Humanizing the B2B Telemarketers

According to Mashable, telemarketing is considered among the 10 jobs that could be replaced by machines. And top it off, robocalls are being used to champion this cause.

 

Naturally, many apologists for the B2B telemarketers commonly point out that robo-calls can hardly deliver the quality service demanded in their line of work (e.g. lead generation, appointment setting, prospect nurturing etc). On the other hand, has anyone ever considered how this calls for something else? What about humanizing the telemarketer?

 

Often in a debate of man versus machine, the best argument for man is that man is far more dynamic, creative, social etc. It’s all the things that make up the human element and, yes time and again it has proven irreplaceable.

 

Can this be the case for telemarketers? Yes, BUT (that’s right, there’s a but) we need to first humanize the job of being a B2B telemarketer.

 

Why is this a problem? Because for a long time, that job can be something less than human. Anyone who’s outsourced to a call center is likely to have heard to stories (and a few racist stand-up routines). You have people hitting the auto-dialers all day (or night, if you’re offshoring). Others are stuck just organizing data and testing lead quality. (You’d think you were on a production line and not a call floor.) Even setting a schedule can be a chore.

 

It’s not surprising that publications like Mashable consign B2B telemarketing to the modern Luddite movement.

 

The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to play the activist. What you need is to ensure certain traits are injected into your B2B telemarketers (outsourced or not).

 

#1. People Orientation

 

Your telemarketers should actually believe in what they’re doing. And by that, it means understanding the value of using a phone to acquire potential clients.

 

Joanne Black, an expert on referral selling, emphasizes that people do business with people. It’s not machines (referring to an excess dependence on social media and marketing automation). This should be their maxim. They must understand that human communication trumps robocalling in many areas of the B2B marketing and sales process.

 

For example, handling objections in the B2B sphere can be a lot more complicated given the products/services involved. Many clients and prospects have unique problems and obviously, a recording is hardly the solution.

 

#2. Social Culture

 

There must be a strong social element in your telemarketing team. This is a calling that extends to entire companies (and not just the telemarketing ones mind you). According to management thought leader Tom Peters, businesses attempting a social, more people-oriented, form of communication cannot do so if they don’t exercise it internally.

 

It only makes sense that, if you want your telemarketers to sound human, they need have a human environment. They may be bound to quotas but not bound enough that they forget what it means to talk in a social context 100% of the time. Everything from the call transfers to appointment setting need to give the impression of a real, human organization.

 

Machine calling is purely oblivious. Constantly pressing buttons after an outbound call or referring them to the internet (be it email, website, social media) doesn’t make prospects feel like a B2B customer. It feels more like they’re ordering a pizza after a commercial (when clearly, circumstances are telling them otherwise).

 

#3. Service Orientation

 

No, this isn’t just about putting the customer first. It’s about putting the service (and in a sense, your business) first. Ask yourself, can a machine gauge the value of a particular prospect and put it against company’s resources? Put it simply, is a potential customer worth it?

 

Of course, if your telemarketers can evaluate like this, it doesn’t just ensure a sale or a strong business relationship. It’s to show the world that your business actually comprises of thinking heads. You don’t just jump at every ‘opportunity’ without defining it for your company. They are truly focused on what your service can and cannot provide.

 

And true to popular imagination, machines have always been the ones for blind obedience. On the other hand, allowing your B2B telemarketers to think more independently keep your business from being the slave to the wrong ones.

 

The subject of robocalling vs cold calling isnt’ anything new. However, the debate rarely if ever touches on one concept. If someone’s job could be replaced by a machine, wouldn’t that mean that person was not so different from one? Put some human life back into your telemarketers and you’ll see an improvement that’s better than any upgrade.

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