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arrow Experts Panel; Essential Pros and Cons of Today’s Outbound Telemarketing that Every Marketer Should Know

Thanks to our readers for your great suggestions.  You made two requests and we’ve acted on them:

  • Thanks to your on-going prompting (much appreciated), we launched a new service offering a few days ago for Small / Medium Companies (more below).
  • In response to your emails asking our views regarding Outbound Telemarketing, we’ve assembled a panel of experts to discuss the Essential Pros and Cons of Outbound Telemarketing (more below).

New ERDM Service:  Guaranteed Double-Digit Response for Small / Medium Companies

For years, many of you with Small and Medium companies have been asking us to scale and price our Fortune-proven 3-Step Marketing Process® for smaller businesses.

We’ve been listening to your input and…here is a quick highlight of our 3-Step Marketing Process for Small / Medium Companies:

  • Guaranteed double-digit response rates.
  • Proven process, based on our 23-year track record of double-digit response rates for Fortune 500 companies.
  • Scaled and priced for Small / Medium companies.
  • Personalized, customized program implementation, led by our expert consulting team.

To learn more about the 3-Step Marketing Process, please click here.

Essential Pros and Cons of Outbound Telemarketing

Given the strong positive and negative views regarding Outbound, we organized a “virtual panel” so you could have the benefit of opinions from several trusted industry experts.

A few points to consider:

  • Our recent VOC Relationship Research has identified a level of hostility toward Outbound which we have not seen in any of our previous 72 VOC Research studies
  • Outbound, when deployed to opt-in lists and carefully integrated as a timed follow-up to e-mail or direct mail, within 12 – 48 hours of receipt, will generate 2x to 10x increase in response.
  • More than 76% of US adults have registered for the National Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry (Harris Interactive)
  • 132+ million phone numbers are listed on the DNC.

No other medium has such power to irritate or to delight (as in the case of high value proactive Outbound service calls)!

The wisdom of the colleagues and clients we asked to participate in this virtual panel is remarkable.  I thank them for their time and important contributions.

Please continue to call (718-225-4151) or email me with your great suggestions.

To read previous newsletters, click here.

With best wishes,


Guaranteed Double-Digit
Response for Small and
Medium-Sized Companies
The 3-Step Marketing Process developed and battle-tested for Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, IBM and HP.

Now scaled and priced to help small/medium companies achieve double-digit response-rates. Guaranteed!

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Experts Panel: Essential Pros and Cons of Today’s Outbound Telemarketing
that Every Marketer Should Know

We asked a panel of trusted experts, all of whom have hands-on experience, to participate in this virtual panel. 

They include:

  • Greg Kohne
    Former Vice President, Direct Sales
    United Healthcare / Golden Rule Insurance Company
    Individual Line of Business
  • Garry Dawson
    Communications Manager

  • Guy Berger
    Palms Trading Company
  • Jack B. Mercer
    General Manager, Luxury Reservations
    Orient Express Hotels, Trains and Cruises
  • Paul MacAree
    Partner Tele-Coverage Productivity Manager
    Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners
    Microsoft Corporation

We asked these experts to address the following questions:

  1. What are your views regarding the pros and cons of Outbound Telemarketing?
  2. How do you use Outbound Telemarketing, how do you manage quality and avoid irritating people, and how do people respond to your calls?
  3. What does the future hold for Outbound Telemarketing?

Question 1:  What are your views regarding the pros and cons of Outbound Telemarketing?

Greg Khone, Formerly of United Healthcare / Golden Rule Insurance Company:

Pros:  A big plus with Outbound telemarketing is list penetration.  You can only drive a certain level of call-in response from mailings, emails, etc.  The addition of an Outbound telemarketing campaign, done properly, will drive a significant lift in yields.  

Cons:  The key cons to Outbound telemarketing are cost and the added complexity that comes with managing Outbound campaigns.    

Garry Dawson, Hewlett-Packard:

Pros:   Meets tactical needs of profiling/database updates, qualifying responses, setting appointments, generating invitations to events.

Cons: Expensive on a per touch, often not used correctly, i.e., little value offered to the person reached.

Guy Berger, Palms Trading Company:

Pros:  Outbound can produce additional sales in our marketing mix, but only if it does not annoy our customers.

Cons:  Personally, I detest cold calls at my business or at home.  I often just hang up on the person making the call.  If I want you to call me, I'll either let you know personally, or begin a business relationship with you.  I tend to carry these feelings over to my attitude about B to B calls.

Paul MacAree, Microsoft Corporation:

Pros:  I believe that pro-active contact is a valuable tool for any organization that wants informed customers and partners. The telephone is a scalable approach to high volume and interactive account management, business development, lead generation and information dissemination. For some, the telephone is actually a preferred method of communication over a sales visit.

Cons:  The problem comes when a contact is intrusive, unwelcome, or not useful. Unfortunately in some sectors the Outbound contact industry has gained a rather unsavory reputation with its use of dialing techniques that do not take into account the experience of the called party.

Jack Mercer, Orient Express Hotels, Trains and Cruises:

Pros:  Outbound telemarketing is essential in the travel business particularly with regard to high-end products.  In today's "telemarketing" environment it is necessary to receive client or prospect "buy-in" in order to effectively and legally proceed.  With effective buy-in, Outbound calling becomes a service to the client and is not seen merely a means to pursue additional business.

Cons:  If this communication vehicle is not positioned properly with a value-add rationale, it can become nothing more than cold-call prospecting.

Question 2: How do you use Outbound telemarketing, how do you manage quality and avoid irritating people, and how do people respond to your calls?

