What does optimal cooperation between field sales and telemarketing look like? Is it still possible today?

In this article, you will learn about the nine important conditions for telemarketing and field sales to work together optimally.

The following conditions for good cooperation apply to external telemarketing agencies, freelancers in the field, and internal departments alike.

But now to some structural explanations:

Structure Setup Telemarketing and Sales in Companies

Dedicated telemarketing departments or inside sales staff within internal departments can perform structural setup telemarketing and sales for a few hours every day. It is also worth mentioning that cold calling by phone is now only allowed in the B2B area. The B2C area is so severely restricted that it is no longer possible to cold call. The German Federal Network Agency now imposes six-figure fines for violations.

Sales representatives can be roughly divided into two groups; Employees who are strong in cold calling (hunters) and employees who are strong in long-term customer care and maintenance (farmers).

The latter are far more common and – to put it bluntly – more important for the success of most companies. Most companies generate the majority of their sales and earnings from existing long-term customer relationships. Only a few sales representatives are really strong in both areas.

Still, every company should consistently acquire a certain amount of new customers, especially if it wants to grow and increase its market share. But even otherwise, customers will always churn, either by the customer closing its doors or by customers moving on to the competition. You can detect and counteract the migration of customers to the competition at an early stage using appropriate AI systems, but you can never prevent it 100%.

So, you need new customer acquisition and also cold calling.

New Customer Acquisition and Cold Calling

Rarely will you see a sales representative today visiting a company he happened to see in an industrial area without a prior appointment. As a general rule, an attempt has to be made to arrange an appointment by a telephone call.

Cold calling by phone is the part that most farmers find the hardest, and for which they are actually too expensive to do. Therefore, it makes sense to delegate this task to an appropriate agency, freelancer or the inside sales team.

With a previously fixed appointment with a potential new customer, most farmers also get along well with the acquisition of new customers.

Many times, one encounters the attitude, “What could be so difficult about calling a few companies and setting up an appointment?”.

Just try it out for a few hours. You will change your mind very quickly.

At first glance, telemarketing is expensive. But on closer inspection, there is no faster and cheaper way to acquire new customers in B2B settings. However, in order to make telephone canvassing successful and cost-effective, there are some prerequisites that need to be taken into account.

Nine Prerequisites for Successful Telephone Acquisition

1. Training
The relevant employees (call agents) should be trained in conversation management, conversation techniques, questioning techniques, and objection handling. Product training is also mandatory. Training should take place regularly, especially product training.

2. Working Hours
A call agent should not spend more than 4 hours a day on telephone canvassing. If it is the inside sales’ own employees, they can do other activities before or after that.

3. Call Guide (Script)
A script should be developed together with the inside sales team. This contains the introduction to the conversation (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elevator_Pitch), the conversation with the secretary, and the objection handling or answers for queries. This script should not be memorized but should serve as a guide. Nothing is worse than a rattled memorized text. The script should also “live,” i.e., be revised regularly to incorporate lessons learned.

4. Contact with the Field Service
Call agents and field staff should know each other personally and should also exchange information with each other on a regular basis. Feedback from the field service is important for the call agent to improve. In the case of an external agency, it is important to ensure that the same employees are always used for your own company. The learning effect should not be underestimated.

5. Customer Contact
Just as you do not constantly send changing sales representatives to the same customer, you should also handle it with the call agents. If possible, the same call agent should always call a customer if multiple or regular contacts are required. A relationship should be built over the phone.

6. Access to your CRM System
Whether yourr own inside sales or an agency or freelancer, they should have access to the addresses they handle in your CRM system. The content of phone calls should also be stored there, as well as any emails and other correspondence. This way, both the call agent and the sales force know what has been discussed or agreed upon with the customer as well as what correspondence has taken place.

7. External Call Agents
Your switchboard and the employees in the company who have customer contact should have the names of the external call agents ready in case a customer/prospect calls back.

8. Address Material
Last but not the least, the quality of the addresses significantly determines how expensive the telephone canvassing will be. Always remember, each address incurs processing costs. The more accurately the addresses are selected for your offer, the lower the wastage and thus the costs. Less is more! For example, if you sell CNC machines, the address of an office machine dealer is of no use to you, it only causes costs. Here too, an AI system can help you to avoid unnecessary costs.

9. Address Procurement
Addresses can come from numerous sources. High quality addresses come, in small numbers, from the sales force itself (they know their region) and from the recommendations of existing customers. It is also possible to do your own research on the internet, but this is time-consuming and therefore expensive. For larger quantities, there are corresponding address publishers. Here you should carefully work out the selection criteria. Based on your existing customers, the AI system can also evaluate new addresses quite reliably, provided the addresses are supplied with enough data. Trade fairs also supply lots of addresses that need to be processed promptly.


Artificial Intelligence as an Aid to Lead Evaluation

In general, your AI system plays a crucial role in reducing costs in this process. After all, as part of the lead management, the AI system is constantly monitoring and evaluating each address, whether if it’s an existing customer or a lead.

Using the data from your CRM and ERP systems, the AI system informs you about the chances of closing a deal at every step of the process. The more the data is added during processing, especially for new addresses, the more accurate the forecasts become. You can therefore remove addresses from further processing at an early stage if it becomes apparent that no deal can be closed there. This means considerable cost savings, especially in expensive acquisition, i.e. a competitive advantage for you.