How important is training when it comes to a telemarketing campaign?
Whether you’re planning on running a telemarketing campaign for the first time or you’re ramping up the activity you are already doing, one of the first things you need to look at is whether you’ve got the right people in place and what additional training support they will need.
If you’ve already got a team in place, it’s very likely they’ve had at least some base level training. If they’re experienced telemarketers, they probably learnt the basics within previous roles, the telemarketing 101 training crash course of ‘getting through the gatekeeper’, ‘objection handling’ and ‘rapport building’. They would then be given more specific training on your products and services and then hopefully more tailored training which targets their needs as an individual.
There is a direct link between the level of training an agent receives to the success of the campaign, so it’s essential you put as much time and budget into this as you possibly can.
“The most useful training session for me was focused on closing techniques. It gave me so many new ideas.”
So what sort of learning and development plan should you put together for your telemarketing team?
Side by side call listening/coaching
Use a ‘listening-in headset splitter’ so that the team supervisor or trainer can listen in to live calls as they happen. This way they can hear the two way conversation, making notes and points of action to go through with the dialler after each call. This will help to develop confidence and continuously improve the pitch by discussing new ideas and finding solutions for more difficult objections.
If you don’t have the time or resources to listen to live calls, you should make sure you have a call recording system in place. These calls can be listened to by a trainer or quality assurance team and can then be used to put a training action plan in place. It’s also sometimes really beneficial for the telemarketers to listen to these calls to allow them to critique themselves. It’s often easy to spot bad habits they never even knew they had once they have a chance to listen back to their own conversations.
Role playing can be helpful to recreate call scenarios which your telemarketers may have found challenging at the time. Spending time with an experienced trainer who can play the role of a prospect can help the agent try out different techniques in a relaxed environment, before trying it in a real time call. Some people find role playing uncomfortable, so it’s important this is carried out by someone with the right skill sets to bring the best of that person, otherwise it can be counter productive.
Group brainstorming sessions
Getting a group together to learn and share ideas is a fantastic way of helping to boost confidence, morale and skills. By realising their peers experience the same challenges and concerns, telemarketers will feel less like they’re doing something wrong and more that they have the tools to improve. A great exercise for group training sessions is to ask them for an objection they have found hard to handle. Then go round the group asking for ideas of how to effectively deal with that objection. Hearing experiences from a different perspective is often the best way to help overcome any problems a dialler has with a campaign.
Create a buddy scheme
If a telemarketer isn’t performing to the expected level, a really simple yet effective solution is to buddy them up with a top performer. This way they can stop focusing on what they feel is going wrong for them, and listen to what is working for someone else. They can then adapt this to suit their own style and make their own. They will also have a support system in the way of a peer who has the same role as them and not just their line manager.
Finally and most importantly is making sure time is taken to provide feedback and praise. The morning should start with the team coming together to discuss the plan for the day and make sure everyone is focused and energised. Then throughout the day a culture of positive feedback and praise should be actively encouraged. This doesn’t have to just come from a manager or supervisor, telemarketers will tend to notice when their team mates are scoring or having great conversations. Whilst healthy competition is a great motivator, supporting each other in what can be a challenging job role, is fantastic for team morale and in turn campaign results.