How to run an effective call campaign?

Call campaigns are tough and are boring. Yes, really! Dialing for dollars is one of theDialing for dollars toughest things one can do.

If it’s so boring and tough, then why do companies pay big-bucks to conduct call campaigns? There are several reasons. Here are a few..

  • The opportunity to speak directly to a customer (a buyer, a prospect, a potential customer, an existing customer). This direct engagement is huge.
  • Once on the phone, companies can (a) sell, (b) cross-sell, (c) up-sell,  (d) switch and at the very least (e) inform.
  • Directly drive awareness about brand, product offerings/promotions, product-line, services, solutions, events etc.
  • Call campaigns are cheap compared to hiring sales people or partners who’d circumvent the globe for you in search of customers.
  • If done right, it’s an awesome time-tested form of direct marketing.

But, it is a tough game. You either run the campaign using in-house resources (typically inside sales) or hire an outfit that specializes in these campaigns.

Regardless, how do you run an effective call campaign? Here are some key steps.

  • Step 1 – Goal – A campaign must have a stated goal or objective. Some examples,  increasing pen-rate with your existing customers? or close out a strong quarter? or combat competitive action? or target a new market? or recruit new partners? or raising awareness about company/product-lines/specials/close-outs etc? or switching customers from other brands? etc.
  • Step 2 – Call to Action – There must be a clear call to action. Meaning, once a customer or target is reached, what is the customer expected to do? Do they visit a website? Download a white-paper? Check out a promotion? Place an order?
  • Step 3 – List – This is the target call list. Careful thought has to go in to building this list. Often, in the haste to move fast the target list is not properly culled and the quality is downright terrible. Chances of success are very slim to nothing if the starting point is so bad. The list depends on the objective of the campaign. And, in each market there are companies that sell lists. Events/Conferences are a great way to get some list-action as well.
  • Step 4- Call Script and Training -You don’t want your callers to sound like robots. Unfortunately, this is the reality of a call campaign. With some many calls being made, its very tough to not sound like machines. To mitigate this, the callers should be well trained, be allowed to improvise and let their effusive personalities come through in each call that they make. Ideally, the script should serve as a guide and not a rule. But, such deliberate campaigns could cost some serious $$.
  • Step 5 – Practice – Can’t stress on this enough. There must be time allocated for the callers to practice and refine their craft before being put in front of the lions.
  • Step 6 – Metrics – Define the campaign by clear success metrics. Some examples, #Calls per day, # of targets reached, # of VM’s, # of incorrect/unreachable phone numbers, # of follow up calls, # of targets passed to sales, # of follow up emails sent, # of times called before reaching decision maker, # of call-backs received, # of sales made, $ value of sales made over the phone…etc etc. Metrics allow to better understand the progress of the campaign and more importantly will serve as a significant tool for the next one.
  • Step 7 – Incentives -What are the incentives for the calling team if they meet or beat their goals? What does the top performer get? What does everyone get for just participating in the campaign? In addition to incentives, it will help to have an environment that speaks of vigor and fun!!
  • Step 8 – Post Mortem – Ok..the call campaign is now over – whew! Were we victorious and crushed our goals? Was the bar set too high or too low? What challenges did we face? What were there top 5 take-aways? What can be done better the next time? What are the follow-up actions? What does sales need to do next? Did we document everything that’s relevant? Did a report get written/generated? Has it been saved in an area that is visible to all relevant parties?

While there is a logical order to running a call campaign, there could be more steps than the general one’s that I have outlined above or there could be less too. It depends on the campaign and it’s objectives.

Regardless of the steps, “passion, motivation and fun” are essential ingredients to helping achieve success in such campaigns when your targets are unseen. Call campaigns are tough..but they can be wildly successful if they are managed well.

Did I miss anything? or would you like to add to this?

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