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5 tips for inside sales calls amid the coronavirus outbreak

How we’re responding and advising our B2B and medtech clients

Chris Temperante
Chris Temperante
CEO / Partner

Your business travel plans may be on hold, and your spring tradeshow cancelled, but no one’s adjusting your sales and revenue goals for the quarter. For most B2B and medtech marketing and sales professionals, business goes on—even if it’s far from “business as usual.”

With the coronavirus outbreak upending many workplace routines, it’s smart to assess your lead generation strategy in this new context. While there’s no such thing as an “epidemic-proof” plan, there are ways to keep your medtech and B2B lead generation efforts on track.

Communicate regularly and proactively

First and foremost, think carefully before cancelling or reducing your inside sales calls or outbound marketing efforts. In times of uncertainty, clear and proactive communication is one of the most powerful tools that B2B and medtech marketers can leverage.

It’s also likely that just as you want to minimize the economic and human impact to your business, so do your healthcare and B2B customers. Keeping prospects moving through the funnel and customers informed are two ways to do this.

Will anyone answer the phone? As a professional outbound call center, we hear that question regularly. The answer is a resounding yes. Outbound calling generates measurable results, even with hard-to-reach decision-makers, executives and senior buyers.

Remote staff will answer their phones

It’s true that more companies are empowering staff to work from home. But, that doesn’t mean no one’s answering their phones. More workers than ever use VoIP and other sophisticated technology that untethers an employee’s phone from a physical desk at the office. Mobile phones are also common for business purposes. We continue active calling every day for a number of leading brands, with positive responses.

Brand perception is a final concern during stressful times. Should we even be making sales or prospecting calls? In most instances, your regular sales pitch will work as usual, although sales cycles may be slower in the short term.

You can set the right tone for your sales prospecting calls by focusing on relationships rather than hard-selling techniques. After all, the best inside sales calls are two-way conversations, not one-sided monologues or script-reading. Asking the right questions and listening to your potential buyer’s challenges will show your concern and simultaneously gather important insights to fuel your lead generation efforts.

 

Woman with face protective mask calling phone

5 tips for inside sales calls during the coronavirus outbreak

At Volkart May, our contact center provides outbound calling services for many leading brands. In 2019 alone, we made 1.1 million calls to 466,000 companies around the world. Every day, we talk to decision-makers, from maintenance directors at schools and small business owners to pharmacy vice presidents at hospitals—and everyone in between.

Here are the best practices we’re sharing with our clients and following at our own B2B and medtech contact center:

1. Continue (or start) calling

In times of uncertainty, communication is key. If you have an outbound calling campaign in place, keep it going so you can engage with your prospects and customers. If event or travel cancellations are disrupting your plans, a dedicated calling campaign can help you fill the gap and maintain your momentum in the market.

2. Monitor your metrics

This is always important for managing caller productivity and campaign results, but doubly so during rapidly changing conditions. Fortunately, outbound calling is flexible and scalable, so you can react rapidly and adjust your messaging, list or call timing if needed. Reach rates are particularly important to track.

3. Use a “hurricane” approach

When severe weather threatens a geographic area and business decision-makers might be distracted, we temporarily switch to another market segment. The same strategy applies during the coronavirus outbreak. If certain cities, states or countries are particularly hard hit, rotate your resources to call other locations.

4. Allow more time

If you have important news, an aggressive lead generation goal or a deadline-oriented project, factor in as much lead time as possible, and be prepared with a “plan B” option. Business decision-making is likely to be slower in the short-term, as companies adjust to conditions outside the norm.

5. Leave voicemail messages

Too often, busy sales people skip this step. However, the right voicemail can be a powerful tool in a lead generation or appointment-setting campaign. Even if you plan to call back, it creates another touchpoint to build brand awareness and strengthen your relationship.

Look beyond the immediate crisis

Lastly, keep in mind the eventual return to normalcy, or what we call the “bounceback.” The more you can look beyond immediate conditions, the stronger your plans will be. Preparing now to scale up your lead generation activities in the coming weeks or months will pay off in a faster, easier process.

Is a contact center right for your business? Connect with us to learn more, listen to calls and discuss your needs.

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