Expert: Mac McIntosh;

Telemarketing lead generation can make sense when the need to communicate one-to-one in a proactive manner is worth the cost.  It doesn’t make sense when communicating one-to-many using other media is more appropriate.


Cold-call telemarketing can be expensive, often resulting in the highest cost-per-lead of any lead generation activity.  However, when combined with other media (e.g. email plus phone or mail plus phone), telemarketing can be a productive tactic.

It is also a very productive tactic for following up, nurturing and qualifying inquiries and responses from other lead generation activities.

Outsourcing your telemarketing lead generation makes sense for pilots, one-time projects and to handle peaks in activity such as following up and qualifying hundreds of trade show leads before they get stale.


Doing it yourself (in-house or using part-time contractors or home workers) makes sense when telemarketing is an integral part of your ongoing new business development process and you have enough volume to keep two part-time telemarketers busy.


You can search the web for outsourced telemarketing companies, but you might be better off asking your peers at other companies in your industry or hiring a consultant to help find the right company for you.


When selecting an outsourced telemarketing company to help with lead generation, use these five steps:

1.       Put together a backgrounder about your company, its products/services, its customers

2.       Clearly articulate your expectations.

a.       What you define as a qualified lead

b.      How many qualified leads you need to get to consider the program a success

3.       Get a written proposal with all deliverables, costs and estimates clearly spelled out.

4.       Verify that they already do what you are asking them to do for others in your industry.

5.       Check references

a.       Ask what they like best about the company, and what they wish the company was a bit better at.

b.      Ask about results vs. expectations.

c.       Ask them if they would recommend the company to their best friend?


A good call guide is better than a script.  Test it by reading it out loud and role-playing before making calls with it.

·         Your “reason for the call” must make sense from the contact’s point of view.

·         Worry most about nailing the opening and closing.

·         The middle of the call should be conversational, but designed to get the qualifying answers you need.

·         Document key talking points.

·         List open-ended qualifying questions.

·         List available offers (calls-to-action) and next steps.


Avoid these things that amateurs say:

·         How are you today?

·         I’m just calling to (see if you have any questions, touch base, follow up, etc.)

·         Have you heard of us?

·         Did you get the (e-mail, letter, etc.)? I sent you?

·         According to my records...

·         Tell me about your business

·         Are you the decision-maker?


The acid test:  Would you, one of your peers, or your boss be okay with receiving a call like the ones you are going to make?


Related Resources:

Email  for

       A PDF of Mac’s PowerPoint Presentation about telemarketing lead generation.

       A  free set of Telemarketer Recruiting Aids

       A free Telemarketing Program Worksheet

       A free subscription to Sales Lead Report®

Help yourself to free marketing & lead gen tools

Help yourself to free articles



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