What’s the Big Difference Between Prospecting and Telemarketing?


The distinction between prospecting and telemarketing is in the quality and purpose of the call.  For example, when you pick up the phone to speak with a prospect, are you giving them your quick elevator pitch or trying to engage them in a professional business conversation? The purpose of the call and desired outcomes are what makes this distinction so crucial. 

This issue is not whether telemarketing or prospecting work, it’s that they are two completely different approaches beyond both being outbound sales call techniques. One is designed to secure the transactional sale and the other is a discovery call to qualify a suspect to the prospect stage.

Telemarketing has often been referred to as cold calling when a sales person is asked to make a call to sell or promote a product or service with the goal to make a sale over the phone. It is a term that has proved challenging for many sales leaders, as this type of call can be considered a very quantitative and transactional phone sale and an approach that often proves too daunting a task for many sales teams, particularly over the long haul. That being said, telemarketing is an approach that does produce immediate sales, which can be ideal for certain types of campaigns.

The idea behind a prospecting call is focused on discovering if there is potential alignment between two parties and, if so, building a relationship with the prospect rather than selling them over the phone. This call is strategic in nature in that it is designed to identify the decision-maker and lay the groundwork for later sales contact. As a result of the prospecting calls, an internal sales team now has a list of good sales leads that they can then nurture, further qualify, and build relationships with.  Although not the primary focus, the prospecting call can also help you disqualify suspects, thereby allowing you to focus singularly on prospects.

Both prospecting and telemarketing have their advantages based on your business model and whether your product or service requires an ongoing relationship with your client or if a simple sale is enough to satisfy your business goals. At York Consulting, we’ve invested a great deal of time upfront, working with sales leaders to determine exactly their desired outcomes. This investment has led to successful results for our clients. We believe that before executing a telemarketing or prospecting campaign, we need to dig deep to really understand exactly what results you need, why they are important, what your sales goals are, and so much more in order to determine the type of calling approach that will produce the results you desire.

If you’re interested in taking your sales calling to the next level, to distinguish between suspects and prospects, call the experts at York Consulting.

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