Successful companies know that having an experienced management team is absolutely critical to the success of any campaign. They are the life blood support to the callers. They coach, train, motivate, and control quality and performance standards. Finally they provide ongoing communication and strategy refinements with their clients. Make sure you fully understand a company’s management structure. Proactive communication is crucial to keep you in the loop of activities on your program. Make sure to ask the provider how often and accessible the management staff is at all times.
Obviously caller experience is a critical component for a successful campaign. Maturity and professionalism are key, especially with B2B marketing. Avoid companies that hire young kids to represent your company. There are different levels of caller experience required depending on the complexity and level of difficulty of your campaign. The Company should provide pricing options that directly coincide with caller talent needed for you to be successful.
Physical brick and mortar call centers typically use multiple callers working on multiple campaigns. They typically use predictive dialers that are filled up with several programs and read off of scripts. Avoid using traditional call centers. They may be OK for B2C campaigns, not so much for b2c leads usa The company should offer you the ability to have your own dedicated callers that specialize on your program. However with that said, this option should also coincide with the number of calling hours you commit to. A dedicated agent usually requires 5 hours a day of work. If you choose a smaller block of hours, it is likely that your agent will need to work other programs as well to earn a living.
A reputable company should have a clear and concise on-boarding and implementation process. There should be a clearly defined company structure. You the client should have clear expectations on the daily operations of your program from training, launch, and ongoing operations. The company should not only be able to communicate this to you, but should be able to give you documentation for your reference.
Reputable companies charge between $20-$30hr if they use USA based or Canadian callers. Good companies should have an option for performance based incentives and hybrid plans. The fees you pay a provider should directly coincide with the talent level of caller needed to make your program successful. If you don’t need the cream of the crop because your program is simple and straight forward then you should not have to pay the same rate for that caller. It is understandable to want the best price for your campaign. However, you can bet that the less you pay the company then something has to give for them to still make a profit. It is usually the callers pay and that caller is the one representing your company. You are hiring people, not purchasing tangible goods where price can be haggled. It is important to understand this. Remember your Return on investment is what matters, not what you save upfront. The saying you get what you pay for is more accurate than ever when dealing with people resources.
Although this may sound great to you, you need to be aware of the logistical implications for the company to run such a program. Very few talented callers if any are lining up to work on this basis only. Even if the company can get some, they will generally force leads to get paid and jeopardize the reputation of your company. Turnover is very high and the program usually never gets off the ground. Additionally because of all the many variables such as your value proposition, target market, decision maker title, geographic market, etc. make it very difficult for a company to predict exact results. However, a fair approach to this is to have the company conduct a small performance benchmark pilot on an hourly basis. Upon completion of the initial pilot, the provider should be able to accurately quote you on a per lead basis because they have obtained a true performance benchmark from the metrics achieved during the pilot. This also solves the problem of finding talented callers willing to work your program because they to know what they are able to produce from the pilot. Of course you may also want the option of staying at the fixed hourly fee as most companies will charge a premium for a Pay per result basis if they offer it at all.
In all reality a legitimate company can’t make any true guarantees on results. There are too many variables and market conditions to make such claims. Avoid any company that can magically tell you what you should expect. Sure, reputable companies should be able to give you some ballpark estimates based on their experience, but they should be estimates, NOT guarantees. If a company is guaranteeing you specific results, then more than likely you are guaranteed to lose your money. These companies are looking to make a quick buck with your hard earned money. Run the other way and fast. They will make a chunk of money, destroy their reputation, then go out of business and resurface under a different company name. However, with that said it is certainly reasonable for a company to guarantee you the ability to cancel the program at some point and receive your money back for time not used.
A reputable company should be forthright in giving you realistic expectations. They should not be afraid to tell you what is real and what is smoke and mirrors. Your trust in the company should be at the top of their priority list. B2B Telemarketing works very well, but you must understand it is a process that takes time to develop. Getting through to the right decision maker, sending follow up collateral, following up, etc. If you only commit to a very small amount of hours, then you need to expect a very small amount of results. In our expert opinion, anything less than 40 hours is not a true measure of what the program will do for you. It’s amazing how many times companies will purchase a tiny block of hours, see little or no results and then say telemarketing does not work. You must be realistic and the company you work with should be able to tell you the time commitment needed to properly pilot your specific program.
Beware of any company that makes claims such as double your sales, guarantees results, pushes too hard, or is using some gimmicky sales language on their website or collateral. More than likely this is how they will represent your company. They are probably looking to make quick money by taking yours. Run away and fast! These companies come and go by resurfacing under different names. Don’t be fooled. Check to see how long the company has been operating under one particular name. Reputable companies are focused on the long term success and want your ongoing business.
All reputable companies should provide you with an easy to understand refund policy. Avoid them like the plague if they have no policy in place.
The company should be able to offer you reports that contain all performance metrics not just results. You need to see how many dials per hour they are doing, leads per hour, number of requests for information, emails sent etc. You should never have to pay for reports. The more reputable companies have invested in an online system where you are able to log in and see detailed reports on your campaign. Ask them to show you the system and how it can be customized for your needs.
Folks, this is not the 80’s anymore. Technology has made it very easy for companies to utilize remote callers very effectively. We believe this model is vastly superior to a brick and mortar model. You don’t have to pay for their overhead, such as cubicles, computers, lease fees, telecom, etc. They still need to make a profit so they probably have to pay their callers less. Virtual companies do not have a limited labor pool, therefore they can hand select talented callers from across the USA and Canada. Their callers are much happier and more productive because they are not sitting in traffic commuting to a stuffy boiler room call center. They are not distracted by other callers sitting next to them. Your prospects don’t hear call center noise or predictive dialer delays. They will argue to death to defend their outdated business model because they have way too much overhead invested in it to lose it.
If you are trying to sell your product or service in North America, you should always avoid offshore companies such as those in India or the Philippines. You should always use callers who reside in the country you are selling to. The only exception that has proven to work is USA or Canadians selling into English speaking Countries such us the UK and Australia. Yes, there is no question that offshore companies are cheaper. However, you will almost always be throwing your money down the drain if you choose to hire them. Not to mention the substantial communication barriers you will face.
After the Federal Do Not Call regulations came into existence many traditional call center “boiler room” types had to switch their focus to B2B as they observed B2C business dry up. One day they were setting appointments for home improvements or selling magazine subscriptions and the next day they were calling CEO’s and business owners. How is that possible? The skill sets required for a successful B2B program are completely different than those of the B2C world. Professional B2B service providers understand and embrace the specific skill sets that are necessary in a qualified business level telemarketer. For example, while being able to establish rapport with a decision maker is very significant in business it is even more important to stimulate interest and establish credibility within a short period of time. The company should understands that business acumen needs supplemented by good questioning skills.