Having managed quite a few telemarketing campaigns as well as a whole host of agents over the years, I’ve discovered a few significant challenges. List quality, for instance, is an obvious one of those challenges, and one over which the telemarketing agency often has little control over. There is another, not quite so obvious challenge, over which we, as telemarketing program managers, have quite a bit of control, and that is agent preparation.
During my time as Lead Quality Manager for one of our largest clients, I have listened to countless telemarketing calls in an effort to identify how TeleNet can replicate our most successful calls, and ways in which we can improve the quality of our product. While there are many nuances and specific circumstances unique to every call we make, there is one constant that must be present in order for call to be considered a success. Confidence is an absolute necessity to the art of conducting a telemarketing conversation. A solid understanding of call objectives, target audience, product value propositions all contribute to the level of confidence an agent portrays during their phone conversations. Ensuring that your reps are armed with training, information, and resources that address each of these areas before they make their first call will inevitably lead to their individual success.
How do we make sure our agents are properly prepared (and therefore confident enough) to make successful lead generation calls? Below are some strategies and helpful tips that I’ve had success with using.
- Keep initial training very high level. At the start of campaign trainings, keep instruction focused on the overall objectives of the campaign. Every marketing campaign has an angle, and it important that each agent understand the logic behind the decision to launch a program. Instilling this understanding in your team from the very start will provide a context for the detailed value proposition information that will come later.
- Product information and specifications is important, at the appropriate time. First, the focus needs to be on laying the foundation by explicitly describing the following elements to the team:
- The Audience – Who am I calling?
- The Product – What am I calling them about?
- The Message – Why am I calling these people about this particular product?
- Only after we feel confident in our agents’ knowledge and understanding of the call purpose should we move on to specific product value propositions. Product details will get lost if the foundation for them has not been built. These details fit into the framework of context, and the framework needs to be strong before we attempt to build on top of it. The product about which we are calling may have a whole host of benefits to many different audiences, and it is important that our team understand the features that would make it appealing to our audience. In order for the message to resonate with prospects, the focus must be on how and why this product could benefit them.
Really, I could go on and on. When I referred to holding a telemarketing conversation as an art, I wasn’t kidding! As managers of these campaigns, we are responsible for preparing our teams to find a delicate balance between representing our client, adhering to their objectives, actively listening to prospects, and subtly adjusting product messaging based on prospects’ unique situations. The number of potential scenarios is infinite. That said, our focus in training needs to be instilling confidence to handle any situation.