Scoring sales via telemarketing

Apr 01, 1999 10:30 PM  By

All it took was two telemarketers. By moving two team sales reps who had previously handled inbound orders to a newly created outbound telemarketing department, ñ37 million sporting goods cataloger Eurosport boosted its team apparel and equipment sales nearly 30%.

“We started with one telemarketer last spring, then brought on another one at the end of the summer,” says director of marketing and merchandising analysis Jimmy McIntyre. The two outbound reps call school coaches and athletic club directors. “We try to find out what the process is for getting their business,” McIntyre explains. “Most schools and clubs have a bidding process. So the person in charge of purchasing for the school will let various companies, such as ours, know what he or she is looking for.”

The team portion of Eurosport’s business has increased from less than one-fifth of total sales to nearly a quarter within the past year. Consumer catalog sales make up the rest of Hillsborough, NC-based Eurosport’s revenue. “By going out and contacting the customers, rather than making them wait to get a catalog from us, we’ve seen our team business really grow,” McIntyre says.

Outbound calling, however, is just part of the employees’ new jobs. “We also send them to some coaching and athletic-director trade shows to set up booths for us,” McIntyre says. “They’re not only bringing back some leads from these shows, but they’re doing business there too.”

McIntyre says the cost of setting up the two-person telemarketing department-which “we will expand if it continues to do well”-represents a “slight” investment in phone calls, but little else.

Eurosport chose to focus on building up its team sales, as opposed to individual consumer sales, because of the difference in average order size: The average individual order is in the high double-digits, McIntyre says, while the average team order is four times that amount. But even though the cataloger offers volume discounts for team sales, McIntyre says the profit margins are only slightly lower, because the discounts aren’t that deep, although he would not specify the exact amounts.–PM