcing your telemarketing is that you’ll have less to worry about when it comes to budgeting and financial planning. And everyone hates budgets! You won’t need a separate budget for your in-house team and the associated costs, such as admin and overheads.

Generally, you will just have a set monthly cost and you will be able to adjust your spending levels month to month as needed (depending on your contract).

It can reduce costs

In comparison to in-house telemarketing, outsourced telemarketing can be more cost-efficient. Certainly, if you have a large in-house department you can save money through scales of economy. But by outsourcing, you can tap into the industry experience of your telemarketing provider instead. This is merely due to your provider already having the infrastructure in place at a fixed cost, therefore allowing you to make a savings regardless of the size or output

Outsourcing can increase productivity

Instead of spending precious time and effort on setting up and managing an in-house team (which let’s face it, isn’t your business’ core objective), outsourcing allows you to focus on other areas of the business that need attention. You may also find that your sales team are more productive and efficient in securing sales when they don’t spend time on telemarketing duties.

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You don’t need to train staff

Outsourcing your telemarketing can remove the HR nightmare that comes with hiring and training telemarketers. External agencies usually have rigorous recruitment processes for call agents. So all their staff are specially trained to carry out their duties to the highest standard for the benefit of your business.

You can run campaigns when you most need to

Putting a huge investment into setting up an in-house department brings with it a pressure to be constantly running telemarketing campaigns – after all, there’s no point in having a telemarketing department that’s not doing anything!

When outsourcing, you’ll have the freedom to implement telemarketing campaigns only when you need to; either when you need to boost sales or support your other marketing efforts. Conversely, you can lower your telemarketing spend when you are busy and don’t have additional capacity to fill.

 

Drawbacks of outsourcing:

You have less control

Outsourcing your telemarketing campaigns takes the control out of your hands. This means you can never be sure that those making calls are following your script or acting in the manner that you wish them to. They may also not be as familiar with your products as your in-house team and lack crucial product knowledge.

Of course, a good telemarketing company will take the time to understand your business and your requirements, so this is an area that can be mitigated with good research.

It can be a process of trial and error

Finding a dependable and effective telemarketing agency requires time and in-depth research. This is because some B2B telemarketers may not have an understanding of your industry or customer base. You may find that the telemarketing company you initially chose is not bringing you the desired return on investment and that could lead you to look elsewhere. Again, research is the key to building a relationship that works.

Evaluating campaigns can be tricky

Outsourcing telemarketing means that you will need to check up on how effectively the agency is selling your products. This can be difficult if they have an unreliable system for tracking the responses they get from leads. Whenever you are considering a telemarketing company you should ask about their reporting processes and what KPIs they can give you.

Geographical considerations

Outsourcing could mean looking to an agency in another country for your telemarketing due to reduced costs. This could lead to difficulty in maintaining open channels of communication because of time differences. Another issue may be language barriers, which may affect how customers relate to your business; you may have suffered this yourself. Consider the implications on customers, before you select an agency from another country.

 

So which is better?

Truthfully, it’s down to you. Now that you know some of the benefits and drawbacks of each, the choice is yours!

Outsourcing can often be a more cost-effective and productive means of telemarketing which allows you to focus on other aspects of your business. Nevertheless, whether it is done in-house or outsourced, B2B telemarketing can be a highly effective tool for lead generation and increase sales to your business.

When given quality leads, any skilled and experienced telemarketer can perform their role well. Whichever option that you decide upon, you can be sure that telemarketing is more than worth the effort involved.

If you want to find out more about outsourced telemarketing contact us now

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Andy Dickens

Andy Dickens is a veteran of IT Sales, used to leading by example. He is the CEO of Virtual Sales Limited (VSL) who offer telesales, telemarketing, lead generation and appointment setting services to B2b businesses. He previously was Sales Director EMEA for Red Hat and before that ran sales at Visio before it was acquired by Microsoft.

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