Telemarketing Software Featured Article

The Best Practices at the Root of Successful Outbound Telemarketing

September 09, 2015
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

When an inside sales person or an outbound contact center agent picks up the phone and initiates a call, one of two things happen: he or she will either fail to make any impression whatsoever – the case in about 98 calls out of 100 – or will make a real connection that has a good chance of leading to a sale. Outbound telemarketing takes time and energy, so even small changes to techniques and tactics can tip the balance and result in a higher percentage of successful calls. For many companies, this means formulating a list of best practices they tell their outbound reps to follow.

Depending on your industry, these best practices will vary. There are, however, some conventional wisdom-style tips that apply to all sales calls, whether the product is marine engines or wine. It’s important that the sales professional appear knowledgeable, competent and a good listener. No one wants a one-size-fits-all presentation read at them off a script. In a recent blog post, VanillaSoft’s Genie Parker notes that the perfect outbound sales call begins before the rep even picks up the phone.

“Preparing for a sales call helps you get to know your prospect before interacting with him or her,” wrote Parker. “The right prospecting software will get your sales team prepared for each outbound call.”

Some outbound telemarketing platforms feature a preview dialing feature, providing the user with the ability to look at the contact information before initiating the call. When ready, the salesperson can simply click on the phone number to make the call. Outbound reps should also use the company’s knowledge bases and/or customer relationship management (CRM) solution to learn as much as possible about the customer or prospect. Getting things wrong – the pronunciation of a name, the business of the company, its location or the customer or prospect’s history with the sales organization – can lead to embarrassing gaffes that don’t set the right tone for success.

In addition to preparation work, a successful outbound sales rep is a good listener. In this case, it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, how small or big the price tag (News - Alert) is or what country the prospect is located in: you can’t be an effective sales person if you don’t listen to what prospects and customers want, according to Parker.

“Listening should be a no-brainer, must-have skill for any sales call,” she wrote. “If you don’t take time to understand what your prospect’s needs are, you can’t offer up a valid solution.  It’s easy to get excited about the product you’re selling, but don’t let that excitement cause you to talk more than you listen. If necessary, press your mute button to force yourself to listen while the prospect is discussing his or her pain points.”

The information you can gain from the prospect will allow you to better customize your approach, which is another core best practice for outbound sales. Don’t use the same “pitch” for each customer; instead, customize your sales effort to address each customer’s specific concerns. Parker also recommends patience: it takes about seven “touches” between a rep and a prospect before a sale is made. Rushing the process will only irritate the customer.

Finally, a sound way to overcome objections is important, and these skills should be a priority of the sales manager when it comes to training outbound reps. (Don’t let reps “make it up as they go along” in order to make a sale, or you may find they are making promises they can’t keep.) If outbound reps need a little extra help, some telemarketing solutions include a logical branch scripting feature that helps reps understand how best to proceed in the face of common objections. 

Edited by Rory J. Thompson