Telemarketing Software Featured Article

Avoiding Common Inside Sales and Telemarketing Mistakes

September 13, 2016
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

The practice of inside sales or telemarketing, particularly for business-to-business selling, is an onerous one. Typical outbound agents make hundreds of calls a day, and most of the time they’re encountering voicemail, whether it’s on prospects’ landlines or mobile phones. Many inside sales managers believe that quantity is what counts, which is often why they turn to telemarketing software such as dialers. While it’s true that the more calls you make, the more connections you’re going to take, there comes a time when sales managers should focus on quality instead of quantity. As Ada Frost wrote recently for HubSpot, the traditional definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

“If you’re leaving message after message on prospects’ voicemails and none of them seem to be prompting a call back, the answer isn’t doubling down on what’s clearly not working,” wrote Frost. “Instead, you should try to figure out where you’re going wrong.”

Is it in your greeting? Frost notes that many inside sales agents continue to use honorifics, as in “Hello, Ms. Smith.” Not only does it sound overly formal (and announce that yes, this is a sales call!), but you may be pronouncing last names incorrectly. If the name is a foreign or unfamiliar one, you may even be using the wrong honorific (“Ms.”iInstead of “Mr.”) First names help overcome some of these mistakes, and sound less formal.

Is it in the way you identify yourself? If you open the voicemail with your name and organization, you’re also basically announcing that this is a cold sales attempt. While you should certainly identify yourself, choosing a more subtle and delayed way to do it might be a better option.

Provide a hint of value, not a laundry list of features. Since this is a cold call, you’re not yet sure of which features will interest the prospect.

“Reps should never pitch product features during a voicemail,” wrote Frost. “Again, the goal is to begin the sales conversation or restart a stalled one – not convince your prospect to buy. Save the features talk until after you’ve sparked their interest in what you have to say and earned their trust by providing value in some way.”

Being overly generic. Let the prospect know that you’ve done your research. Specifics such as, “I noticed that you recently launched a new product line of voice-activated widgets” sounds like you’ve taken a real interest. Avoid general statements such as, “Your website is really interesting.”

Avoid accusatory-sounding language. “This is the third voicemail I’ve left for you” makes it sound like it’s the prospect’s fault for failing to respond to you. Also avoid language like, “I know you’re busy,” which sounds a lot like, “I know I’m pestering you.” Cringe-worthy phrases such as “I know I don’t know you, but…” will also get your voicemail ignored.

So what should you say? For starters, keep it brief, keep it to the point and keep it compelling. Mark Roberge of Harvard Business School recommends something like this:

“I’m going to send you that case study now to give you an idea of the specific tactics [the company] used and the results you should expect. Give me a call if you would like to review it together."

A sales professional with a possible solution to fill a company’s need sounds a lot better than an amateur stranger begging for time with irrelevant feature lists. It might even start to improve your callback rates, which is the whole point of your efforts. 

Edited by Alicia Young