Good and bad technologies impacting the B2B Call Center

Technology has had a significant impact on how B2B Teleprospecting and Call center operations are run. Some technologies however are a positive and some negative.Here is a perspective on how ETI considers some of the primary applications:

Predictive Dialing.

  1. A technology (primarily used in Business to Consumer environments) which programs a PBX to dial ahead of the “operator” because statistically one can anticipate that X number of calls are required to find someone to talk to.
  2. When someone picks up the call is transferred to an available “operator”.

eti does not and will never entertain using such technology. Some reasons …

  • Our Business Developers (BDs) are required to fully prepare themselves prior to initialing a call.  This includes reviewing prior contact history,  notes, results as well as in circumstances doing research to familiarize themselves with the prospect company prior to engaging a prospect in a consultative dialogue.   Preparation is key in our world.
  • 99% of all businesses will answer their phones. But navigating within an organization and getting to the key stakeholder/decision maker is an entirely different matter.
  • If you’re dialing an extension then in all probability the call will be answered … even if only by the person’s voice mail. So “busys” and wrong numbers are usually not a major factor in a B2B environment.
  • Typically there is a pause – anywhere between 2 and 20 seconds while the dialer finds an operator to take the call. When this occurs the poor prospect says … Hello …. Hello … Helloooooo … until someone comes on the line. It's unlikey the prospect will view this positively?
  • Bottom line is we don't see this technology as a way to drive a high quality communications with high level prospects in complex B2B environments.

Preview Dialers.

  1. The prospect record is brought up via a call queue or search result and the prospects' telephone number can then be dialed dynamically when the BD clicks on the number.

eti has used Preview Dialing technology extensively since its inception. It’s quick and efficient and allows for adequate preparation by the BD prior to initiating a call.

Automatic dialers (aka Robo Dialers).

These systems dial numbers (usually sequentially) and deliver a prerecorded message automatically to the recipient when they pick up or on their personal voice mail. It is not used much in B2B environments for many of the same reasons that Predictive Dialers should be avoided.

Targeting consumers or business people in this manner – whether you’re a politician, a charity, credit card or a bank – is (in at least this writers opinion) unprofessional and ineffective. Indeed, it may even be regarded as a relationship-breaker.

Automatic Call Distribution (ACD).

  • This is primarily used by call centers to handle incoming calls and is effective in managing the flow and volume of calls coming in.
  • When used correctly it is very useful and practical for both the caller and the recipient organization.  The problem is that often unsuspecting callers are many times placed in holding “purgatory” for lengthy periods of time. That can be solved of course by providing sufficient levels of staffing. But, many operations don’t because that increases costs significantly.

There is nothing better (and more effective) than having a prospect call and, immediately, there is immediately someone live to talk to.  And when that person is knowledgeable, speaks their language, and relates to them culturally it is worth its weight in gold. So ACD’s in a B2B environment are useful but should be used for limited purposes.

eti does use ACD’s and endeavors to deliver the following average results.

  • 99.9% of all calls are answered by a Business Developer within 1 minute.
  • 80% within 20 seconds.
  • When a queue is backed up we provide the caller with an estimated hold time (or their position in the queue)
  • We always offer the caller the ability to leave a message. Call backs are usually initiated within 4 hours

On Line Live Chat.

  • Chat comes in two flavors: Passive and Active.
    •   Passive involves the placement of a button on a typical web page and requires the prospect to click on the link/button to engage in an interaction.
    •   Active takes a more pro-active approach. Using powerful algorithms one can program the system to pop up an invitation to chat based on the users history (clicks and pages visited) and time on the site.

While the latter can be perceived as intrusive, it is very easy for the prospect to dismiss the offer to chat. Those who do pro-actively engage can be converted to real marketing qualified leads (MQL's) if handled professionally.

eti has an expanded practice that now offers B2B Business Developers to field chat interactions. Our primary role leverages both smarts BD's, phone and chat in order to convert prospects into highly qualified sales opportunities. Please see my recent blog for more about this capability. (Note: We do not undertake technical support efforts.)

To find our more about ETI's capabilities to meet your company's lead generation needs please call 1.800.466.4384 (914.747.03030).


