By Tim Butte, MGI’s Relationship Director
How to Select an Outbound Calling Firm
Charity Moody, the manager of MGI’s telemarketing services, and I had the pleasure of presenting a webinar on telemarketing in January, and one question that came up a few times was how to choose the best outbound calling firm.
The “best” choice of outbound calling firms is linked to your needs, so we are offering you the following help lists to guide you in your quest. The first list is a review of the type of calling services your association or trade group might require; the second is a best practices list of questions that will help you assess and weigh the vendors in which you are interested.
Below is a list of the most common types of association telemarketing. Review this list to determine which type of calling services your association or trade group may require now and in the future.
- Renewal Telemarketing — An Agent calls to renew a subscription, service, or membership (usually 1-3 months lapsed).
- Recent Lapsed — An agent will call and attempt to renew a recently lapsed membership (usually 4-12 months lapsed).
- Aged-Lapsed — An agent will call and attempt to renew memberships that are generally 13-plus months lapsed.
- Conference, Meetings, Webinar Registration — An agent will call and attempt to remind or register constituents for meetings over the phone.
- Appreciation or New Member Welcome Retention — Calls made primarily to thank a member or volunteer for her/his membership and/or service.
- New Member Acquisition — An agent calls and solicits new memberships with little or no prior business relationship in place.
- Database Clean-Up — A process used to ensure your membership database information is accurate. These calls may verify information such as title, address, phone number, email, etc.
- Direct Sales — Agents call a list and attempt to sell a product or service like publications, subscriptions, etc.
- Appointment Setting or Lead Generation — Calls to provide sales leads for new exhibitors, sponsorships, benchmarking or research services, high average dues trade memberships, etc.
- Charity and Fund Raising — Calls attempting to raise money and awareness for foundation or PAC needs.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind when it’s time to “vet the vendors.”
- Ask for referrals from your colleagues.
- Obtain references, client lists, and sample reports from the vendor.
- Query the Membership and Marketing Sections of ASAE online Collaborate Communities.
- Are the firms highly experienced with clients and programs similar to the ones you are looking to conduct?
- If the firm you are considering is primarily engaged in inbound customer service calls, make certain your calling team is made up of outbound skilled callers. The skill sets and attributes for outbound calling are very different from inbound, and your results will show it.
- Average call staff retention of at least 2 to 3 plus years?
- Does the contract have a 24-hour or similar flexible cancellation policy vs. a one year lock-in?
- Are there hidden fees for reporting, additional dialing attempts, and minimum charges for list size or hours? (Make sure all costs are included in the proposals. Many firms may try to entice you with low hourly rates and then surprise you later with additional charges.)
- Do they have high-end computerized predictive dialing technology vs. old auto-dialers or laborious manual calling? (This can be especially important if you have bigger files that require maximum list penetration in the shortest time possible.)
- Do they provided recordings if needed?
- If desired, are they able to conduct direct entry into your AMS system or to your Payment Processor?
- Are they PCI compliant and willing to provide the documentation?
- Do they allow testing against competitors?
Please feel free to get hold of Charity or me with any questions or comments. You can get hold of Charity at CMoody@MarketingGeneral.com or tel. 703-706-0376. My contact information is TButte@marketinggeneral.com or tel. 703-706-0397.
If you would like to view our webinar, it can be found on our website right here.
Best of luck!