In this article, leading sales expert Andy Preston explains the problems of outsourcing your cold calling, and what to watch out for if you’re determined to outsource….
Recently I’ve been asked by a number of small and micro business owners how best they should outsource their cold calling. Their thinking behind doing this is normally one for of three reasons
Not a great reason, but they have the fact that they would have to do it themselves and therefore are looking to avoid it! This is normally a terrible reason to do it!
They’re thinking of outsourcing because they’re concerned or that they’d have to get their one of their team to do it, who isn’t a ‘natural salesperson’, and isn’t looking forward to the prospect of doing it either. This isn’t a great reason to do it.
There may well be one of, or a combination on the 2 above reasons here. Either way, at the moment the ‘sales call’ issue (or lack of them) has become a problem in the business and by outsourcing it, they think they’re getting rid of the problem! This isn’t a great reason either.
Here’s my main point. If you ARE going to do it (and there are reasons why you should, and reasons why you shouldn’t) then you need to take one of my phrases on board right now.
This is a statement that will hit some of you like a brick. It’s meant to.
Many small business owners are far too quick to outsource their cold calling or sales calls just to get rid of the ‘problem’ of making the calls themselves, or giving them to a colleague who doesn’t really want to do them. Just because it’s ‘easy’ to outsource the calls, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right decision!
However, if you ARE going to outsource the calls, here are some things to think about…..
Is the person you’re outsourcing your calling to going to work from their business premises? Their home? Your business premises? Your home?
How are you going to handle call costs? CRM access? Managing them?
How does their sales call fit into your sales process?
In other words, what is the outcome of the call? Is it a meeting? A conference call? A web demonstration? How is it moving the sales process forward? What is the next step after that – you don’t want lots of pointless meetings!
Percentage of sale basis? Payment per hour? Payment per appointment? All these 3 methods have their benefits and pitfalls, and will affect the type of outsourcer you should go for!
A typical example I see often is a small business owner tries to convince someone to do their calls for them and expects the person to do it for just a percentage if the business owner makes a sale from that appointment!!
That rarely works, if ever!
Yes, that’s right! I did say ‘manage’ them. Even if you’re outsourcing you calls to a company, you still need to manage the organisation and the person making the calls!
In addition to that, what do you consider ‘underperformance?’ Do the outsourced organisation and/or the individual have the same perceptions? What are your expectations of success on this project? Have they been clearly communicated to all parties involved?
Are they someone you’ve known for a while? Or just someone employed by a telemarketing organisation you’re talking to?
What’s this person’s reputation? Their experience? Their knowledge of your market sector and the people they’ll be calling? How much do they know about you and your company? What do other people say about them and their work?
What training are you giving the person? If they’re from an outsourced company, they may well so some sales training in-house – but it will only be delivered by their manager (not an experienced trainer) and if they’re an individual they probably haven’t done any for ages – not a good sign!
What training are you planning to give them on YOUR products and services?
In other words, where are they going to get their prospects from? Do you have a list of prospects on your CRM system or database that you want them to contact? Are you going to purchase some data to give them some leads to work on?
Have you arranged access to your CRM system for the person to use? Is the system able to generate the reports that you want?
Are they using their own data? Have you got unlimited rights to contact the data in future?
If you can only cope with a certain number of additional appointments per week, it might not make sense to employ someone on a full time basis. Perhaps someone in that role one day a week, or one day per fortnight might be sufficient?
If they’re starting to make more appointments for you than you can cope with (and the quality is good) then perhaps it’s time to spend more time on sales, or hire a full-time salesperson to make the calls and do the appointments for you?
Don’t forget, as I mentioned previously that YOU still need to be responsible for this process. And as an old manager said to me many years ago ‘you can’t manage what you don’t understand’.
What’s your experience with making sales calls and cold calls? Is it enough to support and direct an outsourcer that’s not delivering the results you want? Or are you just going to ‘blame’ that company for not delivering and kiss goodbye to your investment in them?
Follow the tips above and you’ll avoid most of the problems involved with outsourcing your calls.
This article is copyright Andy Preston 2010. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.