So you want the team of people who ususally deal with all the inbound calls into the company to become more proactive? To make some sales calls? To drum up some new business for you?

Turning inbound phone teams into outbound teams is something we’re asked about increasingly these days. It fits the climate. You’re paying your team to sit there, but they are taking less calls than they used to. And they’re used to talking to customers after all aren’t they? However recognise that this transition is not as easy as it might first appear.

Recognising that change isn’t always easy for your team

Often the individuals don’t want to do it. “That’s not what you employed me to do” they protest. Furthermore the skills needed to be good at dealing with incoming calls are not the same as those necessary to make outgoing calls. Oh no. The skills you need to grab someone’s attention and motivate them to want to listen are not the same as how to be nice to someone when they phone in.

We can help with this (other training companies are available!) but it is important that you plan and manage this process carefully and with considerable skill. The old analogy about square pegs and round holes springs to mind. In the meantime, consider the following ;

  1. Talk to your team members about it – Explain the reasons why this must be done. Sell your ideas hard. Be prepared to counsel them. They may fight hard against doing it. They may well have great fear about it. Don’t be surprised.
  2. Consider how to use the human resources you have. Will you offer it to some of them? Will they all have to do it? Can they earn more by being successful? Or would you rather offer team rewards?
  3. Measure, monitor and motivate. The 3Ms are most important here. It is crucial that that you have good metrics for this activity. Our telemetrics system does this for you, for a few hundred pounds. Right sales plug over! You need to know how many calls are being made and each individual’s performance profile. If there is resistance to doing this work and you don’t monitor activity rates, team members may see they can get away with not doing it, and you’ll have started a race to the bottom.
  4. Broadcast good news. You will proably need to be extra supportive for a while at least. Celebrate good news.
  5. Targeting is key. Decide who you will call and invest time in this. Maybe you want them to start with current customers, maybe then moving on to lapsed customers (those who haven’t bought for 12 months say), followed by some bought in lists for closely targeted market sectors. Don’t drop them in at the deep end making a lot of ‘random’ cold calls. The futility of it will rapidly wear them down.
  6. Time and effort spent setting it up correctly will reap huge rewards, in comparison with the alternative.
  7. Invest in training for them. The skills needed to create interest on the phone, to get prospects to open up and to sell benefits are likely to be very different to what they normally do. It is important to recognise this. Consider if you put your marketing team in charge of the accounts department and vice versa!

If you can talk to other businesses that have made similar transitions and learn about the pitfalls before making them yourself!

And if you want to chat to someone who helps companies make such changes within their team, talk to Andrew Seaward on 01858 461148 (other not quite so good training companies are available of course!)

We help organisations turn successful inbound teams into effective outbound teams across the East Midlands and West Midlands. We’ve worked with client teams for over 12 years in Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham, Derby, Coventry, Birmingham, Solihull, Lichfield, Milton Keynes, Wellingborough, Northampton, Kettering, Corby, Leamington Spa, Kenilworth, Warwick, Cambridge, Newmarket, St. Ives, as well as wider parts of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Warwickshire.

originally posted 13th Feb 2012