While talking about a Telemarketing Software, the “telecalling” function is the main focus. However, the additional functions are equally important. For example, if your process needs extensive CRM, does your software function as an outbound call center CRM software? In reality, these other features actually simplify outbound calling , make it more effective and help the entire telemarketing process to achieve its objectives for the business.
For example, a leading requirement for an agent is to have maximum possible information about the prospect. These include relevant demographic details (name, location, contact details, age, income, etc.) and psychographic details as needed (attitudes, interests, opinions, likes, dislikes etc.). For follow-up calls, the call-history must be easily available so that the agent is informed and makes the best possible follow-up call or pitch.
This information is best captured and used through a CRM function. Therefore, the quality of a telemarketing software depends on not only the quality and ease of the telecalling that it provides but also other inbuilt benefits that it offers. Just as CRM functionality is a much needed feature in enhancing the value of a telemarketing software, there are others as well.
Here are 6 tips on what to look for:
1) Data Management
Data that your agents call on is a critical part of the entire telecalling and telemarketing process. Ease of upload, automatic de-duplication, error elimination, ease of updating and naming columns/headings of data fields makes it easy to quickly and efficiently upload data – often, vast amounts – so that they are easily available for the next step.
The software must allow you to easily synchronize data as well. This is important because once data are in the system and calling on it has begun, there can be updates from various points of the business process.
Step1: Telecaller calls prospect and updates a prospect’s new office address while setting up an appointment for her Sales Agent.
Step2: Sales Agent attends the meeting and updates that the Prospect has asked for a detailed meeting with senior Tech Team members and the Director of Sales.
Step3: Telecaller calls back to organize that meeting in the following week.
Step4: Sales Agent updates a second time by changing the date & time of the meeting as advised by the Client.
Step5: Sales Agent updates the outcome of the second meeting based on its outcome.
The process described above (typically) has many updates from various sources before it is finally closed one way or the other. The software must have the capability to incorporate different unique points of a business process and also have an interface that is easy to use.
Integrate different sources of data inputted into the system: Clients use many different ways to generate data, leads and potential customers such as purchasing databases, subscribing to various data and lead generators (e.g. local yellow pages), Google promotions and paid searches, promotions via Facebook, Linked In etc. The software must be suitably enabled so that it can be integrated with these multiple sources of input and viewed by the Agent via the standardized interface.
2) Call Recording & Supervision
Easy & real-time access to call recordings serve many purposes: the Manager can review the call recordings as part of Quality Control to ensure the agent says the correct things e.g. the type of sales pitch being made, the way customer service calls are made (etc.).He can use earlier recordings in training sessions as examples, both, good and those that need improvement.
3) Real-Time Reports
A Manager must have a holistic view of the entire process so that he can measure, analyze, improve and control the entire process. For this, reports with relevant metrics are of utmost importance. Average time per call, Average no. of calls per day, Average no. of calls per hour, Conversion of calls made through to sales, No. of people that agreed to pay up on pending EMIs (etc.) are key benchmarks for a Manager to monitor the process.
4) Automation for efficiency
Automating as many tasks as possible, especially those that are repeatable and can be standardized, increases the efficiency of a telemarketing software. It also eliminates errors, expedites the time taken to complete a call, record its details and increases productivity.
5) Dropdown buttons, Dispositions & Remarks capture
While automation certainly speeds up a process, not all parts of a process can – or should – be completely automated. In addition its automated parts, a software must be equipped with drop-down buttons to capture call results faster and make it easier for an agent to manage a call.
With customized dispositions that use industry terminology to capture call results, it is faster & easier for agents to capture the responses of a prospect and also respond accordingly.
For example: when a Recovery Agent calls a prospect regarding pending dues, the amount and date on which the prospect Promises-to-Pay (PTP) are important data points. Dropdown buttons that record this with ease help in recording the outcome quickly and allow the agent to move to the next call.
For example: Agents can send emails & text messages per prospect requirements. They can also conduct customer research by using pre-loaded templates.
Standardized responses also help Managers to gain insight from the reports. For example: The Manager could decide that all prospects across all campaigns with the disposition “Somewhat Interested – Call back” will be called back the second time by only the most experienced Telecallers.
6) Seamless Co-Ordination with Sales:
It is a huge plus if the telemarketing software is seamlessly integrated with the Field Agents and Sales teams i.e. after fixing an appointment for the Field Executive, the software must have the functionality to allow the telecaller to easily tag/insert the details of the meeting in the daily schedule of the Field Executive. The Manager, on his part, must be able to see the entire workflow in real-time as it progresses through to closure.
Case Study: Mr. Kumar, Owner, Health & Wellness Clinic
Mr. Kumar runs a rapidly growing Health & Wellness Clinic across 12 cities in India. They use outbound calling for Sales, Customer Service, Accounts Receivable, Renewals, Cross Sell, Upsell and to promote ongoing offers. They also deploy Field Executives to collect payments and related documents.
Problem: While the business continued to grow rapidly, Mr. Sharma realized there existed a lot of inefficiency in the activities mentioned above.
Was the sales pitch the correct one? Was it effective enough? Was the ROI on his telecalling sufficient?
He knew that his Renewal Team was not doing an effective job and his renewal business was not enough. That was particularly worrisome: losing customers at renewal when, in fact, not only should they have been renewing but also becoming more profitable customers.
That is when he decided to go online and search for the “best telemarketing software”.
Action: After receiving an online demo, Mr. Sharma immediately signed up for 25 telecallers and 40 Field Agent users. (His team had 75 telecallers and 100 Field Agents). The vendor organized a few online training sessions to help the users understand the entire range and functionality of the software. Being an easy-to-use product, the users became adept at it within a few days.
The Call Reports showed that many telecallers were not making sufficient calls per day.
In other cases, daily call numbers were padded up to 60% of the Daily Call Targets by rushing through calls in the last hour of the day. Most calls were marked “Unavailable” or “Ringing: call back”.
Reports also showed that conversion rates for calls more than 180 seconds were not high enough. Further investigation by listening to Call Recordings revealed that the sales pitch needed improvement. The internal process of keeping different centers informed about various ongoing promotional offers also needed improvement since most telecallers were unaware of the available offers in their locations.
Mr. Sharma and his Team also realized that many prospects that gave appointments were not followed through properly due to miscommunication between telecallers, Field Agents and Managers. This resulted in a huge loss of potential revenue.
Result: Due to the insights gained by Mr. Sharma through the Call Recordings and Call Reports, he was able to take corrective action. As a result, telecallers are now put through regular training sessions, kept informed about the latest products and offers available and the errant employees pulled up. There is seamless co-ordination between the telecallers and the Field Agents, with his Managers receiving real-time updates on the daily schedule of the Field Agents.
Revenue and productivity has increased, employees are updated with the latest developments and the entire process has become transparent and efficient.
Within the first 45 days of usage, Mr. Sharma signed up additional licenses for the rest of his telecallers and Field Agents.
Mr. Sharma’s efforts in searching for and selecting the best telemarketing software for himself, based on his requirements, was suitably rewarded.