Whether it's market research, making appointments or cold calling, the term outbound covers all these marketing methods. But what other services does it include and what does a call center have to do with it? We will explain the following topics to you:
- What does outbound telephony mean?
- What is the difference between inbound and outbound telephony?
- What is an outbound call center?
- What services can an outbound call center provide?
- What do you have to pay special attention to in outbound outsourcing?
In the telephone business, there are two communication directions: inbound and outbound. Calls received by the company are referred to as inbound telephony. Calls originating from the company are referred to as outbound telephony.
Outbound telephony, also known as telemarketing or telesales, summarizes all activities in which (potential) customers are proactively contacted by a company by telephone. Outbound calls are therefore understood to be outgoing calls, which may be sales calls, for example.
Telephone customer acquisition is usually carried out as part of a telesales campaign and can be implemented in-house by the company or outsourced to a call center. In this case, trained call center agents specializing in telemarketing take over contacting potential customers by telephone.
What Is Meant by an Outbound Call Center?
Both the outbound and inbound telephony of a company can be implemented by a call center. Some contact centers offer both types of telephone business in their portfolio, others specialize in outbound or inbound.
One speaks of an outbound call center if the call center deals exclusively with outbound calls.
The agents employed in such a contact center have special sales experience. They use their telesales skills to call customers and inform them about the latest offers or sell a product or service, for example.
Outbound Call Center vs. Outbound Marketing - What's the Difference?
In marketing, too, we speak of outbound and inbound. As with telephony, the difference between the two marketing methods lies in the direction of communication.
In outbound or push marketing, the potential customer is contacted by the company. This can take the form of classic print advertising, TV commercials, newsletter mailings or telemarketing. Companies and call centers that use outbound telephony are thus implementing a form of outbound marketing.
Inbound marketing takes place primarily online. Companies offer exciting content on their websites in the form of articles, blogs and e-books, for example, and rely on potential customers searching for relevant content to find it there.
What Services Can a Telemarketing Call Center Provide for Me?
When using outbound call centers, advertising companies usually pursue the goal of making appointments and generating leads or use surveys as part of market research to find out more about the needs of (potential) customers.
The classic telesales services of a call center include:
- New Customer Acquisition: This includes all measures aimed at acquiring new customers. While warm acquisition involves contacting potential customers who have already been in contact with the advertising company, cold acquisition involves approaching completely unknown persons.
- Customer Recovery: This includes all measures aimed at winning back former customers who have ended their relationship with the advertising company.
- Strengthening Customer Loyalty: This includes all measures with which previous customers are to be tied to the company and developed into long-term regular customers.
- Product Education: This involves informing existing and potential customers about the functions and areas of application of the products and services offered by the company.
- Up-Selling and Cross-Selling: In up-selling, the customer is offered products or services that basically offer the same benefits, but are in a higher price range. Cross-selling, on the other hand, involves offering the customer products or services that are related or complementary to the products or services the customer has already purchased.
- Appointment Scheduling: Here, call center employees take care of planning and arranging appointments with (potential) customers. This allows a company's internal sales staff to concentrate on their core business.
- Address Qualification: Here, call center agents enrich raw address data from customers with additional information. The aim is to improve the quality of the data and to determine demand.
- Master Data Maintenance: Here, call center agents are used to maintain the master data of customers and partners and ensure that it is up to date. Well-maintained master data is fundamental to the efficiency of a company.
- Market Research: Here, (potential) customers are called to generate insights for sales, marketing and product development. The content can be customer satisfaction, brand awareness or target group interests, for example.
Companies have two main options when it comes to implementing telemarketing campaigns. They can implement them in-house or outsource them. If the company opts for an in-house solution, telephone sales staff are used to call the desired contacts. However, depending on the size of the planned campaign, the in-house team may not be able to provide sufficient resources to achieve the set goals. In this case, many companies rely on call center outsourcing.
Why Should I Outsource Telemarketing Activities to a Call Center?
In the outbound area, companies can derive great benefits from working with an external service provider. Call centers specializing in telesales offer easy access to trained employees. On the one hand, these agents can score points with their many years of experience and expertise in dialog marketing, but they are also trained individually on each company and its products and services.
Whether B2B or B2C, outbound call centers are an efficient way of telemarketing. As a strong backbone for the sales organization, the call center handles, for example, appointment setting or address qualification. This allows the internal sales team of the commissioning company to continue to concentrate on its core business, especially during peak periods. In after-sales, the call center can also maintain a dialog with the customer and thus contribute to long-term customer loyalty.
Advantages of Outbound Outsourcing
What Makes a Good Telesales Call Center?
Call centers can handle both inbound and outbound services, social media or even back-office activities for commissioning companies. When outsourcing outbound telephony, it is advisable to hire a call center that specializes in this area. In addition, pay attention to these criteria:
- Is the call center able to collaboratively define goals and metrics for the campaign?The call center should set targets per project together with its client in the form of key figures. In this way, the performance of the call center agents can be measured. Reporting the results also enables the service provider to make immediate adjustments if necessary.
- How is the team management set up?The team leader is responsible for motivating, directing, supervising and providing daily "on the job training" to the team. A good team leader can double the number of hourly calls per agent. If the conversions are right, the leads will naturally double as well.
- How are the call center employees trained?In a call center specializing in outbound, you should definitely pay attention to the sales expertise of the call center employees in addition to their experience with customer acquisition. Telesales agents need to have different skills than inbound agents. For example, important qualities include strong communication skills, not being afraid of rejection and being goal-oriented in meeting the client's requirements. In addition, agents must also be trained on a project-specific basis. Call guidelines and regular training ensure that performance can be guaranteed.
