Successful businesses build their call centers on a foundation of talent, technology, and training.
Employing competent sales talent and providing them with proper training will set your company up for success. Productive and efficient teams also have access to the right technology. Automated utilities, such as auto dialer software for call centers, help keep your team on track to hit your sales goals.
Finally, to understand what works and what doesn’t, your sales team heavily relies on analytics. That’s why it’s an absolute must to optimize this segment of your call center and provide your sales reps with accurate insights about their performance.
Today’s post is a refresher on some of the “common sense” call center tips — the things managers often take for granted that most sales representatives know — coupled with technology and analytics.
- Practical Call Center Tips for Inside Sales Professionals
- Call Center Tools That Will Boost Your Sales Reps’ Productivity
- Optimize Your Call Center Analytics and Reporting
- Step 1: Implement a Smart Sales CRM Software
- Step 2: Monitor Calls in Real-Time and Review Recordings for Quality Assurance
- Step 3: Run Reports to Get Insight into Your Sales Pipeline
- Step 4: Analyze Patterns and Create a Strategy for Improvement
- Step 5: Train and Monitor to Create a First-Class Sales Team
Practical Call Center Tips for Inside Sales Professionals
Let’s review some useful inside sales techniques that your call center agents can use to move prospects and leads closer to a purchase decision. You’re probably familiar with many of these, but a few may be new to you.
Call center tips for the team
- Smile when speaking. The contact should feel like the caller is happy to talk with them. A smile really does shine through in your voice.
- Speak more slowly. When people are nervous, their cadence tends to speed up. Encourage your team to slow down to make their speech sound more natural.
- Allow for a moment of silence after making a statement or finishing the pitch. That second or two carries a lot of power.
- Use the prospect’s name. It personalizes the call and builds familiarity with the prospect.
- Use verbal cues like “yes” and “uh-huh” to let the contact know you’re paying attention.
- Repeat prospect’s words or phrases to show understanding.
- Empathize with the contact to build trust and rapport.
- Set up a clean workspace free of distractions and clutter. This will help you stay focused on the objective of selling.
- Adapt your behavior to the situation. Not every prospect is the same, which is why a one-size-fits-all approach is doomed to failure. Learn how to pick up changes in prospects’ tone, attitude, and wording, and adjust your behavior accordingly. For example, if a potential customer is busy and in a rush, making your pitch concise and to the point will help you capture their attention and listen to you.
- Anticipate your customers’ needs. This is a crucial part of being a successful salesperson. Being one step ahead of your prospects means having the ability to read them, understand their fears and insecurities, and offer them the right solution. To do this, you need to have all the relevant information about every prospect in one place and easily accessible.
Call center tips for managers
- Provide your team with sales software that has minimal distractions (bells and whistles you don’t need or use). Most CRM solutions provide too many features that confuse or distract callers. VanillaSoft limits distractions and facilitates more productive and efficient sales calls.
- Monitor and review sales calls for needed improvements. Management can do this for the team, but consider giving your sales reps the option to do this on their own too.
- Role-play with your agents to help them perfect their pitch. Get sales reps to practice together regularly, also.
- Encourage your team to read blogs, articles, and books about sales success every chance they get. You can even send out a daily or weekly email with content to fuel their learning and provide some motivation.
- Train your team on social selling tactics for relationship building. Simply reviewing a contact’s social accounts before a call can reveal a common interest or hobby that they can use to connect with them.
- Help your sales agents be more confident. Every rep on your sales team needs to know the product or service they’re selling inside out. Train your sales team thoroughly and explain what every single feature does and how exactly prospects can benefit from using your solution. Also, keep them in the loop about all the new features.
- Use job shadowing. The best way to get your new agents up to speed is by getting them to spend some time with seasoned reps at work. That’s how they will learn a few useful tricks and skills critical to their job, thus becoming more prepared to take over their call center tasks.
Call Center Etiquette Tips
The first few seconds of a call set the tone for the entire conversation. Your call center agents need to convey the right message about the company and set the tone immediately.
If your sales representative had an in-person meeting, you would want them to have a professional appearance and be courteous; ensure that your reps carry this mentality over into their calls.
Here are a few ground rules your team should follow when on a call. Some should be common sense, but it never hurts to put it in writing.
- Address the prospect as Mr. or Ms. _____ unless they say otherwise.
- When placing someone on hold, tell them why and provide an expected hold time.
- Express gratitude for their patience when returning from a hold.
- If a call has to be transferred to someone else, the agent should explain why and let them know who they will be speaking with next.
- No eating, smoking, or gum-chewing on a call. This should be something that goes without saying, but it’s pretty important to emphasize it every time.
- Ensure that your reps are competent and prepared. Prospects will see the time spent on the call as wasted if the caller is ill-prepared, leading to an immediate loss of a chance of a sale.
- Consistency is key. Every caller should portray the same company message and persona.
- At the end of the call, the caller should open up the conversation for any other questions and then reiterate the next step in the sales process. Allowing prospects another chance to speak will communicate a sense of caring beyond presenting the pitch and rushing to get off of the phone.
- Never interrupt prospects, and let them hang up first. They may have another question, and if the rep hangs up first, prospects will be cut off mid-sentence.
Call Center Tools That Will Boost Your Sales Reps’ Productivity
Technology that makes a salesperson’s job easier is one of the best investments a business can make.
By providing your team with the proper tools, you give your reps more time to do what you hired them for – to make as many quality sales calls as possible. Here are three features VanillaSoft offers to make your sales team more productive and efficient.
