Call Centers – A Misnomer

Demand Creation ‌• August 15, 2013

iStock_000005732899XSmallAs the owner of a business development team in one form or another for the past 10 years, I am continuously looking for ways we can better use the phone in our pursuit of Marketing Qualified Leads. As you can imagine, we’ve tried a lot of different things. Earlier this year, I quietly spent a quick 45 minutes in our call center at the height of what should have been prime calling time. To my surprise, it was very quiet, except that I heard the clacking of keyboards being typed on with vigor. I thought to myself, “Wow, our team is either really thoroughly documenting their last calls or they are having some pretty heated Facebook conversations!” What an idiot I was. The keyboard clatter was a flurry of emails being tailored and sent to those hard to reach prospects who didn’t pick up the phone.

When I asked our call center director why I experienced this phenomenon, he quickly explained that he was testing organizing the call center’s efforts into prime “connect” time slots. I asked for further clarification and he explained that after processing leads that came in overnight and calling prospects with scheduled follow up, our business development representatives focus on email outreach to their list of non-responders where phone dialing has been unsuccessful.

He sited some Harvard research that explained the “Smartphone Phenomenon” that is affecting management at all ranks. Turns out the biggest byproduct of smartphone adoption is not using the phone’s key functionality (phone calls), but rather for checking email at all times of the day and night. The call center director explained that experimentation with highly personalized, short, text-based emails were getting extraordinary response and conversion rates. All those beautiful HTML emails? No dice. They are not easily read on a smartphone and they are almost always seen as what they are–marketing from someone who wants to sell something.

Today, our development team has built automation functionality directly into our DemandPursuit™ platform that takes much of the busywork out of this successful test tactic and has incorporated it into an optimized workflow for our call center–which makes me think “call center” is a bit of a misnomer. In today’s successful lead management call centers there is so much more than calling going on.

Are your telemarketing and inside sales teams leveraging and tracking all available outreach techniques? Do you have a lead management platform that is designed to consolidate all these different contact techniques into coordinated workflows that are tracked and measured so that you can continually optimize your lead response outcomes? Whether you in-source or outsource your calling, these are questions you should be asking.

If you would like to learn more about the best practices in B2B lead response and lead management, techniques, I’d be happy to set you up with a complimentary assessment.

Sam McCue
Inbound Marketing guru, avid fisherman, and all-around backcountry enthusiast.

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