With $750,000 in sales, CWC Software, in Braintree, Mass., can't afford to put a salesperson on the road. So, the three-year-old company -- which sells a subscription-fulfillment program called QuickFill -- makes wise use of its telemarketing, dividing its phone sales force into two prospectors and one "closer."

The prospectors are less expensive part-timers who don't need detailed product knowledge or finely honed selling skills. They make the initial contact with people who respond to CWC ads. "They can check to see that prospects received the demo disk they asked for," says vice-president Bill Bean, "and encourage them to open it and try it." The prospectors also answer the most commonly asked questions.

Companies on CWC's long list receive quarterly newsletters and periodic calls. When prospects start to look like buyers, their names go onto the "hot" list. The seasoned closer then takes that list and goes to work.

"Once a prospect expresses interest, there's a whole series of hurdles that take several weeks to several months to get past," says Bean. CWC's closer, an experienced salesperson with extensive product knowledge, answers very specific questions and lobbies everyone who must approve the purchase at the prospect's company.

Using this two-tiered approach, CWC has steadily increased its leads and sales. Some telemarketers, however, believe you should have two closers for every prospector -- a tack Bean is considering once CWC's revenues grow a bit larger. For now he's content to see the company in the black and meeting sales projections.

-- Susan Greco and Tom Richman

For telemarketing tips, consult The Encyclopedia of Telemarketing (Prentice-Hall, 800-374200, 1991, $21.95). "There's good variety in it, all relevant to anyone trying different telemarketing approaches," says Gordon Gossage of MathSoft, a Cambridge, Mass., software company that's been built on telemarketing.