Even in the age of Google, e-mail and social media, telesales remains one of the most effective ways of communicating with prospective customers and making the most out of sales leads. While recruiting the right people to make the calls is important, a robust system for keeping track of progress and activity is vital to achieve success. Here Darren Frostick, Director of Leading Edge Market Solutions – a company that supplies information to clients in the removals, office fit-out and telecoms industries about companies planning to relocate – gives his advice on how to keep track of your telesales campaign.
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First of all I want to stress that this isn’t intended to encourage you to dash out and buy lots of expensive high-tech kit, it’s more an overview of what you may find useful to help you keep your finger on the pulse of your telesales operations. I’ve assumed that you will be operating on a fairly small scale, with either one person or a small team of two or three people.
Telesales is very much a numbers game so it’s important to keep track of how many calls your people are making and incorporate the data as part of your overall KPIs. To do this you’ll need some sort of call monitoring software that will allow you to record things such as the call rate of each operator, the duration of the call and the follow-up action required. The type of telephone system you use will, to a large extent, dictate the kind of system you need.
A traditional PBX system will require software to allow you to monitor calls and there are a number of companies offering this type of product with varying degrees of complexity and sophistication to suit differing needs. Prices range from around £250 to about £1,000 and it’s important to look carefully at what information you really need to record and not to go for a system with too many bells and whistles that you’ll never use.
If you’re using a modern internet VoIP telephone system it will often come with a monitoring platform as part of the package. If not, your service provider will probably be able to bolt-on what you need for a modest installation fee and a slightly increased monthly charge.
Recording calls can be helpful if you need to look back at a call to verify information and is also useful for training purposes. However, this is an area where the Data Protection Act comes into play and there are strict rules about how it may be used. The Act only allows you to record conversations without consent in certain circumstances, such as to provide evidence of a business transaction. In most cases you will need to inform the person you’re calling that the conversation is being recorded; this could be problematical when cold calling a customer and may make it more difficult to win their trust. There is more information about recording calls on the Regulator’s website – www.ofcom.org.uk – and it’s worth checking before deciding on your recording policy to avoid difficulties later on.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems
If you already have a CRM system such as ACT or Sales Force, your telesales people can use it to manage their calls and avoid you having to invest in a specialised system.
Make sure you have columns showing last call, call back, and comments. This will enable you to monitor what is going on easily. Most CRM systems are based around a spreadsheet format and therefore if you decide to update at a later date or buy data from a third party, you should be able to merge the information straight into your CRM system.
A CRM system will generally give you options such as call back reminders which can be very helpful. You can also have more than one user accessing and editing at a time and with cloud-based systems you can access the data from anywhere with an Internet connection, which is useful if your people are working from home.
Telesales is still one of the most effective ways of following up leads and generating new business, but to be successful you need to get organised and approach it in a systematic way. I hope the above will help you make the most of your sales opportunities.
Good hunting, Darren Frostick.