Outbound telephone marketing is and always has been a tricky prospect. While the pay-off is high – if outbound didn’t work, no one would engage in it anymore – the tactic requires a great deal of thought, preparation and advance planning. There is a striking difference between the results of an effectively planned outbound campaign and a poorly planned one. Properly planned outbound campaigns identify hot leads that can lead directly to sales, and poorly planned outbound campaigns do little but annoy customers and prospects. They may even bring the law down on the company engaging in the outbound telemarketing.
So what’s the secret to running a successful outbound campaign? For starters, companies need to be sure they have access to the right dialer technology. Manual dialing an outbound campaign is a great way to doom it from the start. Manual dialing limits the number of contacts each agent or sales person can make, which boosts the costs per sale greatly. Dialer technology can make the best use of outbound personnel’s time, connecting them with a prospect only when that prospect is on the line and ready to hear a pitch. It can also include answering machine detection, which helps identify when calls are picked up by a machine. Predictive dialers, which use algorithms to call the right people at the right times, can boost the connection rates even higher.
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Aside from using dialers, there are a number of other things companies can do to boost outbound success, according to a recent article on the UK site CallCentreHelper.com.
Hire the right people. Not everyone is cut out for outbound. It’s not hard to see the type of personality that is a success with outbound: an engaging, forthright personality with good product knowledge who is not easily bruised by abrupt refusals.
Motivate the outbound team. Games, team competitions and rewards can go a long way toward keeping outbound agents engaged and in a friendly competition to succeed.
Compliance. Before you even place an outbound call, ensure that your dialing technology or outbound solution is fully integrated with do-not-call lists, calling time rules, abandoned calls, established customer rules and any other regulations you need to observe. Just a few fines from a regulatory body can wipe out the success of an entire campaign.
Involve agents in planning. The more agents understand the campaign in advance and feel included in its planning, the more they will buy into and “own” the project and give it their best effort.
Outbound marketing is a lucrative practice if you get it right. It’s not a practice you can do once in a while in a slapdash way, however. It’s both an art and a science, and the companies that take time to master it are usually leaps and bounds ahead of their competition.
Edited by Blaise McNamee