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Telemarketing or Telesales - What's the difference?

Updated: Jun 6, 2022

Telemarketers all speaking on the phone in an office

Telemarketing and Telesales are two giants in the world of B2B marketing, but what nobody talks about is how easily confused both of these tactics are.

While they might be similar in nature, both using direct telephone contact as a way of reaching customers and breaking into new markets, they are two entirely different strategies with very different approaches!

"What are you trying to sell me?"

Nobody likes to be sold to. That’s a very widely used and well-known phrase in the business world, but often people misjudge the times that they are being ‘sold to’.

A young businesswoman receiving a cold call from a telemarketer.

While cold calling may not be a very loved form of marketing, people tend to make the assumption that every cold call they receive has an obnoxious, pushy ‘salesperson’ on the other end, who simply wants to flog their product or service. While that may be the case with some calls, does that mean every cold call is like that? The confusion here is that people often tend to connect the word ‘cold call’ with ‘sales call’. Yes, there are a lot of cold calls that are sales calls, that’s their primary purpose, but some callers might just be looking to have a brief conversation to find out whether you are the right kind of person they are hoping to do business with, and might not be trying to sell anything to you at that stage!

Good telemarketing doesn't sell you anything!

While telemarketing may have been a ‘phone bashing’, ‘throw as much mud at the wall to see what sticks’ sort of strategy in the past, today’s telemarketing is just about having a conversation with the right person and actively listening to what they have to say.

There’s no script involved, just a one on one conversation where the caller wants to find out how they can help you.

Happy businessman having a conversation with a telemarketer.

If they can’t help you, then any decent telemarketer will simply thank you for your time, and that’ll be that. They won’t want to take up any more of your time, and quite frankly, they won’t want you taking up any more their time when it can be better spent having a conversation with someone to who they can provide value! So with that said, receiving a telemarketing call doesn’t mean you are ‘being sold to’. It means that the person on the other end of the phone, might have the solution to that huge problem you’ve been having this week, or can help you reach that big target you’re struggling to achieve. Telemarketing in the 21st Century is about providing value, educating your potential customers, listening to their needs and concerns, and providing the right solution to their problems at the right time, and that’s why telemarketing has such a vital role in today’s marketing world!

Telesales in the 21st Century

Since their inception, Telemarketing and Telesales have both followed a similar path.

Just as with Telemarketing, the old days of Telesales were poorly targeted with a scattergun approach, and the idea would be to call as many people as possible and pitch your product or service without any regard for their relevance or needs.

And today, just as with Telemarketing, Telesales is about offering the right solution (the product or service) to fulfil the needs of the relevant person.

While Telesales may be a more direct and immediate way of selling to customers, that certainly doesn’t mean that those callers are trying to sell to just anyone. Their approach is still about providing value, engaging at the right time, and identifying potential customers who actively need or have an interest in what they are offering.

Missing amazing opportunities!

Unfortunately, because of the confusion and misconceptions surrounding telemarketing, like 'all colds are JUST salespeople trying to sell their offerings', people tend to miss out on some amazing products, services, or partnership opportunities because of their hang-ups on what Telemarketing and Telesales used to be like.

These opportunities could be finding a solution to your biggest problem, improving your business’ efficiency or lowering costs, or even create a mutually beneficial partnership that could help to grow your business exponentially!

So, next time you receive a cold call, don’t jump to conclusions, hear the person on the other end of the phone out because you never know, they might just have something that you truly need… you just might not know it yet!


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