Telemarketing vs Sales: Why Making Phone Calls Doesn't Make You a Telemarketer

Patrick Antinozzi


What would you call someone who makes 60 phone calls and sends 200 text messages in a day?

If you're like most people, your first thought is "telemarketer". And probably an annoying one at that.

The thing is, the context of those calls and messages changes everything. I'm going to give you 3 side by side comparisons of how you can tell the difference between a telemarketer and a sales rep.

Here's why telemarketers and sales reps are so different:

Spraying and Praying vs True Personalization

telemarketing vs sales

You know what a telemarketer has in front of them when they're making calls? A list.

This list contains thousands of names of people who share one small thing in common. (for example, they're all small business owners)

Usually, it's a list made up of publicly available information, like addresses and phone numbers. Sometimes, it's been purchased from a third party source. You can buy lists of phone numbers of people who fit into an "affluent" income bracket, for example.

Targeting someone based solely on how much money they make... Does that sound like an ideal prospect to you?


  • Spray and pray and hope for the best
  • Know nothing about the person they are calling
  • Read directly from a script and rarely deviate
  • Offer zero personalization
  • Have no idea if their prospect even needs what they're selling

Sales Reps:

  • Have useful data to empower their calls
  • Have done their research into who they're calling
  • Listen more than they speak, and adjust their conversation accordingly
  • Tell an ultra-personalized story
  • Know exactly what their prospect needs

Winner: Sales Reps

Robots vs Humans

sales vs telemarketing

As if this complete lack of personal connection wasn't enough, a large portion of telemarketing has now been automated by bots.

We've all received those calls. And, while they are technically illegal, they still happen. It turns out they are pretty difficult to track and enforce too.

And the bots aren't satisfied with merely automating phone calls. Companies have now turned to chatbots to automate customer messaging.

All of this comes at a time where people are craving real, human connections more than ever. There is a growing backlash towards our digitally disconnected lifestyles.

So, why are we always so anxious to remove the human connection?

Telemarketing Robots:

  • Are creepy and have zero heart (literally)
  • Lack a functioning brain that can read and adapt to verbal and physical cues
  • Have intelligence that is, frankly, far too artificial

Sales Repping Humans:

  • Have a big, beautiful heart and are only creepy sometimes
  • Are owners of the most incredible thing in the universe, a human brain that can connect with other human brains
  • Possess real intelligence that is definitely not artificial

Winner: Sales Reps

Newbs vs Experts

sales vs telemarketing

A telemarketer is a cog in a machine. Assuming they're not a robot, they sit at a desk in a long row of other telemarketers, dialling number after number after number.

The more calls they make, the higher their odds that someone answering might actually buy what they're selling.

It's a numbers game. (pun absolutely intended)

The thing is, they don't know a thing about the product they're selling. They're making calls and reading from a script.

A sales rep, on the other hand, knows their stuff. They've done their research, stay on top of industry trends, and know what the heck they're talking about. They can determine the needs of their prospects through a combination of good listening skills, actionable data, and deep knowledge.

Do I still need to spell this out?


  • Are small pawns in a large chess match, with no personal stake in the game
  • Know nothing about what they're selling
  • Are offering the coldest of calls

Sales Reps:

  • Pursue 1:1 conversations and strive to make real connections with people
  • Are product and industry experts
  • Take advantage of powerful data to make warm calls and touch points with prospects

Winner: Sales Reps

The difference is night and day

Sales reps often struggle with the thought that, because they make a lot of phone calls and messages, people view them as nothing more than annoying telemarketers.

If you put forth the effort necessary to be an amazing sales rep, no one will think this way about you.

You'll be selling people things they actually need, and they'll thank you for it.

About the Author

Patrick Antinozzi

Patrick is our Content Specialist / Brand Ambassador / Internet Geek. He's got his finger on the pulse of business and retail trends, and loves writing in various corners of the internet. When he's not doing that, you'll find him traveling the world, playing hockey, or ranting about the Montreal Canadiens.

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