Phone calls are among the communication channel that businesses use to connect with their customers, business partners, vendors, and prospects. More often, phones are used to make outbound calls with a view of generating leads for the business. Call agents make calls to promising leads to encourage them to purchase an item or subscribe to a service.
Some of the other reasons why businesses make outbound calls are: to boost brand awareness, check-in with customers, follow-up on recent purchases, or set appoints.
Businesses also use outbound calls to verify accounts, or support customers to achieve their goal through a product or a service they bought. Outbound calls also come in handy when businesses want to remind customers of upcoming renewals and payments or when they need to gather feedback on how customers are experiencing their products or services.
But not all outbound calls yield positive results. However, businesses can enhance the effectiveness of phone outbound calls to generate more sales by developing a strategy. If you are looking to improve your outbound calls, below are some useful tips on how to create a powerful phone call strategy for your business:
1. Set Clear Phone Call Goals
A good phone call strategy starts by setting clear goals. The goals must be realistic. To ensure that you set reasonable goals for your sales or call center agents, involve them in the process. Consider breaking the goals into milestones to facilitate easy monitoring. Essentially, your outbound call goals should be aligned with what you want to achieve through the call center.
For instance, if you want outbound calls to be used for lead generation or customer survey, then set goals that are in line with this purpose. You can always modify your goals and milestones as the business grows or as new factors emerge. Share your goals and milestones with your sales or call center teams. Ensure that they understand and know how to achieve them. This will enable you to see how their individual efforts contribute to those goals and enhance their focus on the job.
2. Identify Clear Phone Call KPIs
After setting clear goals for your call center, you need to identify key performance indicators to enable you to measure the performance of your sales agents or call center representatives. Using a powerful phone system and a platform like Call Cowboy allows you to easily see and customize performance reports, so you know where it’s necessary to make adjustments.
When identifying the indicators, ensure they’re relevant to your goals. For instance, if your goal is to increase sales through the call center, consider using a key performance indicator like sales conversion rate and average handle time. The conversion rate enables you to track the number of sales made in relation to the number of phone calls made. If the conversion rate is low, it could mean that your sales agents are not selling much and that your phone call strategy needs to be reviewed or improved.
On the other hand, the average handle time enables you to keep tabs on the duration of phone calls in relation to the number of calls made. If your sales or call center agents are spending too much time on a single call, it can be an indicator of inadequate product knowledge, poor persuasion skills, or challenges in closing deals.
3. Establish A Criterion For Generating Call Lists
When you decide to make phone calls part of your communication channel, you need to determine how you’re going to reach your target audience. Without targeting the right audience or demographic, outbound calls will not have an impact on your business in terms of generating quality leads and increasing sales. The best way to create a powerful phone call strategy is to develop a criterion for creating an ideal call list.
To do this, work with the sales and marketing team to understand the profiles of the ideal customers that your business targets with its products. Better still, undertake market research to determine the kind of target your business serves. Once you are clear on the kind of target audience you need to focus on, create a call list that your call center agent can use to generate leads and sales.
4. Decide On Outbound Calling Tools
One of the most important aspects of a phone call strategy is deciding which outbound calling tools you’ll use in your business. If you’re targeting local and international customers, getting predictive dialer software is a great way to get started. This will make it easier for your sales or call center agents to place calls right from their computers and quickly take critical call notes.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is another good investment to make. With such software, identifying hot leads and personalizing outbound calls will become much easier for sales and call agents.
You should also consider getting a customizable caller ID to enhance your success rate. With this tool, call agents will be able to reach international clients while displaying local area codes as opposed to international ones. These increases call response rates since the likelihood of people picking local or recognizable numbers is higher compared to those that are random or unknown to them. With these tools, businesses can automate processes and ease the processes of making phone calls and closing deals much faster.
5. Craft A Plan For Call Agent Training
Besides picking a calling software, develop a plan for training your sales and call center teams to enable them to use the software and make outbound phone calls correctly and more effectively. A training plan is necessary because you’ll need to train them and re-train them to enable them to internalize and adopt best practices for outbound calls. Besides knowing how the outbound call software works, there are several other things that your sales or call center agents need to know.
