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7 Biggest TeleSales Mistakes Nearly Every Business Makes

Maximizing the potential of your human resources and technology is key to increasing productivity, profits, and achieving success in your business. One of the tools available to every business...

Written By: Mitchell Goozé
Correcting The Mistakes Increases Your Likelihood Of Success
Maximizing the potential of your human resources and technology is key to increasing productivity, profits, and achieving success in your business. One of the tools available to every business is the telephone. But having this tool and using it effectively are two entirely different matters. This paper increases your awareness of the difficulties companies encounter when considering such a strategy, and how to improve your chance of implementing a successful Telesales program within Demand Fulfillment.

1. It Looks Easy . . . Too Easy

We're so familiar with the ubiquitous telephone that we assume implementing a TeleSales function is easy. Not true. Frequently we hear, "ll just hire some people at $10.00 per hour, sit them down in cubicles with telephones and a list of leads, and we're in business. How hard can it be?"

Setting up a TeleSales function requires every bit as much, if not more planning than setting up a direct sales force. You must determine:

1. Where you are

2. Exactly where you want to be

3. What it will take to get there

This process requires a balanced mixture of human resources, telecommunications, technology, and technique.

You then have to think through how telephone based professionals can help you get there. It becomes mandatory that you under-stand and map your sales process and your customer's buying process. Finally, you have to consider how to integrate these steps.

2. Lack of Commitment

A TeleSales operation will fail without senior management's total commitment. Sales, marketing, accounting, shipping and receiving . . . all departments must buy into the program. Each function must provide resources for the operation to succeed. Additionally, clear management goals and priorities are required during the launch effort, as well as through the first months of implementation.

Too many TeleSales functions are started . . . reluctantly . . . with an expectation that they're going to fail. And these expectations are then met.

3. Insufficient Support

A successful TeleSales function must be integrated into the overall Customer Production plan. TeleSales requires feedback from Customer/Solution Definition to know Who the target customers are and What they want to buy.

In other words, a well thought out lead generation and lead qualification program is needed. You must use Demand Management such as direct mail, advertising, public relations, trade shows, and other activities to supply a steady stream of suspects and prospects to the TeleSales representatives. It also means testing, testing, and more testing to determine what works and what doesn't. Half-hearted efforts yield poor results . . . if not complete failure.

4. Unrealistic Expectations

Expecting instant results . . . once someone sits down at a telephone . . . is also a common mistake. By now, you know that implementing a successful TeleSales function requires thorough planning, top management commitment, and adequate resources.

It also requires sufficient time to become truly productive . . . and the actual time varies from company to company. Your ramp-up period will likely take several months to complete. Don't give up too soon!

A rule of thumb in measuring any production process . . . including the process of manufacturing customers . . . mandates a minimum of two production cycles to determine feedback and changes needed for improvement. With a TeleSales program, this means about twice the average buying cycle's for your customers.

5. Staffing Mistakes

TeleSales representatives don't necessarily have to look great . . . but they do have to sound great! Smiles in voices, tenacity, excellent listening and communications skills, a mature attitude toward rejection are only a few of the many attributes necessary for success on the telephone.

Don't hire anyone who hasn't already spent time on the phone, and don't hire anyone who isn't in it for the long haul.

6. Insufficient Investment

Hiring the right people is only step one in your human resources investment.

There are companies who may hire the right people, but make the mistake of not training and/or compen-sating them adequately. Lack of training equals burnout. Lack of adequate compen-sation equals lack of motivation . . . or the wrong people. Lack of both equals failure! Hire the right people, invest in honing their skills, and pay them for performance.

Another mistake companies make is skimping on facilities. Spaciousness, good lighting, privacy, adequate ventilation, neutral colors, quality equipment and noise elimination go a long way toward the comfort and productivity of TeleSales representatives.

7. Inadequate Measurement and Analysis

Measuring and analyzing performance data are critical factors in determining what works and what doesn't. You must respond quickly and efficiently to today's changing markets. Careful measurement and insightful analysis are key to accomplishing this responsiveness. Personal computers, and off-the-shelf software allow you to implement sophisticated systems efficiently.

Final Thoughts

TeleSales, done well, can be a valuable adjunct to your Demand Fulfillment process. This is not the same as tele-soliciting, but rather is a technique for allowing trained sales professionals to be more efficient in the use of technology to assist in your sales process. Keep an open mind and don't make the mistakes discussed in this paper and you'll be on your way to profitable results.

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