Paul MacAree, Microsoft Corporation:

Typically people like to hear from Microsoft, though it’s important to respect their time which means calls need to be relevant to them. Since scripting – in the sense of an agent repeating words verbatim – does not work well in our environment, we need to differentiate between “good” and “bad” calls and not merely compliance.

Just because a customer bought a product or a partner agreed to a course of action does not mean that a good call was made.  

Was the called party’s experience pleasant regardless of the outcome? Was it relevant? Did the agent represent us in the way we would want them to? Did they explore the possible options correctly? Was the information given accurate? One approach we use is to audit agents and score them using set criteria. This way we have an objective view of how a call went, informing what changes may be necessary in overall guidance and what specific coaching an individual agent may need.  

Garry Dawson, Hewlett-Packard:

  1. Consolidate the agencies and the people calling on your behalf so they know your business and you can trust they will represent your company well.
  2. Standardize questions you need answered. Focus conversation on topics you can deliver against.

    Have Outbound integrated into your a follow-on to an offer. Minimize cold calling.

  3. Remote listen-in to your calls to insure quality.
  4. Follow customer/contact's request. “No more calls” means just that! “Call in 2 months,” means that, etc.

Greg Khone, Formerly of United Healthcare / Golden Rule Insurance Company:

We continue to make Outbound calls to those that request to be contacted (Opt-in) and select lead sources where Outbound calls have been cost justified.  We continue to pilot Outbound to select new sources/list where we believe an Outbound call from us truly adds value to the consumer.  

Regarding any of our Opt-in lists, by and large, the response from the consumer is very positive. 

Our goal is to contact a consumer within minutes of receiving a request for information. Most consumers are impressed that we respond so quickly. 

Guy Berger, Palms Trading Company:

We only place Outbound calls in conjunction with our Opt-In / Personal Shopper program.  This makes us feel more comfortable contacting our customers because they have asked us to contact them for very specific reasons.

Jack Mercer, Orient Express Hotels, Trains and Cruises:

We use Outbound calling in a number of scenarios.

  1. Email inquiries that provide a telephone number are immediately called to review the prospect’s interests and thus insure that we provide specific information based on their individual needs and not a "canned" packet of generic marketing and sales materials.  This selling via a service approach has proven to be quite successful.
  2. Many of our inbound calls are from prospective clients who may need information or materials prior to making a buying decision.  We have recognized that often the buy decision does not come from the first inbound communication and therefore our inbound staff has three main objectives during the course of their call...1) make the sale if appropriate, 2) determine that the caller is not a true prospect (cost challenges beyond our pricing models, lack of product in desired locations, dates that do not work, etc) or 3) if the caller is not prepared to make the buy decision today, our inbound staff will effectively qualify the caller for follow-up by creating an internal "lead" that our Outbound staff will trace for callback. This allows materials to be sent, client can check on dates or air arrangements, etc., while allowing us to have a very natural and effective reason to call back.  Properly positioned to the caller initially, this is a very effective use of Outbound calling.
  3. Past guest promotions and cross-sell campaigns are two additional Outbound telemarketing programs that we support.

Question 3:  What does the future hold for Outbound Telemarketing?

Guy Berger, Palms Trading Company:

I truly believe the future of successful Outbound will be driven by well-defined, opt-in parameters established by the customer and not businesses. 

Greg Khone, Formerly of United Healthcare / Golden Rule Insurance Company:

I think the future of Outbound revolves around sales and marketing organizations picking and choosing this method when we are truly able to add value to the consumer experience.  Some examples:

  1. Responding to a customer’s request for information
  2. Calling customers/prospects that have requested to be notified about updates, etc.
  3. Calling current customers when you have a product that is better than what they originally purchased and who would truly benefit from the new product
  4. Calling customers who without a contact, may be in jeopardy of paying too much for a given product or service.

Garry Dawson, Hewlett-Packard:

Outbound will remain part of the mix but may be used more effectively in response to someone asking to be called rather than as a cold call or pushed upon someone to respond. 

Paul MacAree, Microsoft Corporation:

There is no doubt that the Outbound landscape will continue to evolve in many directions; legislation will become more explicit and restrictive, technology will drive down the costs of making calls, targeting will become more sophisticated  and outsourcing will accelerate.

Assuming that the agents’ themselves are not replaced with some sort of voice technology (and there have been signs of this for some time) then we return to that most unpredictable link – skilled staff. The fact is that for the foreseeable future the trained, experienced agent is the key to a successful relationship with our customers and partners, and that we should expect agent costs to grow (even with the trend to off-shoring) and tenure to decrease. This high cost / high attrition model is not a good one, and many of us who are responsible for proactive contact are caught in the dilemma of training agents and seeing them leave for similar roles across the street, with the impact this has on customer satisfaction and return on investment.  The organizations that are able to successfully retain these mission critical personnel will continue to improve their relationships with their customers and partners.   

Jack Mercer, Orient Express Hotels, Trains and Cruises:

In a and permission.  If your call communications are perceived as an attempt to only sell product, the client will stop the process.  The key to ongoing Outbound is continued value-add and underlying servicing as the key components.

To read previous newsletters, click here

To learn more about other successful case studies utilizing the Opt-In Marketing Process, click here.


Click here for additional customer relationship management solutions case studies.

We wish you the best of luck in using the Voice-of-Customer-driven 3-Step Marketing Process to achieve double-digit response.

    To read previous newsletters, click here.
    For additional case studies, click here.

Ernan Roman Direct Marketing | 3 Melrose Lane | Douglas Manor, NY 11363 | Phone: 718.225.4151 | Fax: 718.225.4889
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