Telesales has had a bad rap in recent years, but is nevertheless a very useful component of an overall marketing plan. Telesales outsourcing, done right, can generate significant results for your business. After all, what's the difference between a successful and unsuccessful business? Sales! Without the ability to generate new sales, business is going to be decline or die. Telesales is an useful part of the sales and marketing mix that deliver new customers to your business, and outsourcing telesales to truly effective specialists can deliver the results you need. So what are some key features of a successful telesales outsourcing project?
1. Develop a Plan.
Telesales outsourcing should be part of a wider Sales & Marketing Plan. Most buyers need 'multiple impressions' before they buy, so a Marketing Plan that reaches out to potential clients through multiple medium is more likely to succeed. So a Plan that integrates real world marketing, your website, email, telesales and anything else you care to include is a good idea. For example:
- the contact info could be collected on your website following on from a real world marketing campaign
- the contact telephoned by your outsourcing telesales provider
- the call followed-up with email collateral
So you use multiple channels to get information to the Prospect that will help him/her make a decision. Don't rely on a single channel, e.g. repeatedly calling or repeatedly emailing etc. So your telesales outsourcing partner should integrate seamlessly into your wider Marketing Plan.
2. Test then Invest.
This is something we recommend clients do before commissioning a large engagement. A good test campaign should give you and your telesales outsourcing partner invaluable insights and information that will allow you both to optiise the process and also scale up effectively, for example, on pan-European multi lingual project.
3. Recruit the Right People.
Telesales can be done very well (and very badly) depending on the quality and knowledge of the agent. So the telesales outsourcing partner should be very proficient in Recruiting and Training the people with talent who are going to represent your brand. Just think for a moment of our own interactions with telesales people in the past and the positive (or negative) impressions they have left us with.
Talented people require training to project the right impression and achieve the desired results. In addition to training in telesales techniques (rapport building, telephone skills & presence etc) they need to have an in depth understanding of the client's product or service, and in particular the benefits of that service to the customer. Note I have not talked about 'script'. It's not a good idea to stick rigidly to a script, i.e. 'talking at' the customer. So the agent needs to be knowledgeable enough to engage the customer and bring them through the sales funnel.
5. Collateral and Tools.
A telesales agent that can compete a sale or secure an appointment simply by making calls is very rare indeed. A salesperson needs collateral for his sales visit, and so does a telesales agent except he/she does not have the benefit of face-to-face interaction. So provide the telesales outsourcing provider with company email addresses, and whatever brochures and other documents (in electronic form) typically given to your sales people for initial client meetings. Also think of any additional material that can be prepared e.g. webinars etc.
Often overlooked in telesales outsourcing, but can make a critical difference to any project is the quality of the manager assigned to you. Interview the telesales outsourcing manager who will be working with you day-to-day and satisfy yourself that they have the skills to deliver the results. They recognise the importance of pulling together a high quality agent team, understand the technology to be used, the collateral available and is very good with metrics. Top telesales managers are rare and can make a huge difference to the success of your project. So get to meet them, and secure them early on! With very large BPO companies, it can be the case that a high powered sales team that you buy into can be replaced a completely different delivery team once the project starts. Overcome this risk by having named individuals ear marked as part of the deal.
Telesales outsourcing, like other forms of BPO, can be delivered more effciently by the appropriate technology. At the most basic level a sales force automation tool will suffice. Whatever technology the telesales outsourcing company proposes to use, make sure you get a walk through. Look for opportunities to improve the overall process, for example, perhaps you can improve the data quality by creating file transfer to (and from) your own systems?
Thinking of outsourcing telesales for your business?
Then contact us to see how we can help with your project.
Authored by John Drury, Sales Director at Interaction Europe.