For starters, they need to learn how to hook prospects or customers with a great introduction. Remember that in cold calling, they have a very limited time to connect with a target. If they’re unable to hook the recipient within seconds, they’ll lose the person. This makes introduction an important aspect of call agent training. Ideally, the agents should avoid starting outbound calls with a long description of who they are and the product they’re selling. Instead, they should state a short blurb capturing who they are, then draw the customer or prospect into the conversation. This way, they’re able to engage them better.
The other critical aspect of a call or sales agent training is about asking the right questions. Let’s face it—nobody wants to be lectured on a call. To engage customers or prospects meaningfully, call agents should perfect the art of asking the right questions. Besides training them, you’ll need to invest time in listening to live or recorded calls that your team makes. Review the calls with them, identify ineffective strategies, and give them advice on how to improve. Providing continuous support and training will play a critical role in helping your teams achieve their outbound call goals.
6. Build Synergy With The Marketing Team
A powerful phone call strategy must include clear ways of how the sales or call agents will work with the marketing team. In most businesses, it is the marketing team that has the deepest understanding of the target audience and ideas on how best to sell to them. Even though the sales and call center teams may be aware of the target audience, building synergy between them and the marketing teams will add value to any outbound call efforts, they undertake. For instance, the marketing team will help sales teams or call agents with insights on the best way to appeal to prospects based on their buying or intent behavior.
7. Engagement With Prospects
To convert prospects into customers successfully, call agents and sales reps should learn how to engage them. As such, a powerful phone call strategy should include information or ideas on how call center agents can do this effectively as opposed to dominating the conversation with sales pitches.
Engagement is a key aspect of outbound calls because it helps in capturing the attention of customers or prospects. Sales and call center agents should be able to listen to prospects and pay attention to their concerns, needs, and issues then adapt their pitches in a way that positions their offerings as a solution to those issues. This allows them to customize each phone call to the needs of the prospect and make the products or services that the business offers relevant to the target audience.
8. Honor Phone Call Commitments
When you’re using outbound calls to connect with customers, prospects, vendors, or business partners, you’ll find yourself scheduling calls every now and then. A powerful phone call strategy should include a mechanism for honoring commitments that sales teams or call center agents make with the target audience.
Though it might sound obvious, quite a large number of sales reps who use outbound calls to generate leads to neglect the commitments they make to follow them up, even when their initial phone conversation appeared promising.
Having a phone call strategy ensures that sales and call agents don’t miss out on such opportunities due to disorganization by ensuring that they honor the follow-up commitments. One way to do this is to use customer relationship management to organize their notes and follow prospects up on the day and time promised.
9. Monitor Outbound Calls Outcomes
Monitoring progress is an important aspect of any phone call strategy. You’ll need to monitor the results of sales calls to determine whether you’re achieving your goals or not. To do this, you’ll need to review the responses from the calls and check the performance of individual sales or call agents. The best way to track progress is by using the key performance indicators developed earlier.
An important part of monitoring phone calls is identifying what is working well and what isn’t. This will enable you to amplify the aspects that work well and improve those that don’t. In tracking phone call outcomes, you’ll also need to analyze your costs against the revenue generated to determine the return on investment.
10. Determine The Best Time To Make Phone Calls
As you create a phone call strategy, you’ll need to determine what would be the best time for sales teams or call agents to place outbound calls to customers. Since you’ll be using calls to reach out to prospects or customers either to follow-up on a previous communication, marketing information, or even inform them of an impending payment, timing is critical.
Consider placing business calls with prospects at a time when they’re not too occupied—like in the middle of the week. In terms of time, your teams are better off calling at mid-morning or mid-afternoon as opposed to early morning or evening when they’re occupied with work schedules or commutes.
11. Review Phone Call Interactions
An important aspect of a powerful phone call strategy is reviewing phone interactions. This not only enables you to know what your audience prefers and understand their behavior, but it also gives you a chance to monitor how your employees interact with customers. You can make phone call reviews easier by using call recording software. Reviewing phone call interactions is a great way of gathering valuable insights on different aspects of the services or products that your business offers. With this information, you can find ways to improve your offerings and enhance your customer support.
Creating a phone call strategy for your business is the first step towards ensuring that your call center contributes meaningfully to your bottom line. Depending on what your goal for outbound calls is, a phone call strategy enables you to align your sales and call center teams to work towards that goal by training them, monitoring progress, providing the necessary phone call software among others. When implemented correctly, a phone call strategy will not only enable your target audience to understand your brand, it will also boost conversation rates, increase your sales revenues and grow your business to higher heights.