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Portrait of call center worker accompanied by her team. Smiling customer support operator at work.

Too many lead generation campaigns fail to achieve their full potential due to poor inbound call handling. Maximise your marketing investment by getting these five basics right.

Answer the phone

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, and I can’t believe I’m writing this, but many companies really do falter at the first hurtle. A successful company properly focused on inbound sales enquiries will answer every single call, no matter what time of the day or day of the week.

Calls should never go unanswered because someone is on holiday, or at lunch, or in a meeting. And there are plenty of excellent call answering services that provide a high quality experience to prospects and customers outside of business hours. Use one.

Answer in their language

A similarly painful observation but equally important: B2B prospects considering high end products or services expect and deserve a local phone number answered by a native speaker who is well versed in the company’s products and services.

Again, for B2B companies looking to expand into international markets (or from international markets into the UK) who might not yet have a local office, it’s still worth in investing in a local number and consider outsourcing to a local company specialising in inbound enquiries.

It’s not just for rookies

Many organisations use their inbound phone team as a training ground for new employees looking to skill up to be ‘proper’ sales people. And while it makes sense for sales rookies to cut their teeth on less qualified prospects before putting them in front of the big fish, make sure they are surrounded by skilled peers and are given the proper training to do their job well.

Equally it’s important to remember that the skills that make a successful inbound sales operator are not necessarily the same as the ones that make for a successful sales person. Sales people are taught to keep talking and to ask the right questions. Inbound operators need to listen first and talk second.

Take nothing for granted

Organisations who outsource their inbound sales will no doubt have regular reviews with their agency, covering KPIs, listening to calls (live or recorded), checking up on staff training and generally ensuring high quality delivery. And if they’re not, they’re with the wrong agency.

Organisations who use internal resource, however, are less likely to have these sorts of quality checks in place and just assume their employees are doing a good job. Nothing could be further than the truth. Our experience doing mystery shopping for clients shows that not only do calls go unanswered (see first point) but many are answered by unskilled staff who see inbound calls as a disruption to their ‘real’ job.

Ensure your inbound team know what their KPIs are and put in place processes for monitoring quality.

No one likes surprises

Nothing makes an inbound operator’s job harder than not having the right information to help a prospect. Make sure your inbound team are familiar with your marketing campaigns, before they happen.

They will need to see ad copy, landing pages, be trained on any promotions or demos that have been offered, and be aware of any qualifying (or disqualifying) criteria.

Sharing your marketing campaigns with the inbound team before the campaign starts has the added bonus of getting feedback from the front lines before you waste time or resource on campaigns that are likely to miss the mark.