Critical Factors in Outbound Lead Generation Success, Part 2: Messaging
November 29, 2018
By: Marilyn Soares
Words are powerful. The right words spoken by a skilled contact center agent are not only powerful but persuasive as well. And in an industry where relatively low conversion rates may be considered a “good day,” the words used in a message (the call script or call guide) can make the difference between a closed sale and a prospective customer hanging up.
Most contact centers use call guides, for good reason: They help reduce errors, nurture consistency, develop agent confidence, decrease training time, and boost performance and customer satisfaction.
If using call guides is part of your outbound lead generation and sales process, follow these six guidelines to improve message quality and achieve greater success.
1. Ensure the Message Resonates with Prospects
Program managers responsible for the message contained in the script must ensure it resonates with prospective customers. Messaging is not a set it and forget it proposition, after all. The agent is competing for the prospect’s time, so you must pay attention to scripts the agents present.
There are a couple of ways to identify whether a script is working:
Listen to phone calls in monitoring and calibration sessions. The key here is not to listen just to the agent’s delivery but the message itself. Are you connecting with the customer? Are you addressing their needs?
Analyze call results. Every time an agent makes a phone call, they should code it with the outcome that best reflects the reason the person did not buy. Get granular with the disposition and try to understand why the prospect is saying no. Is the product or service too expensive, not what the person needs, or is there another reason? Knowing the specific reason could uncover a script improvement.
2. Understand the Importance of the First 15-30 Seconds
The agent’s ability to connect with a prospect in the first 15-30 seconds (the most critical part of the call) cannot be understated, particularly as it pertains to outbound sales where removing any language or cultural barriers is essential. Having a script to rely on can tip the scales in their favor.
Another reason to understand the importance of the 15-30 second time frame regards drop-offs. Do prospects end the call in the first 10-15 seconds or longer, three to four minutes for example? Knowing this will help you determine what part of the script you can change in those first few seconds to keep the person on the line.
3. Test Messaging and Offers
Test the messaging and offers using metadata, when available, to ensure you get the best delivery — whether it’s recognizing you called the prospect three months ago and wanted to check back or use the data on file to customize your presentation.
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4. Conduct a Needs Assessment
Conducting a needs assessment during the call helps the agent understand the prospect’s pain points, needs, and wants.
As with any problem, customer pain points are as varied as the prospects themselves. Not all will be aware of the pain point they’re experiencing, so it’s up to the agent to bring it clearly into view.
One of the best ways to learn prospects’ pain points, needs, and wants is by listening. At Transparent BPO, we train agents to actively listen to what the prospect is saying and then ask insightful follow-up questions. The more our agents know about the prospect’s problems, the more likely they will be able to make a sale.
5. Tailor the Offer to the Prospect
Tailor the offers or value propositions based on what you know about prospects regarding demographics, psychographics, and other segmenting data.
You can tailor the sales approach based on demographics such as gender, maturity level, or the presence of children in the household. Psychographic tailoring could include such factors as lifestyle, values, social class, and personality.
For example, we tailor the approach for a nutraceuticals and supplements client to the ailment, which agents uncover in the needs assessment or through previous indicators in the lead file.
6. Train Agent on Soft Skills
It’s vital that you train agents on soft skills, to help them better engage and have a meaningful conversation with prospective customers.
Merely reciting a script can be a turnoff and take away from the value your product or service may bring to the consumer. Reinforce the behaviors that will lead to greater success and a better customer (and agent) experience. Professionalism always, whether when “closing a sale” or handling rejection, is essential.
Soft skills training should also include equipping agents with the ability to go off-script or deviate from the call guide. While some points must be verbatim, you also want the agent to have the freedom to interject his or her personality and speak from experience, knowledge, or personal testimonial.
Agents are the front line of your contact center, and your success is firmly in their grasp. It’s vital, therefore, that you provide them with the best call guide tool (and training) possible to ensure they not only represent your company well but also achieve a high level of lead generation and sales success.
Editor’s note: This post is the second installment in a 3-part series addressing factors that contribute to outbound lead generation and customer acquisition success. Part one outlined the role agents play. Part three, which deals with the contact strategy, concludes the series and will be published soon.