Generate more qualified leads by increasing prospect engagement with LiveChat

In today’s tough times we are all trying to do more with less and maximize our assets to the greatest degree possible. In sales one can only have one conversation with a prospect at one time.  However, if you integrate Live Chat into the equation with a team of well trained Business Developers who can properly interact and communicate to determine need and or pain, you can extend that reach by factors of 200% – 400%.   That’s a meaningful impact!

LiveChat enables the BD to quickly assess the need and get the Prospect into the right process for follow up.  This may include moving the prospect into a more detailed Lead Qualification call, a Sales Lead Pipeline, a nurturing track or  other non sales (technical support) tracks.  Yes, utilizing Live Chat will divert a number of Prospects from the Contact Us forms on your site. The benefit is instant communication with these constituents.

You will also not be in a race with your competition to see who can reach the prospect first.To ensure success the Business Development team needs to be not only well versed in all that you do, but must also be proficient in identifying need/pain and sales opportunity. They need to have a detailed knowledge of the organizations roadmap and access to information to pass to the visitors. Using “Operators” that are reliant on canned messages that shoehorn all visitors to fit or merely have them ask if you want a salesperson to make contact does not make for a good or productive experience. In fact, it could be a huge turnoff.

Here are 4 pointers to keep in mind when using LiveChat to build your prospect pipeline:1.

  • Understand that Live Chat is a dialogue just like a phone call.
    • Because this is a dialogue, make sure the Business Developer is smart and can respond quickly and intelligently to each post by the prospect.
    • Canned responses if used must be well written and focused.  Use of canned messages that do not relate to the question can turn the Prospect off quickly.
  • Make sure your Business Developers have the tools to move those ‘chatters’ who do not have needs for your products and/or solutions quickly to the right department or information.
  • As in any sales call, one should always be moving the relationship toward greater levels of engagement and commitment.
  • Your brand is important, make sure the chat helps build it:
    • Be respectful of the prospect
    • React to their needs and interests rather than pushing your agenda.
    • Articulate responses in proper English.  Spelling and grammar does count.
    • Be polite and take no short cuts.

If you’d like to learn more about how this works and how you can leverage your website to generate highly qualified leads call us on 1.800.466.4384 (914.747.3030).

Using Live Chat for B2B Lead Generation part 2

Back in April we first discussed an exciting ETI client initiative exploring the effectiveness of fielding B2B Live Chat discussions for the purpose of driving highly qualified sales opportunities into the sale opportunity pipeline. We’re delighted to report that the pilot campaign was so successful that it is being rolled out to other departments and product groups.

Here are 5 pointers to ensure success of B2B Live Chat for lead generation/lead qualification purposes:

  1. Understand that Live Chat is a dialogue just like a phone call.  Pre-set responses can increase productivity only if used properly. It’s important to be sure the response fits the question, rather than just picking the one that comes closest.  When the dialogue is focused on content and understanding the needs and pain of the prospect, then communication is highly effective which will result in more qualified leads.
  2. Make sure you screen out those ‘chatters’ who do not have needs for your products and or solutions.  Anyone requiring technical support or customer service should be routed to the correct department quickly and efficiently.  Make sure your team know how to recognize these contacts and that they have a good understanding of the inner workings of your organization.
  3. Because this is a dialogue, make sure the Business Developer can respond quickly and efficiently too each post by the prospect.  There is nothing more frustrating for a prospect than posting a question or comment and having to wait several minutes for someone to respond.
  4. As in any sales call one should always be moving the relationship toward greater levels of engagement.  In the case of Live Chat, that means moving the chat to a phone conversation.
  5. Your brand is important, make sure the chat helps build it:
  • Be respectful of the prospect.
  • React to their needs and interests rather than pushing your agenda.
  • Articulate responses in proper English.  Spelling and grammar does count.
  • Be polite and take no short cuts.

To learn more about smart B2B live chat please call us at 800.466.4384 (914.747.3030)  to discuss further.

Proactive LiveChat as a B2B Lead Generation/ Lead Qualification tool

LiveChat has been used primarily as a support tool on consumer-related sites.recently, however, B2B companies have begun using chat as a tool to enhance users’ experience on their websites. There are many people who are skeptical of the value of this tool ...

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