Telemarketing (sometimes known as inside sales or telesales) is a method of direct marketing in which a salesperson solicits prospective customers to buy products or services, either over the phone or through a subsequent face to face or Web conferencing appointment scheduled during the call. Telemarketing can also include recorded sales pitches programmed to be played over the phone via automatic dialing.

Telemarketing Categories

The two major categories of telemarketing are business-to-business and business-to-consumer.


  • Lead generation, the gathering of information and contacts;
  • Sales, using persuasion to sell a product or service;
  • Outbound, proactive marketing in which prospective and preexisting customers are contacted directly;
  • Inbound, reception of incoming orders and requests for information. Demand is generally created by advertising, publicity, or the efforts of outside salespeople.

Service Styles

  • Call to Action, the implementation of outbound telemarketing to “activate” or elicit an action or response from prospects, ie entice prospects to visit a client’s website.
  • Appointment Setting, utilizing inbound or outbound telemarketing to create face-to-face or telephone appointments for sales purposes.
  • Database Cleansing, the outbound calling of databases with the particular purpose to clean and prepare data (ie removing outdated and incorrect data) and contact details for future telemarketing campaigns.
  • Surveys, the implementation of telemarketing (can in in-bound or out-bound)with the particular purpose of collecting data and information from specific target markets for qualitative research purposes.
  • Telesales, telemarketing (inbound or outbound) with the specific intention of making an actual sale/transaction over the phone. Often includes the collection of credit card details over the phone for payment purposes, which allows for faster sales cycles and payment confirmation.

Telemarketing Procedure

Telemarketing may be done from a company office, from a call center, or from home. It may involve a live operator voice broadcasting which is most frequently associated with political messages.
An effective telemarketing process often involves two or more calls. The first call (or series of calls) determines the customer’s needs. The final call (or series of calls) motivates the customer to make a purchase. Prospective customers are identified by various means, including past purchase history, previous requests for information, credit limit, competition entry forms, and application forms. Names may also be purchased from another company’s consumer database or obtained from a telephone directory or another public list. The qualification process is intended to determine which customers are most likely to purchase the product or service.
Charitable organizations, alumni associations, and political parties often use telemarketing to solicit donations. Marketing research companies use telemarketing techniques to survey the prospective or past customers of a client’s business in order to assess market acceptance of or satisfaction with a particular product, service, brand, or company. Public opinion polls are conducted in a similar manner.
Telemarketing techniques are also applied to other forms of electronic marketing using e-mail or fax messages, in which case they are frequently considered spam by receivers.

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