It is a fact that selling to new customers is more time-consuming than repeat business. In addition, between gate keepers, caller ID displayed on phone screens and voice mails, getting through to decision makers is sometimes akin to an obstacle course. It can take up to 7 phone calls before you can talk to them, so you want to make sure that when you do, you make the most of the opportunity and maximise your chance to turn your prospect into a lead.
An effective telemarketing programme should start with strategic planning before anybody even considers dialling a number. To increase your conversion rate, it is important to involve your sales teams in defining what makes a good lead for them so that you can develop your goals and call list accordingly. Yes, if you called enough people, you would eventually get results, but by focusing on quality rather than quantity, you will reduce the number of phone calls and staff time needed, and therefore make it a more profitable campaign.
The success of your telemarketing effort will of course heavily rely on its execution. Call agents are, in many cases, the first contact that a prospect will have with your company, and it is therefore critical that they make a good impression.
Telemarketing is not just about picking up the phone and chatting. It requires in-depth knowledge of the products or services being marketed and, in a B2B context, of the prospects and their company’s needs. Failure to demonstrate either during the call will undermine your credibility, so make sure that your telemarketing team is thoroughly briefed.
Every person called should also feel that they are special to you and have your undivided attention. Unfortunately, the environment around the call agents isn’t always conducive to a quality conversation: noisy background which betrays a large-scale call centre, call agents being interrupted by colleagues and incoming phone calls, etc… will damage their chance of success, so providing them with quiet surroundings free of distractions is paramount.
Investing in their training should also be a priority. Gently leading a conversation towards your goal, dissipating objections, underlining the benefits of products and services to a specific caller, all of it requires skills that you may need to develop.
Last, make sure that your call agents take regular breaks. Building a rapport and conveying enthusiasm takes energy and after too many of these calls, it is inevitable that they will lose some focus and conviction. Breaks will ensure that they keep things fresh.
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