Telemarketing vs Business Development

Business Development

What’s the difference again?

Business Development. Telemarketing. They are similar, right?

Well no! Although these days the terms seem to be interchangeable – in truth to move away from the negative connotations sometimes associated with anything ‘telephone’ – they are very different beasts. Whilst there’s a place for each, it’s good to understand the differences so that you can choose which is right for your business.

Sales or marketing?

These two functions go hand in hand in many organisations. Marketing identifies your target, sets the scene, builds the relationship, creates the need – then in go sales to clinch the deal.

If we think of a sliding scale with sales at one end and marketing at the other, despite its name, Telemarketing is towards the sales end of the spectrum. It’s about generating high volume leads or appointments for a sales team. It might be used to do some basic qualification before the salesperson goes in. The interaction is always conducted directly with the potential customer. It’s often reactive, large scale with little pre-call research.

Business Development, on the other hand, takes a more considered approach and is far more of a combined approach to the sales and marketing processes. There’s no definitive description – ask ten people to describe Business Development, and you’ll probably get as many different answers! We believe it’s about pursuing strategic opportunities on behalf of an organisation. You may be looking to identify new routes to market, or identifying long term prospects that can be developed by entering into partnerships. If your approach is centred around cultivating partnerships or other commercially viable relationships, or even identifying new markets for your products or services, then Business Development is the tool to use. The Business Development manager will be making much smaller numbers of highly targeted and well-researched calls.

Whilst Telemarketing is about the execution of a plan to support a sale, Business Development is much more about devising and managing plans that support the organisation.

Which route do I take?

There’s no good or bad here. The answer to this lies in what you are trying to achieve.

As an example, If you were an SME looking to build quick revenue streams, with a sales team who are strong closers and a product that has low decision barriers or price points, then you could choose telemarketing. This tool is tactical; it is all about maximising the salesperson’s opportunities– sending them into a large amount of potentially unqualified prospects where they can use their skills to get the deal. It’s about numbers. The thinking is that if you call enough people, you’ll convert a percentage of them. It’s a good approach when you need to sprint through a large volume of data in a limited time frame.

If you’re looking at your long-term strategic direction, then Business Development is the way to go. A key differentiator with business development is scalability. Whilst a salesperson has a finite capacity, Business Development can scale up, almost indefinitely, by working with partners. So, for example, if you are diversifying into new areas, you may need to build relationships with key wholesalers for those markets. You’ll end up with a network of multi-channel touch points, that are managed according to their need rather than all being treated the same.

It may sound simple, but we understand it’s not always easy to know the best route to take– and being absolutely honest, it’s a decision we’ve wrestled with ourselves in the past at Intelligent Talk. Because we’ve been through that process, we are well placed to advise. So, if you are not sure where to turn, why not give us a call and we’d be happy to help.

Published: 29th August 2019

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