Auto Dialer – The auto-dial feature keeps your salespeople on track and on the phone as much as possible. With both progressive (the next best contact is dialed automatically) and preview/click-to-call (caller can review contact info before initiating the next call) dialing, these features increase call volume by 35%-100%.
Voice Drop – This feature frees up time for your inside sales team. Instead of sitting through a voicemail prompt and then taking 30 seconds or more to leave a message, voice drop allows the caller to queue up a pre-recorded voicemail and move on to the next call.
Logical Branch Scripting – Keep your messaging consistent by providing your callers with a winning script. As the conversation progresses, logical branch scripting reflects the prospect’s responses and where they are in the buying cycle.
In addition to saving time and energy for the salesperson, VanillaSoft allows management to easily monitor their team’s efforts and the status of leads.
Optimize Your Call Center Analytics and Reporting
Imagine a call system so sophisticated that it frees your time to concentrate on improving performance instead of spending hours manually collecting and gathering data to analyze.
We’re talking about a system that lets you know what’s going on at each stage of the sales cycle to help increase close ratios.
Well, this can be a reality with our five-step rehab program to reform your call center. Build a first-class inside sales team by optimizing your team’s analytics and reporting.
Step 1: Implement a Smart Sales CRM Software
One of the secrets to optimizing your sales team’s performance is to implement a smart sales CRM software that enables you to access an infinite stream of data about leads and performance.
A sophisticated sales CRM software is highly effective in collecting and reporting on data for lead management analytics, reporting, and quality assurance, giving managers a new level of insight about day-to-day activities to transform operations and increase closing ratios.
VanillaSoft offers state-of-the-art technology to record, monitor, and track the status of every lead.
Each time a sales rep makes a call, VanillaSoft creates a record for later review.
Step 2: Monitor Calls in Real-Time and Review Recordings for Quality Assurance
To ensure that salespeople remain true to the key messages in your base script and your company’s value proposition, managers need to record, track and monitor calls.
This provides them with crucial data needed to evaluate what’s working well and what’s an epic fail.
It could be the sales rep’s performance, script, lead source, call queue, etc. Monitoring and recording calls is a fantastic opportunity to get a more realistic view of the way a lead behaves throughout its lifecycle, interactions during the sales call, and customer responses.
Instead of guessing what’s going on, you can hear it for yourself.
You can easily monitor calls in real time with a comprehensive call-activity dashboard. Your sales CRM software should enable you to see real-time calling statistics for each campaign and user, broken down by lead source, result group, or call result.
VanillaSoft’s intelligent call-recording feature enables managers to eavesdrop on live calls as well as access and listen to existing recordings from any computer or mobile device with Internet access.
It connects each recording with the contact record. In addition, you can look up recordings by contact name, date, salesperson, or call result.
By monitoring what callers say during interactions, managers can easily identify problems within their teams, maintain quality standards and compliance, improve the customer experience, and increase overall call-center performance.
Step 3: Run Reports to Get Insight into Your Sales Pipeline
Since it is usually not possible for managers to listen to and evaluate every sales call, especially for larger inside sales teams, running a report is the best option to get insight into what’s going on overall.
While call monitoring and recording lets you know what’s going on with some sales reps, a report identifies team trends and lets you investigate what you’ve discovered in more detail.
So after recording and monitoring enough calls to see a pattern, you can run a report to determine whether it is reflective throughout your team.
VanillaSoft lets you can run a variety of reports in seconds:
- A breakdown of sales results by lead source, salesperson, campaign, or team
- Pipeline report to know where leads currently are in the process
- Any leads past due in the system
- And more!
Step 4: Analyze Patterns and Create a Strategy for Improvement
After you run reports, track and analyze which patterns in your inside sales team need improvement and which successful ones should be implemented throughout the group.
You can generate reports on everything, from which time of day is optimal for closing deals to the weekly close rate for a campaign or team.
Take these insights and create a strategy to increase sales.
Develop a relevant, actionable plan to help your team sell more.
You may need to change call times, modify your sales pitch, or focus on getting more qualified leads. For example, maybe sales reps who use one part of your script more often than others have a higher close ratio. In this case, you will want to ensure that all sales reps use that part of the script on relevant sales calls moving forward.
This multiplies successful performance that once was only practiced by a few to every sales rep on your team. Changes like these empower your inside sales team to maximize sales.
Step 5: Train and Monitor to Create a First-Class Sales Team
In general, it is harder for sales reps to change old sales habits to new ones than to learn new sales techniques from the start.
In other words, it’s harder to teach an “old dog” new tricks, so to speak.
When you establish your new sales procedures, train sales reps on the new process to connect your sales training to the needs and priorities you’ve discovered when developing your strategy.
Create learning principles and takeaways that are highly relevant to the obstacles faced when dealing with different leads on day-to-day calls.
To ensure that all sales reps are comfortable with the new procedures, explain how the procedures will improve performance and increase sales. Give details about the changes.
For example, instead of mentioning that you want more quality interactions, define what constitutes “quality” and the subcategories being scored.
Monitor call activity on a regular basis and have sales reps practice them in mock call training sessions. Next, review call activity and recordings to determine whether the new procedures are being followed, and if necessary, set up review sessions to ensure compliance.
Working in sales in a call center can be difficult without the face-to-face interaction that sales reps out in the field get.
However, following the tips and techniques listed above, using the right tools (like auto dialer software), and having the analytics in place, can make it easier for your team to close more deals.
Do you have any methods or tips that work for your sales reps that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below.