Telemarketing's Labor Puzzle (1,501 words)
• Lower-level sales application to non-technical target does not require complex knowledge base and can be
completed in one call.
• Application doesn't require high data access or capture.
More complex applications, requiring more highly developed skills from representatives, involve such factors as:
• Sophisticated, high-level decision makers.
• Low awareness of your company.
• No prior relationship exists.
• Prospects must be identified and qualified (you contact them).
•Application requires multiple calls and a lengthy sales cycles.
• Data from disparate sources must be accessed and captured.
The key is in matching the application's required skills to the available labor pool and offering a level of compensation and work environment that will attract and keep those recruits who are likely to perform consistently over time.
IDENTIFYING PHONE TALENT
A good rule of thumb is to match the communication ability and experience base of your phone representatives to that of your target market. Of these two factors, communication ability (and the ability to absorb information quickly and retain and communicate it accurately) is much more important than actual experience.
Here's a sales application example. Applicant A illustrates great sales skills, is computer literate and savvy (knows the jargon) and hangs out with programmers who are deeply technical, though he is not himself a technician. Applicant B has the same experience and technical skills as the programmers in your target market. B is more analytical and reserved and approaches the sales process as a technical problem to be solved. Nine times out of 10, applicant A will outsell B, who would be more comfortable in a technical support or problem-solving environment (and could act as an excellent post-sale resource, after A has closed the deal).
Clearly identifying the phone talent required for your application is the first step in succeeding in a tight labor market. If you have an existing call center with ongoing programs, start by profiling your top performers to find similar recruits. If possible, investigate the many pre-employment assessment tools on the market that have proven successful in telephone intensive environments. If this option is not financially viable, do a less formal assessment: If you had to clone your best reps, what would the clones sound like during telephone screening? What kind of background, education, experience and skills would they have? What would their interests, hobbies or affiliations be? What goals would they have for the future? Why would they work (to support a single-parent family or buy extra gifts for the holidays)? It may surprise you to find that your top performers are not carbon copies of each other, but they do have things in common: why they have chosen this job, what keeps them striving and some basic core values.