Choosing the right lead generation call center for your business can be complicated. There are so many options to consider. If you’re going to be outsourcing your telemarketing to a call center, here are six key points to keep in mind.
You Get What You Pay For
With outsourced lead generation telemarketing, there are two options – hire a call center in North America, or pick one offshore (i.e. India, Philippines, etc.). Offshore call centers cost less than North American ones, but the offshore call centers may not be familiar with North American cultural nuances, which could lead to awkward stumbles in conversation. One such notable incident where an offshore call center agent immediately asked a woman who said she had recently had a car accident if her car was alright, instead of asking if she was. This response was culturally inappropriate for North America and came across as insensitive to the woman on the other end of the phone. Negative interactions will stand out more in a customer’s mind than positive ones, so you can’t afford to make those kinds of mistakes.
Throw Out the Scripts
To script or not to script, that is the question. When it comes to lead generation there is some value in having a script, but you can’t have call center agents always relying on what’s written in front of them. In countries where English isn’t the first language, call center agents will rely on scripts almost exclusively. While this method can work for certain types of sales, such as Business to Consumer, ultimately you need the agents able to engage clients in a business conversation. For example, call center agents at OnPath usually only use a 15 to 30 second script with the remainder of the call progressing naturally as agents navigate the murky waters of business conversations in order to better connect with clients and create a relationship, rather than just reading off a sheet of paper. If agents rely too heavily on scripts, they can come off as robotic and lacking knowledge. Another unfortunate side-effect of using scripts is that agents tend not to do as much research in advance about the company they’re going to be representing. The bottom line is people want to speak to people, not to robots.
Not Everyone is a Customer
“Every brand isn’t for everybody, and everybody isn’t for every brand” – Liz Lange.
Call centers come with their own specializations. Not all call centers have the skill sets or training to weed out the “tire kickers” or people who don’t have the budget to purchase your products and services. For example, in addition to simply talking to prospective guests, Event Recruitment representatives need to be trained to screen out people who wouldn’t be eligible to your event. If you are hosting an exclusive 100 person event for VPs and C-Suite level executives with a cost of $500 – $2000 to attend, you don’t want to find out that over half of your attendees are not qualified or have the wrong titles. You need to make sure the call center can weed out the “tire kickers” and deliver the right attendees.
More Leads Doesn’t Mean Better Leads
Pay-per-performance can often generate more leads. The question is: are those leads the qualified leads you want? A good way to know if you should hire a pay-per-performance call center versus pay-per-hour call center is the product you are selling. If you have a low value product (less than $10 000 per customer), like directory advertising or software subscription renewals, your best option is pay-per-performance – you’ll get a bigger bang for your buck. However, if you have a high value complex product, you’re going to want to go with pay-per-hour because an hourly call center will spend more time researching and have longer conversations, making more explicit, detailed notes on more qualified leads. In fact, when you choose pay-per-hour, your lead quality goes through the roof. You may feel that going with pay-per-performance will give you more value, but when compared side by side with pay-per-hour on an hourly basis, pay per performance costs on average 20 – 50% more for the same qualified lead.
Americans Aren’t Canadians, Eh?
Even in countries where English is the first language, there are still the possibilities of cultural gaps when calling into another English speaking country. It’s much easier for Canadian call centers to call into America than it is for American call centers to call into Canada. This is especially true if you are trying to market to Quebec. Canadians are better at speaking French than their American counterparts. An added bonus in choosing a Canadian call center is the difference in value between the dollar and exchange rate.
Not All Call Centers Want Your Business
While this may seem obvious, it is most easily overlooked when considering call centers. Most outsourced telemarketing call centers are specialized. You need to find the call center to best fit your needs and your business. This starts with understanding the call center and their business. Some call centers focus on Business to Consumer (B2C). Some call centers specialize in inbound calling. Other call centers (like OnPath) specialize in outbound, Business to Business (B2B) calling. In addition, some call centers don’t mind taking on small campaigns with a $5000 budget whereas others will run a minimum 12 week campaign for a $20 000 – 40 000 budget. Some call centers only work with companies of certain sizes and/or certain annual revenues. For example, OnPath only deals with companies with 200+ employees and/or $35 million+ in annual revenue. Finally, not all call centers work in the same markets, with some specializing in certain types of sales, such as technology or telecommunications. No matter what call center best suits your needs, a good call center will tell you up front if they’ve had success in your market or selling similar products.
Article by Dana Stephenson, summer marketing and communications intern at OnPath. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
OnPath is an award-winning B2B lead generation company. Since our early beginnings in 1993, we now have over 120 employees. We’re a one stop shop full-service B2B specialist that understands the complexities of selling to businesses. Some of our clients include Google, Yellow Pages, IBM and American Express. We’re also a certified consulting partner for Salesforce.com. We support most of our customers in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. If global brands trust us to meet their lead generation requirements, perhaps we should talk about your needs.