How to create successful outbound call campaigns

Despite the growth of inbound marketing strategies, outbound calling campaigns remain a strong and widely implemented sales tactic used across a number of businesses. With today’s consumers being bombarded with emails (both genuine and junk mail) on a daily, if not hourly, basis, a personalised call from a business can often be welcomed. Here are some tips to ensure your outbound calls are successful:

1) Script or freestyle?

Whether scripts should be relied upon or not when making sales or outbound calls is a widely debated topic in this industry. The more experienced an agent is the less likely they are to rely on a script, however that is not to say that scripts are in no way beneficial. Call scripts are often viewed as rigid one-way conversations, constructed with the sole purpose of closing a sale, leaving the person at the other end of the line to assume the call agent is just one of the thousands of callers they’ve already heard from. In order to move away from this opinion, outbound campaigns should incorporate an open call script which allows them to build on a naturally flowing conversation, thus establishing a level of trust and familiarity with the recipient. Loose scripts can provide key pointers for agents, ensuring that unique selling points have been mentioned and the call has met its purpose. However, it is vital to remember that regardless of the purpose of the outbound call, agents should never rely entirely on a script, as this will lead to very disinterested recipients.

2) Who are you calling?

When creating outbound campaigns targeting prospective customers it is important to first collect call data and analyse who it is you wish to call. If companies first obtain relevant information on their targets, they can aim their campaigns in a much more sophisticated and unique way. It isn’t enough to think of prospective customers in terms of industry and location without also considering who they are and why they would wish to use your product or service. It is vital to ensure that call agents have the information they require to make sales by first completing the necessary research and data collection.

3) Train your call agents

In order to ensure that call agents are performing to the best of their ability and fulfilling their roles, it is key that they first understand what they are trying to achieve and how they can set out to do so. This is possible through thorough training, monitoring and rewards schemes for when targets are met. It is vital to create a training program to put all agents through prior to the launch of your campaign. Utilise technology available, such as previous call recordings, to your advantage by giving constructive criticism to agents. Businesses can also carry out group activities such as call role play where instant-feedback is possible. If the call agents can identify the key factors which are necessary for a successful call, for example tone of voice and patience, then they are more likely to perform well. Agent preparation is crucial and individuals need to be ready to deal with any situation they might encounter, including sales objections and difficult prospective customers who aren’t happy to receive your calls.

4) How will you measure success?

It is impossible to know if your outbound call campaign is successful without first establishing some level of monitoring and measurement for success. This will need be set up and planned as early as possible, as it is important to understand how many conversions are required from a campaign before being able to consider it a success. The use of appropriate metrics and key performance indicators is vital and campaign managers must have a clear understanding of that they need to measure in order to recognise agent and overall campaign performance. Common KPIs for outbound call campaigns include agent schedule adherence, average handle time, and conversion rate.