Outsourcing can take the sales burden off of you, but don't forget that managing the external call center is a job in itself. Each project must have clearly defined objectives, checkpoints and realistic expectations. In the beginning, it's critical to outline certain criteria to help you select the best outbound call center to meet your needs. Start out by inviting various service providers to respond to your Request for Information (RFI). Be clear about the kind of work involved, deadlines, hours of calling, and practical matters such as CRM systems used and support capabilities (online chat, email or simply phone). Once you've done an initial screening, you can send a more detailed Request for Quotation (RFQ) with forecasted call volumes and corresponding results.
As you begin your selection, be sure to ask companies how long they have been in business. This is a competitive, results-driven industry, so the chances are, the longer the call centre has existed, the more satisfied customers they have. Feel free to ask for testimonials and references, too.
How important is specific market knowledge or product expertise to you? In IT, pharmaceutical or insurance sales, for example, salespeople usually require certifications or extensive training. Conversely, media sales might enjoy the benefits of a faster, less complex sales cycle. Your industry will play a role in which type of outbound call center you employ; many specialise in specific fields.
If possible, try to visit to the outbound call center that you'd like to hire. By seeing the facilities, staff, and general working atmosphere, you'll receive valuable insight into their corporate culture, values and procedures. Location might also become a critical factor if you need salespeople who are embedded in the culture of the country they are calling. This is not only useful for establishing rapport, it can also help a salesperson during the presentation or close process. Furthermore, certain countries like Canada are well known for their reliable infrastructure (phone and Internet access, network stability, etc.).
If you are a global company with customers worldwide, you'll probably want an outbound call center that can work around the clock. Many larger call centres will stay open 24-7 in order to accommodate their clients with customers or prospects located around the globe.
Perhaps you can attend the Contact Center Management Conference and Expo held in June in the United States of America. Since so many service providers are under one roof, it's an ideal event to set up meetings, gain information, attend workshops and seminars and network with key industry players. You'll even have the opportunity to take site tours to see call centers firsthand. It is an ideal event for a telemarketer or call centre manager, as well as contact center managers, outbound call center team leaders, telesales experts and customer service department heads.