In difficult economic times, ramping up sales in the call center can provide another outlet to help companies meet sales quotas and drive sales effectiveness. We've gathered these five tips for companies looking to improve call center sales and train call center agents to become more effective as sales professionals.
personalized selling -- According to CRM experts Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, personalized selling is one of the most important aspects of almost any business career. When dealing directly with customers, Peppers and Rogers recommend doing simple things like remembering people's names and understanding their points of view and feelings. This will go a long way towards building customer trust and making a sale.
2. Have call center sales incentives in place -- You may already have incentives in place for your sales teams, but it's just as important to have sales incentives for call center agents who are selling your products or services. However, the incentives that will motivate your sales staff differ from what will motivate your call center agents. Customer service representatives are more likely to be motivated by the feeling of having helped someone, and aren't usually as competitive as sales reps. Sales expert Liz Roche recommends focusing on non-variable compensation with some achievement-based compensation mixed in.
3. Provide call center sales training -- Call center agents who weren't originally hired to sell often feel nervous about selling, so it's important to provide sales training in the call center. According to call center expert Donna Fluss, agents are more likely to be motivated to sell if they have been trained on the best ways to sell products. Fluss says a sales training course for call center agents should explain:
- How to recognize a sales opportunity
- How to move from a customer service interaction to a sales interaction
- How to overcome customer objections
Once training is finished, Fluss recommends coaching call center agents with direct feedback on a consistent basis.
4. Incorporate peer training and coaching -- Call center agents often learn best by following the lead of an outstanding performer. Have new agents sit in on calls with a successful call center agent so they can learn methods to keep customers interested and achieve successful close rates. Sharing the best practices of successful call center agents can also be helpful for new agents just getting started or agents who are having trouble making sales.
5. Use the right call center sales metrics -- If your call center agents are selling, it's important to evaluate the metrics your call center is measuring and make sure they encourage agents to meet business goals. For example, in a sales-driven call center, a customer service representative may take fewer calls, but those calls may have higher sales value. In this situation, expert Lori Bocklund recommends using performance-based metrics instead of volume-based metrics to measure your call center's success.
For more sales tips, visit our sales strategy and effectiveness topic section
This was first published in June 2009