The telemarketing landscape has changed so much from the days of the black rotary phone and yellow phone directory pages to the outbound call center era and mass telephone listings. One thing’s for sure—some of the most remarkable sales rallies were achieved by teams of telemarketing staff relentlessly dialing those phone numbers and engaging potential customers.
So much for that nearly superhuman achievement, but things are about to go through a massive shift again in the world of telemarketing. One of the innovations in telemarketing, which has been around for several years now is the autodialer. This technology is quite popular among organizations for remote dialing operations because of the need to make sure their dialers are not used for other purposes aside from telemarketing campaigns.
Telemarketing in an automated world
With the advent of automation in all sorts of business operations and the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, the use of automation technology in telemarketing is changing the industry even more. Here are a few things you can do to stay on top of the telemarketing field in 2021.
1. Don’t sound like a telemarketer
Yes, you read that right. The first thing you have to know to become an effective telemarketer is not to sound like a typical telemarketer. Be spontaneous and warm, if appropriate. Use everyday words, not jargon.
The call recipient has most likely received similar dozens, if not hundreds of sales calls. Spiels are very common, so try to be different. Try to sound like you really want to connect with the person you’re calling.
2. Use mass texting
Another innovation you can employ to create mass awareness about your marketing campaign is the mass text app. Although mass texting has been around for quite some time now, most of it was done through phone subscription arrangements with telephone carrier companies. The mass texting app takes telemarketing to the next level because everything is now done through an app that sends out your messages to target recipients.
Incorporating empathy into telemarketing engages the prospects and conveys an image of an organization that’s genuinely interested in helping meet the clients’ needs through the solution presented by the product or service you’re offering. Mass texting, in a nutshell, disseminates basic information about your product or campaign.
3. Stay ahead of regulatory compliances
There are current laws and regulations on the telecommunications industry that can affect telemarketing operations. And new and upcoming ones get added each year. Call centers and telemarketers need to be actively aware of the impact and of these rules and regulations.
These regulations are not just for big companies, since these can affect anyone in the business of contacting consumers. Thus, telemarketing and call center operations need to be more careful and think about how their operations can avoid fines and lawsuits by staying compliant with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
4. Work around call blocking
One of the biggest challenges for telemarketers is the difficulty in getting potential customers to pick up the phone. Several factors contribute to this challenge, and the most common one is that phone carriers can now configure their systems to block calls based on certain algorithms. Also, some consumers download 3rd party apps that can block calls or report specific numbers as spam.
A procedural change that can affect telemarketing operations is a standard framework called Secure Telephone Identity Revisited/Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information using toKENs (STIR/SHAKEN). There’s no easy way to go around this obstacle. If your call center is not prepared for this change, then it could negatively impact and even potentially devastate your operational ability to effectively contact leads. You can work around this through smarter outreach strategies and effective management of Dialer IDs based on call volume and geography.
5. Leverage reliable data and analysis
The best telemarketing operations don’t just make phone calls and then close sales calls based on simple questions and basic information. The smartest telemarketing teams also ensure that their database consists of reliable data. The data fed to your dialers have to be verified and vetted if you want to get the best results from your dialing operations.
Reliable data is also critical for efficiency. This is why telemarketing managers need a dialer to provide flexibility in real-time and historical reporting. To be able to improve the Return-on-Investment (ROI), dialer managers need to be able to track the right call center Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), with detailed reports so they can optimize lead generation and track agent performance.
6. Integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI)
It’s been quite a while now since predictive dialers and AI technology tools were introduced to the call center industry. Presently, more and more telemarketing operations are adapting and actively employing AI to become more effective in engaging with their potential customers. With data flooding, AI also plays a pivotal role in giving you a competitive edge.
One of the key advantages of AI is its ability to sift through mountains of data and pre-qualify, sort, and farm out your leads. Even though people prefer to talk to live human agents, AI can radically streamline your inbound operations by simply sorting out leads and sending them to agents they’re familiar with. For outbound operations, AI can arm your telemarketers with more focused information about the potential customer.
7. Provide support for remote teams
The ongoing global pandemic has only hastened what was already a steady shift towards offsite work and remote collaboration. Because of the need to stay connected, telemarketers are learning to apply the first advantage provided by telemarketing— connecting agents to prospects through distance communications technology. More are shifting to remote collaboration arrangements.
Due to the need for call centers to stay on top of their operations through effective monitoring of their agents and teams, they are also starting to realize the need for internal communication and collaboration platforms and tools more suited to remote work and collaborative projects.
For instance, they’re realizing the need for technology that can support what used to be done through face-to-face team meetings, side-by-side (SBS) call monitoring, peer interaction and support, supervisor calls, and one-on-one engagement with leaders.
8. Study your analytics
One of the advantages of digital telemarketing is that phone calls are recorded. Phone calls are then listened to by a team of Quality Analysts (QAs) who go over the calls to find out if the telemarketing agent followed the spiels, best practices, as well as upselling tips given by the trainers and team leads. It’s also an opportunity to find gaps in call handling and identify missed opportunities and areas for improvement.
Taken together, all the phone recordings collated and reviewed by the quality assurance team consist of calls, data, figures, and statistics. All of these data can prove to be very useful if the management can sift through the massive information to learn more about their prospects, know their usual complaints, and study effective ways to overcome the resistance to sales or offers.
This is where analytics comes in. The best telemarketing teams would study the analytics of all the data available to predict the behavior of their prospects. They utilize all the strong analytics tools to make sense of the information, and how to move forward with their telemarketing campaigns and operations.
9. Train agents how to handle objections
Another thing you should do to improve the performance of your telemarketing operations is to train your agents some ways of handling objections. Objections are very common in sales calls. This is especially true in telemarketing since it’s easier to say no or hang up the phone.
Train your agents to embrace objections as part of the selling process. Objections will always be present in calls. Some people will definitely say no to what you’re selling, some even impolitely. You can teach your agents to work out the possible objections and prepare answers ahead as far as practicable, based on the key advantages and best features of the product or service offered. This way, they wouldn’t be surprised when a prospect objects.
10. Plan your operations
Plan your operations way ahead of time. Don’t just randomly assign prospects to your teams. Once you’ve sifted through the database, instructed your quality assurance team to review the call handling skills of your teams, studied analytics, and trained your agents on how to handle objections and follow through with upselling—then you also have to plan how to go forward with your operations.
You shouldn’t randomly farm out the prospects to your teams. Farm them out based on the call handling skills of your agents and the predicted behavior of the prospects. Use the data from your analytics to predict the typical objections based on the prospect’s profile and train your agents on how to overcome these specific objections using persuasive language.
Staying ahead of telemarketing
There are various ways of staying ahead in the telemarketing industry even with the technological and regulatory changes in the past several years. You can do so by following the given tips.
These tips will help streamline your operations and allow your team to engage with the clients smoothly. You can also read more on the current telemarketing techniques and update yourself with the latest trends.