The past, present and future of telemarketing

To understand the ways we make sales calls today, it is important to start with the history of telemarketing.

Telemarketing’s roots date back to the mid-20th century, when a group of housewives started calling people to find potential cookie buyers. Around 1965 telemarketing became more popular and therefore more people were professionally trained to make sales calls. Five years later, telemarketing had become very popular and widely recognized.

In 1991 The Telephone Consumer Protection Act was enacted and it established some rules that telemarketers had to follow. For example they are not supposed to call potential customers before 8 am or after 9 pm, state their name and company they’re working for, not use artificial or rerecorded messages and maintain an internal Do-Not-Call list.

The aforementioned act had created some ground rules, but the rising amount of sales calls and the assertive behaviour of the sales people, created a public uproar in the US in 2003, which ended with passing a law called the Do-Not-Call Registry Act. This created an option for consumers to willingly opt-out of telemarketing by registering their phone numbers in that list.

The Do-Not-Call list, caller ID and answering machines have made it easier for people to ignore cold calls and telemarketers or eliminate them completely. This forced sales people and telemarketers to reinvent their methods to be more acceptable and less intrusive to the potential clients.

Today, the message of sales calls is nonintrusive, personalized and genuine. Cold calling isn’t as cold as it was before. Internet and social media have given sales people and telemarketers huge potential to learn about their potential customer and personalize the message they approach them with.

You can find more about personalized cold calling in our “Cold calls” blog post. (SISESTA LINK)

The future of telemarketing will be interesting due to the constantly developing technology that will most likely be integrated in telemarketing too. There are already a few companies using automatized but human assisted telemarketing, where the voice is pre-recorded. The sales person just chooses the right answers through an interface and the so called sales bot does the talking.