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January 14, 2009

Offense Approach to Sales Essential in Down Economy; Telemarketing Can Help

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

During times of recession, it makes smart fiscal sense for companies to seek ways to cut costs. It not only protects earnings, it can also ensure survival until growth returns to the market.

The challenge in cutting costs is to ensure that sales and service resources are not made so lean as to eliminate the preservation of earnings. As a result, it is important for sales efforts to remain in an offensive mode, no matter the economic climate. To make this possible and probable, struggling companies can look to Telemarketing services.

In a recent VendorSeek article, "Telemarketing Services Help Companies Stay on Offense during a Downturn," the impact of cutting sales and service in a down economy was explored. For instance, customer service preserves revenues through customer retention to protect higher profit margins, even if it does not directly generate revenue.

Cuts in customer service put these high-margin revenues at risk at a time when customers are dealing with their own budget issues. Providing less than the expected level of customer service will help the customer make a quick decision to change to a provider who will meet their expectations.

Excellent customer service alone won’t protect the future of the company, however. If budget cuts penetrate too far into sales efforts, it can be a struggle to replace lost business. This can have a cyclical effect as revenues can shrink further, which will generate even deeper budget cuts, creating a downward spiral for the business.

As telemarketing calls are generally made early in the sales cycle, it is easy to assume that they are far removed from any revenue generation. As a result, they can be an easy target for budget cuts. What decision makers often fail to realize is that consistent telemarketing efforts lay the groundwork for future sales and can provide long-term security.

For a company to stay on the offense in a time of recession, telemarketing can play a significant role. For one, the company can use telemarketing to make extra service calls. Helpful reminders demonstrate to customers that the company is service oriented and puts the customer first.

The company can also synchronize telemarketing calls with customer buying patterns. This ensures that all opportunities are maximized and customers really do want to be sold to when it is products they want or need to buy.

Telemarketing can also help to launch new sales contacts. Demonstrating an assertive approach to sales is a representation of a company’s strength. Showing the customer base how solid a company is in times of financial stress is always a good move.

It possible to make certain cuts in telemarketing activities without sacrificing the benefits that can be had. Companies can look to outsourcing to reduce fixed costs and management oversight. Automated calls can also offer a less expensive alternative for routine reminders when human interaction is not necessary.

Overall, a company must be careful in making budget cuts in times of an economic recession. What is important is that those cuts are made with a focused eye on the future and how the company can sustain its market position and protect its customer base. A strategic plan that incorporates an offensive approach to sales using telemarketing services can offer stability and even growth in a down market.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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