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Given the importance and amount of money being spent on telemarketing, it is essential for audience development professionals to spend some of their time monitoring these projects. It is not uncommon for a magazine to have over 50 percent of the audience sourced to telemarketing.
Tell the vendor you want to monitor your project. I always listen on the first or second day of calling. If there are problems, they can be corrected quickly. If the vendor says they cannot monitor you should consider finding a new telemarketer. There should not be a charge for this service.
Someone from the vendor should also be on the call. Review any concerns you have with your contact. This should include not only how they read the script but also how the rep talks with your subscribers.
Some common mistakes discovered by listening to calls:
• Requal or New Name? I am surprised how often the agent uses a new name introduction when the project is a requalification effort (or vice versa). The advantage of a requal project is you can tell the subscriber that he or she is already receiving the magazine. People, especially assistants, are much more receptive if they already receive the magazine. This will increase your conversion rates and decrease the need for as many replacement subscribers.
• Check all that apply. You approved the script so the assumption is the agent will read it correctly. Unfortunately, the agent may not present all the response options to the subscriber. He or she may move on to the next question after receiving only one response. This makes the subscriber less valuable because you do not know as much about the person as if the question was asked properly. This seemingly small mistake may also impact the list rental revenue generated from the circulation file. If there is less data to rent revenues could drop.
• What is your Job function? This question may not even be asked during the interview. If the agent obtained the person’s job title while verifying the name and address information they may assume what the job function is.
• Subscribers love our magazine. Maybe. Monitoring presents a chance to hear how subscribers feel about the magazine. If the majority of the people are not interested in continuing to receive the magazine you need to do more research. Perhaps it is a single title or industry that does not want the magazine. You can then share this information with the publisher and/or editor. If the publisher insists on reaching this segment you can tell her/him it will be more expensive to cultivate this group because there is little interest in the magazine.
• What is the quality of the list(s) rented for new name campaign? Monitoring allows you to hear how many of the people are no longer at the company, how many of the phone numbers are disconnected or wrong, how many of the people are not interested in the magazine. Some of these problems indicate the list is old or poorly maintained. If the list is not what you ordered go back to the list manager/owner/broker and request a refund.
Taken individually these situations do not seem to amount to much. However, when the omissions are multiplied by the number of completed calls made during a campaign, the impact could be severe.
You want to do everything possible to ensure the campaigns are being run correctly and the magazine is getting its full value for the dollars invested.
Bruce Sprague has wide ranging experience in all aspects of audience development. As director of circulation for Penton Media, Bruce was responsible for more than 30 b-to-b controlled circulation magazines. The Sprague Group provides an alternative solution to publishers needing assistance with their audience development. Reach Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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