Earlier in the text we looked at the typical costs of a field salesperson. Quite apart from cost factors there are situations where telemarketing or tele-selling can fulfil a very useful temporary or permanent role in linking the company to its customers. Companies have preferences as to the label attached to this activity, and there are variations in the functions a department might fulfil in the overall sales/marketing mix.
Some of the typical sales support situations where a telesales department can provide useful contact include:
Cold call canvassing
Suppliers of all types of products (industrial, consumer and business -to -business) have opportunities to develop telephone selling to make initial contact with potential customers, frequently for later follow -up for a direct selling call in person by a salesperson. For the sales manager supervising cold call canvassing telesales operations there are several points that typically need attention.
To avoid wasting time and money on telephone calls, it is important to structure contact according to simple framework:
Emergency contact with customers
Where a field sales force is in place, there are occasions when it is impossible to visit customers as scheduled. For major non-repeat products this may be less of a problem if a visit is delayed a few days, but where the products are for repeat consumption (consumer products or many commercial input supplies), it can be important not to lose the immediate sales volume. Also, failing to call to collect an order leaves an opening for competitors.
In this situation, either the territory salesperson could make telephone contact with customers personally, or a telesales department could fill the gap in coverage by placing call. A second call might be needed if a customer needs time to check stock levels prior to ordering.
Coverage of small accounts or geographically remote customers
Where business volume is too small to justify direct sales call or there is no other effective means of gaining and maintaining distribution(i.e. no satisfactory local wholesale distributive outlets), it might still be cost-effective to maintain direct distribution at the lower sales costs levels of the telephone sales department.
Tele-ordering for regular repeat product orders
If telesales contact is to be a regular feature of customer management, it is usually best to develop an approach to training and motivating the customer in a way that the customer sees as beneficial. For example, the telephone call can be placed at a regular time each week, so that the customer can expect it and prepare a stock count in advance.
Tee-sales can provide an excellent support to the occasional salesperson’s call, especially where the customer’s ordering frequency(possibly because of storage limitations or credit restrictions) is greater than a physical call could justify. When physical calls are made it then becomes important to:
Promotional thrusts focusing on special activity
Tele-selling can have an important role in some product categories to alert customers to special offers. This may be as an alternative to a salesperson calling, or as a preliminary to establish if customers or prospects would accept a visit from a salesperson to promote the special offer.
Customer satisfaction research
Companies are now becoming increasingly sensitive to customer attitudes and reactions to their service and support. Telemarketing provide an excellent means of organizing post-sales surveys of customers to establish levels of satisfaction.
Other customer-oriented marketing research
Quite apart from customer satisfaction surveys,telesales or telemarketing (the one department may double in the functions it fulfils) can be developed as a source of market research, either in surveying existing customers or for contacting prospective customers for responses to structured surveys.
The telesales team need training to meet their special functional responsibilities and activities. Training needs are likely to be identied in the areas of:
Telephone salespersons are more likely to be received positively if they:
Sales Management Related Tutorials
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Sales Management Tutorial
Roles And Functions In The Sales Force
Sales Structures And Organization
Motivational Management In The Sales Force
Sales Management By Objectives
Motivating Through Rewards And Incentives
Providing Appraisals And Feedback For Motivation, Training And Discipline
Communication In The Sales Force
Sales Meetings And Conferences
Recruitment And Selection In The Sales Force
Basic Sales Training
Field Sales Training
The Planning Process
Sales Force Administration
Sales Management Control
Merchandising At The Point Of Sale
Key Account Management
Alternative Sales Or Distribution Operations
Developing International Markets
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