Outbound Vs. Inbound Telemarketing

By Amelia Jenkins

Outbound telemarketers often use a phone directory to call potential customers.
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The telephone is a powerful business tool, and small businesses, larger corporations and charities all use it to their advantage. Telemarketing is the process of selling products or providing technical support over the phone to current and potential customers. Businesses use inbound or outbound telemarketing, or both. Both kinds of telemarketing have advantages to a business.

Key Differences

With inbound telemarketing, a customer calls in to the cell center. For example, a customer reads an advertisement for a new product and calls an inbound telemarketer to request more information. With outbound telemarketing, call centers call potential customers directly. A cable company will call its current customers to advertise a new promotion. The cable company may also cold call non-customers to try to gain more sales.

Inbound Telemarketing Job Roles

An inbound telemarketer accepts incoming calls from current and potential customers. The telemarketer records the name and information of the person calling and often reads written prompts about current promotions or products. Some inbound telemarketers try to sell new products to customers, such as a cell phone company marketing plan upgrades to customers calling in for other reasons. Other inbound telemarketers handle complaints and help customers with problems, while also trying to sell new products.

Outbound Telemarketing Job Roles

Outbound telemarketers call current and former customers, or cold call potential customers from a directory phone listing. Typically, an outbound telemarketer cold calls a customer and tries to sell a product or solicit a donation for a charity by reading a script provided by his company or charitable organization. An outbound telemarketer also answers questions customers may have about products or services, and records sales in a computer program. For example, an outbound telemarketer for a direct mail catalog company may call former customers and promote new products to bring in more sales.

Other Considerations

Inbound and outbound telemarketers deal with a wide variety of customers, and must handle complaints and other issues. Several companies also require that telemarketers sell a certain percentage of products each month, known as a sales quota. While many customers will handle a telemarketing call professionally, some customers will become aggravated or even aggressive. Inbound and outbound telemarketers must know how to work through these situations while still meeting their sales quotas.