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Thursday, 31 July 2014 00:00

How to Create a World-Class B2B Call Center

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A marketing manager, Susan, was doing a stellar job with her online and offline marketing campaigns, generating leads by the bucketful. As soon as she received them, she passed them over to the sales manager to distribute among the sales force, expecting to receive praise and thanks for her outstanding efforts.

But she heard nothing. Complete silence.

Eventually, she stormed into the sales manager’s office and asked, “What’s going on? Aren’t the sales people happy with the leads? Why aren’t they out there closing the deals?” 

The sales manager looked across his desk and explained regretfully that the salesforce didn’t want “leads,” they wanted “qualified leads.” Susan responded that there had to be some qualified leads in the piles of leads she had sent. “Yes,” said the sales manager. “I’m sure there were, but the sales force doesn’t sort through leads to find the golden nuggets. If a few are not qualified, they’re considered unqualified just by association.”

It was then that Susan realized she needed a call center, filled with associates who love to ferret out good from bad leads, nurture those that wanted to buy but weren’t ready yet, and set appointments. She knew these associates could also make cold calls to reach people who weren’t opening her direct mail or finding the company online. They could recruit channel partners, profile accounts and generally fill in the gaps in her marketing program.

But how should she go about it? Here are the steps Susan (and you) can take to create a world-class call center.

  1. Define Your Destination
  2. You want to start with your mission, vision and goals. Perhaps, you’re interested in inside sales. Maybe you want to focus on business development. Or, it’s possible you need both these functions.

    Also, it’s important to lay out how leads will flow through the organization, from marketing to the call center and then on to sales.

    Knowing upfront your end goals and how you plan to manage leads is important because it will affect how you design the organization and employee responsibilities. 

  3. Hire Right

    It takes someone with unique background and skills to survive and thrive in a B2B call center.

    If you’re doing it right, your agents aren’t reading word for word from a script. They are asking questions and responding intelligently to high-level decision makers. So, they have to be educated, intelligent and good listeners. In addition, they need to be persistent and able to bounce back from the rejection that comes with the job. And to keep up with the daily workload, they need to be organized and detail-oriented.

    To bring the right people onboard, who can make or break your success, you’ll need to survey the competition and offer a competitive compensation plan and a pleasant working environment.

  4. Bring Out the Best in People

    Even if you’ve hired the best, a sink or swim environment isn’t going to work. Everyone can improve their skills with regular feedback on their listening and presentation skills, their voice intonation, and how their personal metrics compare with others in the department. And if you’ve hired the right people, they’ll be happy for the feedback — they’ll accept any advice that could lead them to greater success.

  5. Processes and Systems
  6. To get the best results, you need to support excellent agents with world-class processes and systems that make your call center run like clockwork. You need to integrate your marketing automation with your CRM system. Optimize your CRM system for the tasks at hand — prospecting, tele-nurturing, lead qualification and more. Ensure you have the reporting in place to measure results. Provide the agents with resources they can use to look up companies and contact information. Finally, put in place a good phone system that provides you with the reporting and functionality needed for a world-class call center.

There are, of course, a lot of details involved in getting it right. If you’re ready to start a call center or jumpstart your current call center’s results, call us at +1 718-709-0900 (US) or +39 08 978446 60 (EMEA) or contact us online to learn how we can help you create a world-class call center.