To ensure that inside sales people and contact center agents engaging in outbound sales work hit all the relevant points in the sales process, many companies still use scripts. On paper, it makes sense: By telling an agent or salesperson what to say, a company can ensure that the most important information and selling points are shared up front. The problem is that there is a mountain of evidence that scripts simply don’t work. Nobody likes talking to a robot, and the proactive customers of today are different from the passive customers of decades ago.
Outbound sales personnel need many skills. They need to be good with people. They need to understand the product or service they are selling. And they need to understand their target audience.
They also need to have a plethora of information regarding how to overcome objections, and they need to be able to research more in-depth information should the customer require it.
While they need all these skills, they also need to know how to deliver it in a natural, conversational way.
The sales process is more likely to succeed if it feels personalized to the customer, and a script gives the opposite impression. Customers hang up feeling like they’ve had a one-size-fits-all pitch hurled at them.
Agents should be trained to listen to customers and tailor a pitch to their needs rather than reading off a check list. A responsive, customized pitch – which can only come from being a good listener – is more likely to draw and keep a potential customer.
Speaking of the personalized approach, once upon a time, before even television, marketing was done in magazine and newspaper advertisements and door-to-door-sales. Carpet cleaners knocked on the doors of people before they even knew whether those people had carpets in their homes. Magazine sales were skimmed by a lot of eyeballs before they found a pair that might even be interested in a product. Business-to-business sales teams showed up on the doorstep of companies they knew little about and hoped for the best.
That was then and this is now. Today, we have about 10,000 ways to target advertising to people, particularly in the B2B world, thanks to the Internet and mobile marketing as well as more old-fashioned channels such as the telephone.
Companies are able to ensure they are making contact with the right customers before any telephone call is made or e-mail is sent. This benefits the sales person, but it also benefits the person being targeted, according to a recent article by Matt Ford on Business2Community.
“From a prospect perspective, targeted marketing actually offers them a chance to live in their own little world (whether they know it or not),” writes Ford. “They’ll only get the content that they’d like to read/listen/watch. They get to choose what gets their interest, and what really gets them buying. This isn’t just for ads. In the B2B context, excellent targeting means content that is only directly related to a prospect’s job, their industry, and keeps them focused on the work at hand.”
Just as with Internet news, we can view only what interests us and with social media we can customize what we read about our friends, properly targeted marketing allows companies to personally “world build” for prospects and provide them with precisely what they need and want. (The tricky part, of course, is determining what they need and want, but social media can go a long way toward that.)
“A prospect that is eager and open for your solution/services/products is easier to work with,” notes Ford. “It’s simple logic really. Why would you want the world surrounding your business to include customers who are unhappy, unsatisfied, or undesirable? Targeting saves you the drama of dealing with difficult prospects and keeps your resources spent only on the ones who are worth serving.”
Using lead generation solutions coupled with CRM and an outbound telemarketing process, you can ensure that your team’s efforts are spent contacting the best possible prospects at the best possible time. By improving both the speed of calling and the quality of the leads, the average sales organization can double or even triple its current efforts.
Tracey E. Schelmetic is a contributor to CustomerZone360, the TMCnet online channel related to CUSTOMER magazine.
Edited by Maurice Nagle