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For Successful Telemarketing, Follow the Plan Used by Firefighters

February 23, 2016
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

Engaging in a sales campaign may never be as important a job as fighting fires, but the step-by-step process that firefighters use to approach a problem (a fire) may lend a lot of valuable information to inside sales departments beginning a new telemarketing campaign.

In a recent blog post, Josh Linkner, a columnist for the Detroit Free Press, uses the seven steps firefighters follow and applies them to business. More specifically, for a telemarketing campaign, these seven steps might go something like this:

Training. For firefighters, this is a time to ensure that everyone who goes on a real call has the skills required to get the job done. In a sales department, it’s time for managers to ensure that everyone who will participate has the right foundation to be a contributing member of the team.

Preplanning. This is the time to communicate what resources are available to engage in the new sales campaign, and purchase or acquire any that might be needed. Is your CRM robust? Is it well integrated with other systems? Do salespeople have an easy way to dial calls and eliminate illegal calls (cell phones without permission, for example, or numbers on the do-not-call registry)? When will the campaign take place, and for how long?

Assessment. For firefighters, this is a time to hear the initial details from as many 911 callers as possible so they can get a feel for what’s really going on. For a sales campaign, it would be the time to review what was learned on previous campaigns, and understand what worked and what didn’t. It would also be time to gather all the materials possible to begin learning about what the sales campaign’s goal is, by (for instance) consulting with marketing.

Initial plan of attack. For a firefighting team, this would be the time to begin crafting a strategy based on the information they’ve gathered. For a sales team, it means pulling together all the resources, preparing a script (if applicable), collecting sales enablement tools and ensuring that all salespeople have a good grasp on the product or service that will be offered.

Arrival. At this point, it’s time for the team leader (the sales manager) to use all the data gathered and begin building a plan for the actual execution of the campaign. It’s time for the manager to marshal forces, ensure all the proper tools are being used, that follow-up practices are engaged and that everyone understands his or her role in the campaign.

Implementation. Now that you’ve determined your best approach, it’s time to put it in play. For firefighters, it’s about bringing out the hoses and going to work. In a sales campaign, it’s about getting on the phones and actually making the calls.

Debrief. The last stage, debriefing, should involve examining the data from the campaign and determining what worked best and what didn’t. This way, you can use your successes for the future and improve on your failures, fine-tuning your processes for the future.

While it’s not putting out fires, telemarketing campaigns can be vital to the health of a business. These campaigns uncover leads, and without leads, businesses cannot continue to succeed. Ensure that your telemarketing campaigns are run properly and are efficiently organized. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting a lot of time and money on inefficient exercises. 

Edited by Rory J. Thompson