What’s the objective of an outbound calling campaign? Usually, it’s to fill your sales pipeline and help prospects learn about your product. But sometimes, what you learn from these potential customers is equally important.
Good market intelligence can have a profound influence on a company’s approach to sales and marketing, affecting everything from SEO and social media presence to how you close the sale.
Occasionally, it can lead to an entirely new marketing strategy. For instance, while calling for our clients VSA has learned about:
• A market regulation that was going into effect, giving our client a leg up in developing a solution to meet the new requirements
• A significant delay in the implementation of a new government policy that our client was anticipating, leading the client to change the timing of their campaign and preserve their budget
• Collective management groups in a certain medical market that were making purchasing decisions on behalf of individual hospitals. VSA and our client developed new messaging to target the management companies.
So how would you begin to uncover such valuable information?
1. It all starts with an on-boarding process that allows you and your calling team to identify market intelligence goals before associates even start dialing. This includes selecting a program manager and a team of associates skilled enough to engage in conversations that are genuine, personable and substantial—not robotic. This includes speaking slowly and clearly and responding to comments and questions. Natural conversations help prospects feel comfortable.
2. It also means asking questions that will encourage a qualitative response. For instance, instead of “are you satisfied with your current product?” (this could be answered with a simple yes or no), you might ask “if you could change something about that product, what would that be?” This question is provocative enough to lead to a thorough answer—which could reveal critical market information.
3. Additionally, a team-based model – where multiple associates are calling on the same program – motivates associates to share what they’ve learned so that all team members can improve. Teams try to learn as much as possible about a client’s offering, enabling more high-level conversations with prospects on the phone… and thus asking the right questions.
4. Of course, collaboration with your calling team is equally important. A best practice is to communicate on a weekly basis, ensuring that information is conveyed promptly and enabling quick, effective changes to the campaign’s messaging or strategy. This also enables the you to suggest improvements as your field sales reps report back on the quality of their appointments set by the Inside Sales team. A constant feedback loop makes a good campaign better—rinse and repeat!
A phone call isn’t just an opportunity to set a sales appointment; it’s also a key to learning the finer details of your company’s market. So, the next time you get on the phone with a potential customer, don’t just rattle off your pitch and wait for your next response. Try active listening, and tailor your response to each prospect. You’ll be glad you did.