COVID-19 has caused whole companies to switch to a work from home model, which of course includes the sales and marketing departments. At Volkart May, we’ve made a similar pivot. Our experienced B2B and medtech callers can now work remotely, as well as in our professional contact center.
We know firsthand that working virtually can be a challenge. Callers can feel isolated and unmotivated. They may lack adequate support or equipment. Managers can struggle with maintaining performance standards and measuring call effectiveness. Leadership may even wonder if it’s worth the investment to do calls remotely. (Hint: It is!)
Here are a few things we’ve learned that will make remote calling for B2B lead generation and inside sales successful:
Invest in quality equipment
A lead generation call is often a prospect’s first interaction with your company. That makes professional equipment and high quality sound essential for a strong first impression of your brand. Always use good headsets and microphones; never do speakerphone calls. Your connection should always be clear and free of static.
At Volkart May, remote callers use identical equipment to our contact center’s setup, including high quality, professional headsets and auto-dialing software to maximize productivity. Dual monitors also help callers work efficiently—one shows the call that is in progress, contact information and call guide, while the other can be used to schedule appointments, ask questions to supervisors with online chat or reference background information on the campaign.
Background noise will distract both the caller and your B2B customer or healthcare prospect. When making calls, find a quiet, distraction-free room that has a door. Make sure the room is as soundproof as possible and minimize ambient background noise. At home, for example, turn off the television (even in another room) and make sure there is no music playing in the background. Put your cell phone on silent and adjust your computer’s settings so alerts do not interrupt with sounds.
Remote callers need performance metrics just like the in-house lead generation or inside sales team. These numbers help callers stay on track and give sales managers objective tools to measure activity. Set hourly, daily, weekly and monthly goals, then identify regular check-ins to review progress with callers. Keep in mind any lead generation goals during the COVID-19 pandemic shouldn’t be the same as those set when it was “business as usual.” Reach rates and conversions will likely be lower in the short-term.
Digital recordings can be a valuable tool to assess caller performance and keep outbound callers motivated. Sharing a positive call with the entire team helps others learn and recognizes strong performers. Listening to less successful calls helps managers coach less experienced staff on different techniques. You can also share the recordings with stakeholders across the organization. They’re particularly effective when passing sales-ready leads to field reps.
Track real-time progress
One of the benefits of using a calling platform is that it enables you to track real-time progress. These platforms make it seamless to manage onsite and remote callers. At any point in time, supervisors can see which callers and campaigns are active, call durations and each caller’s metrics. This makes it easy to step in and provide support when needed with a quick call or online chat—the same as you would in an onsite call center setting.
Share feedback quickly
Working from home, especially in the current environment, brings a range of challenges. One of the greatest—even for the most extroverted personalities—is isolation. This means that a negative call can weigh down a caller’s attitude more than normal, while a great call may seem less effective with no one to celebrate with. To mitigate these issues, share feedback with callers immediately, and in more frequent increments than in a traditional office environment. Fast feedback will address any problems that may occur, while also providing positive reinforcement. Most of all, it strengthens your team culture and helps remote sales professionals stay connected. Even quick, two-minute check-in calls are beneficial.
Working virtually doesn’t mean sacrificing communication and team camaraderie. Collaboration is just as essential for remote callers as it is for those in the office. Video meeting software and online chat platforms let callers reach out easily to supervisors or peers with questions or ideas. It’s also good practice to maintain regular team meetings to share tips and reinforce best practices. At Volkart May, we go a step further and pair newer callers with more experienced mentors who provide one-on-one support.
As your virtual reps make outbound calls to medtech and B2B prospects, where are you storing those phone numbers, contact details and data collected on your lead generation and appointment-setting calls? Don’t trust a regular laptop or public internet connection. Be sure to invest in a VPN or other network security that will protect your critical information both onsite and through remote access. Leverage secure cloud storage rather than individual hard drives. Customer and prospect data are far too valuable to leave vulnerable to a potential data breach or even a mishap with a laptop and the morning cup of coffee.
Compromise on bandwidth
Internet speeds can vary widely between homes, offices and different regions of the country. Before your remote employees start calling, conduct an internet speed check to make sure there’s appropriate bandwidth. This is essential, especially for VoIP calls. Slow connectivity can compromise call quality and leave a poor impression of your brand.
Forget to celebrate
Most inside sales and lead generation teams have a system of rewards and incentives. Just because workers are making calls from home doesn’t mean these milestones no longer apply. These incentives motivate employees and should continue. At Volkart May, we leverage both formal performance rewards and informal contests so there’s constant variety and different ways of motivating employees. With remote workers and the current environment, consider new perks that are accessible online or via home delivery.
Ignore caller insights
Just because remote workers are out of sight doesn’t mean they should be out of mind. Keep in regular contact with your call team. Firsthand insights are essential, especially when your company is new to remote calling. Ask your callers what they’re hearing and experiencing, such as where they’re finding success or seeing the need for tweaks. Whether it’s a new step in your process or an enhancement to the call script, this input is incredibly valuable. Listening and learning from callers can help you improve results and keep staff invested and motivated.
Need help with lead generation and appointment-setting for B2B and medtech markets? We can help with professional callers who’re equipped for remote and onsite work. Contact us to learn more about our outbound calling services.