- Is the interview guide properly developed?For an optimal conversion rate, you need a good conversation guide. If it is set up correctly, it can make a difference of up to 20% in the conversion rate - even if it is only three to four sentences. This is another reason why you should choose an experienced outbound call center as a partner to help you develop the guide.
- Have the right addresses been identified for the planned campaign?The right addresses are also indispensable for achieving the planned conversion rate. These must be up-to-date and of high quality. Since many outbound call centers do not offer address delivery, you should already be certain when looking for the right provider whether you can and want to provide the addresses yourself or whether the call center should take care of this. Alternatively, we at Snubes work with various address suppliers and will be happy to advise you on your options, free of charge and without obligation.
- Which software solutions are used in the call center?To ensure the service quality of the call center, regular reporting and detailed documentation to you are fundamental. To do this, make sure that working with the systems you use, such as CRM, is not a problem for the service provider. In addition, the call center should have integrated time-saving solutions such as intelligent dialer systems*. These ensure that the call center agents are as efficient as possible.
* Dialers perform dialing procedures for calls automatically or initiated by the call center agent. At the same time, they automatically overlay the corresponding customer data on the employee's screen.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the German Fair Trade Practices Act (UWG) regulate the conditions surrounding outbound telephony. Accordingly, call centers and companies may offer telemarketing and other telesales services. The decisive factors here are the B2B and B2C target groups:
In the B2B area, sales via an outbound call center are generally permitted. However, it is important that the companies to be called have a general interest in the services of the advertising company or that the product is in the economic interest of the customer. This means that if you offer online training for nursing staff, for example, you may contact the staff of retirement homes without further ado, but of course you should not call an automobile manufacturer.
In the B2C sector, sales via a call center are somewhat more complex. If you want to contact a private customer, you need the customer's prior consent. This also applies to existing customers if the call has a sales objective. Because obtaining consent from private customers takes a lot of time, there are specialized address suppliers for this. They supply you with the addresses already including the required consent (opt-in).
When paying a call center for telesales, a difference is made between success-based pricing models and payment on an hourly or call basis.
- Commission: In the success-based variant, the call center receives a commission per appointment, lead or order. This type of billing involves risks for the client as well as for the call center. For the company, the risk is the inferior quality of the agreed appointments. The criteria that an appointment should fulfill must therefore be precisely defined in advance. For the call center, on the other hand, there is the risk of not receiving any payments if there is a lack of success.
- Package Price: In the second variant, the call center and the customer agree on a fixed price per hour or per call.
In general, however, it can be said that between €0.50 and €2.85 can be expected for a processing minute in outbound, depending on the industry and the location of the service provider.
Our Recommendation: Choose a combination of both pricing models. A fixed price component takes the pressure off the outbound call center, while the success-based commission provides additional motivation.
It also often makes sense to start with an hourly fee as part of a pilot project and then switch to a success-based model. This gives the call center and you the chance to gain valuable experience so as to avoid unpleasant surprises.
What Is the Classic Call Center Search Process?
To find the right call center for telesales, you need to go through a few steps.
- Development of the RFP (Request for Proposal): The search for a provider classically starts with defining the requirements for the call center. Only if a company really knows what it wants, it can search for a suitable service provider in a targeted manner and receive relevant offers.
- Call Center Research: There are over 700 call centers in Germany alone. The company therefore needs to gain an overview of the market to find out which service providers can meet its requirements. The result of the research is a longlist of potential providers.
- Project Tender: All call centers that have made it onto the longlist are contacted by the company with their RFP and asked to submit an offer. This is where it becomes clear which call center can provide the required capacities on the one hand and is interested in the planned project on the other.
- Offer Comparison: The offers submitted by the requested providers must now be compared. In the process, the company has to weigh up whether the call centers really provide all the required services and whether the previously calculated budget and planned schedule can be met. The remaining call centers are then placed on the shortlist, the list of the best potential providers.
- Decision: Based on the services and performance promised in the offer, the costs and any customer references provided by the provider, the company can now decide which call center it would like to outsource its project to. It is important that the corporate cultures of the future partners also match.
How Does Snubes Simplify Call Center Search?
You want to shorten this time-consuming search process? Then use the Snubes platform and receive offers from suitable providers with minimal effort - without any long preliminary work and research.
- Development of the RFP (Request for Proposal): With our Smart Scoping, an intelligent questionnaire, you are easily guided through the requirements definition. This way, you will have created your RFP in no time and can be sure not to have forgotten any important information.
- Call Center Research: The RFP you create serves as the basis for call center matching. Our smart algorithm uses over 20 parameters to calculate which call centers would best suit your company and your requirements. This gives you a longlist of the best providers for you from our database of over 100 verified outbound call centers.
- Project Tender: Thanks to the call center profiles that you can find directly on our platform, you can easily get an overview of the service providers on the longlist. With just one click, you can then decide which call centers will also make it onto the shortlist and thus be allowed to submit an offer.
- Offer Comparison: After just a few days, you will receive the offers from the call centers. You will find them clearly collected in your account on our platform. This way, you have all the important information at a glance and can easily compare the offers.
- Decision: Our call center experts not only put the finishing touches on call center matching, but are also happy to advise you on your decision for the perfect partner.
What Does the Snubes Platform Offer?
Europe's Largest Call Center Database
You are guaranteed to find the right service provider among over 100 verified outbound call centers.
Intelligent Contract Tendering
Capture all important requirements of your project with the help of a smart questionnaire.