Telesales or Telemarketing – What’s the Difference?

Corinne Thomas

Corinne Thomas

Founder & Managing Director

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Will you choose telesales or telemarketing to grow your ethical business?

Do you know your telemarketing from your telesales?

When executed well, these tried and tested telephone strategies can transform sales for purpose-driven businesses.

To help you decide on your sales and lead generation plans, our expert team explores these popular terms and outlines the benefits to your business of each approach.

Telemarketing or Telesales – the Key Differences

We tend to use these words interchangeably but they actually represent two distinct sales approaches. Let’s demystify them a little for you:

Telemarketing is a phone based service that generates leads and creates interest in products or services. It can also be used to seek customer feedback, uncover market insight (such as via a survey) or make qualified appointments with key decision makers.

Telesales is a way of selling products or services directly to customers or clients over the telephone.

In short, telemarketing is a way of reaching out to a specific target market, letting them know about what a business has to offer them and generating future sales opportunities (such as booking a meeting).

If telemarketing is more of a prospecting or lead generation activity then telesales covers the next step of the sales process – it converts those opportunities into actual sales.

telephone sales


What can Telemarketing do for Lead Generation within your Ethical Business?

We’ve identified the top ten reasons why our clients choose a B2B telemarketing campaign focus when working with us.

1. A focused telemarketing approach to lead generation will create a valuable pool of potential leads for sales teams to take forward, saving them time and money.
2. When a client is looking to enter new markets or gain more market share, telemarketing not only produces leads but it also generates useful brand awareness of the products or services that they have to offer.
3. Market research questionnaires or surveys can be conducted with a targeted prospect list, leading to valuable intelligence, understanding of potential customer trends and ready-made content for future marketing communications. An example of this would be producing a White Paper on the survey results (with expert commentary) and distributing this amongst the prospect networks that have been created.
4. By engaging excellent telemarketers who are highly professional, the business will come across as well established, researched and industry experts in what they do. This is particularly relevant when clients choose telemarketing as a customer service opportunity or a way of sourcing more accurate customer data. Proven telemarketing techniques will ensure that honest customer feedback is captured and genuine engagement takes place – rather than feeling like they have had the ‘hard sell’!
5. Good telemarketing campaigns can take advantage of the ‘low hanging fruit’ that already exists within a business, such as newsletter subscribers or lapsed customers who just need a nudge in the right direction to become solid sales leads.

6. For those clients who want to retain control of the sales process, telemarketing is a great way of opening doors, booking meetings and generating interest for the business owner or sales lead to take forward themselves. It is quite a different skill to generate initial leads than close a sale, which can become a frustrating and time consuming process for busy entrepreneurs.
7. By creating a strategic and targeted prospect list, good telemarketers will be able to create a reliable source of data for future sales activities.
8. Ongoing appointment making campaigns provide an excellent way of bringing in a steady stream of qualified leads into a business which ensures that their sales pipeline is always being topped up.
9. Due to the repetitive nature of cold calling telemarketing – many outbound calls need to take place in one session – it is often an activity that business owners or sales leads put off ‘for another day’. An expert outbound calling team will be dedicated to generating real results for their clients and have a very focused approach to the task in hand during calling sessions.
10. An authentic and targeted telephone campaign builds customer loyalty, develops meaningful relationships, books stronger appointments and generates dramatic results on the sales success of a business.

Telemarketing generates valuable leads and build relationships with decision makers

What can telesales do to grow your purpose-driven business through sales?

Many of our product-based business clients choose a telesales focus to their campaign to enable them to benefit from real, tangible sales results. This approach works equally well with b2b clients who have a more straightforward sales process which our consultants can use to sell services directly.

Here’s our top five reasons for choosing great telesales campaigns to grow your business:

1. Persistence, persuasion and a little bit more persistence! Our clients are often sitting on useful customer data but they may lack the patience or skill set to convert those hard-won leads into sales. An expert telesales team will tread the right balance between thoughtful in their approach and persuasive when they need to be.
2. Conversion rates are much higher. Professional sales consultants are very proud of their good conversion rates and that is because they are highly skilled in effective telesales techniques. This in turn decreases the overall cost of sale to the client.
3. Got some tricky, difficult leads? The right targeted approach through telesales can transform these into new customers or at the very least support further lead generation activities. A more direct telesales approach will root out the timewasters and long-term leads that are not going to convert to serious buyers.
4. Not having a dedicated sales person or sales lead within the business can impact on sales targets. However, our clients are often worried about spending time and money on recruiting the right person and so look to source expert telesales services to fill the gap.
5. Virtual sales favours the brave… In the current world we live in, face to face sales opportunities are very hard to come by. Many of our clients are reassigning their trade show or field sales budgets into virtual sales approaches or engaging an agency like Ethical Sales. We do hope however, like many sales teams, for the resurgence of some face to face sales in the future!

skilled telesales will generate high conversion rates


Why we Recommend Strategic and Targeted Telephone Based Sales for Future Success

Having worked with many ethical businesses to grow their sales using telephone based methods we know that this approach, when executed well, can transform sales growth.

One of the most common sales challenges we hear about is the lack of proactive sales activity that is taking place within a business. In a recent survey of ethical business owners we discovered that only a small minority were making unsolicited (as in non-planned) sales calls to grow their business on a regular basis. 

80% of us rarely make unsolicited phone calls

This means that rather than taking steps to reach out to a targeted list of prospects that have been specifically chosen due to their suitability, many businesses are relying on incoming enquiries alone to grow their sales. The issue with this is that they are not being strategic or targeted in who they may be acquiring as customers.

What happens when a business is reliant in incoming enquiries alone? It leads to mission creep, discounting practices or worst of all, lower than expected or scattergun sales because ideal clients are not being properly targeted.

We advise all ethical businesses to take a cold, hard look at their sales figures and pipelines. If you answer ‘no’ to most or all of the following questions then it might be time to consider a telesales or telemarketing approach for your business:

– Our sales process and pipeline is set up to proactively bring in those high value clients that we know make us the most revenue.
– We know exactly how to proactively target our ideal potential clients or customers using a range of sales outreach methods and we do this on a regular basis.
– New markets and opportunities are open to us and we have a robust sales strategy for how to realise them most effectively.
– We have an expert team of B2B sales specialists we can draw upon when we need to increase our sales quickly or build on our pipeline of qualified leads.
– We have a sales lead or team who are happy and comfortable to spend a significant proportion of their time on cold calling and cold approaches to generate sales or leads.
– We rely solely on digital lead generation techniques and online marketing communications to bring us in sales leads, with variable (i.e. non reliable) results.

We hope this summary has been helpful, please do give us a ring for an informal chat and some advice if you are considering a telephone based approach as part of your sales strategy this year.

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