Telemarketing Software Featured Article

Preparing Your Organization for Direct Marketing and Call Center Capabilities

February 17, 2016
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

Insurance and financial services were once very local and very personalized businesses: customers knew their brokers or their advisers, and frequently sat across the desk from them. That model is all but unheard of today: the Internet and the fierce need to compete in the national or global market place means that local services have gone the way of 1950s television. Direct marketing, once a supplemental way to drum up business or keep customers engaged, has now become a primary way of doing business. Increasingly, other businesses such as retailers and service providers, are looking to build better ways of communicating with leads and customers. This means (essentially) that more and more companies need contact center capabilities so they can build out their direct sales forces.

Building a contact center from scratch to engage in inside sales or customer support is not something for amateurs. It takes years of experience and deep knowledge into available equipment and services that can help salespeople avoid a lot of repetitive administrative work and allow them to do what they do best: sell. In a recent article for Biz Community’s Direct Marketing News, Gareth Mountain writes that where companies often go wrong is in making the process too complex for customers or prospects.

“Agents should not be spending 30 minutes or more on a phone call trying to sell your products,” he wrote. “The best direct insurers have these sales calls down to 15 to 20 minutes; allowing their agents be more productive and close more deals.”

One way to ensure that your processes remain uncomplicated, direct, easy and profitable is to measure metrics. How much time are sales people spending on calls? What is the average dollar value per transaction? You’ll need to collect as much data as possible, and you’ll need analytics capabilities to determine one very important metric: cost per acquisition, or CPA.

“Your entire marketing and sales organization must align to the business metrics and CPA targets set,” wrote Mountain. “This means aligning all their KPIs and performance measures to these metrics. Ideally, you should be measuring the return on marketing activities in real time. There are technology platforms available that can manage and measure all your marketing activities and returns in real time. Use them!”

It’s also important to be sure that you’re not overwhelming agents or inside sales people with too much of a good thing. A call center can only be effective when it has the right resources to handle customers or prospects, so be sure you’re not overburdening your sales force or contact center agents, or opportunities will be lost and existing customers will become disengaged.

“There is no point in overwhelming your call center with potential new clients when they do not have the capacity to manage them,” wrote Mountain. “If an agent can only call 20 clients per day and you’re providing them with 21, the sales made will not increase and the agent will start becoming inefficient.”

In addition to the right technology to handle incoming calls, customer or prospect information, scripts, customer relationship management (CRM) and more, it’s critical that marketing and sales communicate properly and are on the same page when it comes to the organization’s goals. If they’re working at cross-purposes, all the efforts of the direct marketing and inside sales team will be for naught, and your investments to build out your support capabilities will be wasted. 

Edited by Rory J. Thompson