According to Salesforce, selling has recently become much more challenging. Given everything that has been happening in the world in recent years, this probably isn’t a huge surprise.
To understand how to combat it, however, it is worth examining why it’s more challenging to sell and what can be done to outperform the market.
“Companies are moving away from high-risk strategies as they battle inflation, supply chain bottlenecks, regulatory uncertainty, and political disruption. And yet, sales reps are under pressure to hit targets. It’s a huge challenge. Sixty-nine per cent of sales professionals say selling is harder now.” Salesforce State of Sales report
In both the B2B and B2C worlds, a sharp rise in competition, a squeeze on global resources, and uncertain economic factors have left many companies scrambling for leads. Without a clear plan, businesses find their sales declining in an ever-changing and unpredictable world.
Swipe for more
How the contact centre can boost digital sales
Digital sales is the process of using multiple virtual and online touchpoints to engage with prospects and customers to move them closer to a purchase with each interaction.
While most of these interactions may be automated or self-service – for example, on the website, on an e-commerce platform, or with a chatbot – there is an opportunity for customer service and sales agents working in the contact centre to intervene to increase conversions.
Your contact centre – or an outsourced contact centre (more on that later) – can help bring predictability back to your digital sales. This, in turn, increases your ability to control the sales process and produce the results you want. Below we outline the steps involved in taking back your digital sales from the lap of chance.
Proactive and personalised sales
A great place to start enhancing digital sales is by creating a proactive and personalised approach to selling. Contact centres are highly adept at this because they can leverage data to adapt their interactions from customer to customer. In other words, agents can tailor the selling experience to each recipient.
How and when should a contact centre agent get involved in the digital sales process? While no hard and fast rules apply to every type of sale, potential intervention points include popping up a chat invite on your website, offering a callback option, or even proactively following up on abandoned carts.
Contact centre team members need data to create the best, most personalised approach for your customers. This could include a customer’s prior purchase history, browsing habits, or time spent looking at different websites and products. This data helps enrich each customer interaction and can be used to personalise both the offer and approach.
“According to Gartner, over 66% of customer loyalty is now decided on customer experience – that’s more than price and brand reputation combined. In response, brands must get on the front foot with their CX strategy to drive loyalty (and, ultimately, their top line).” Read more
A proactive and personalised method of selling ensures more deals are closed since you can better understand what a customer wants and when they need interaction. Whether in-house or outsourced, your business can benefit from a team of trained sellers who can target the right customers at the right times.
Predefined interaction models for team members
You can create predefined interaction models or templates for frontline agents to use. These can include interaction workflows, scripts or prompts to be employed during calls and chats, and email templates to follow up and close sales.
Having predefined templates streamlines the selling process, making conversations more efficient, more consistent, and, therefore, more predictable.
You can choose to shape your interaction models in a variety of ways. For instance, you can base your sales template on data from past customer interactions. This way, you can learn how certain customers want to be interacted with, determine their typical response times, and produce an interaction model that keeps them suitably engaged.
Scripts and workflows that guide agents through interactions do not need to be overly prescriptive. Instead, they just act as a guide and can even prompt agents on the next best action to take, or the best offer to present, based on the customer’s past interactions and purchases.
By generating predefined email responses for your team members, they will only need to make minor edits before sending them to customers. This further streamlines the sales process and produces faster, more efficient results.
However, this approach to sales can take some time to perfect. It requires a degree of experiential learning, regular training, and ongoing development to ensure your contact centre’s team members acquire the confidence they need to edit and provide their own responses within the framework. With solid management, though, it can deliver exceptional results.
Predictive responses for customers
In addition to predefined interaction models for staff members, you can also generate predictive responses for self-service channels, enabling customers to push the sales journey forward themselves. For instance, you can use an automated chatbot to answer customer questions, present deals the customer may be interested in, or give a list of relevant products based on their interaction history.
“Generative AI can be used to analyse customer data, including past interactions, preferences, and behaviour patterns, to generate personalised responses. These responses can be used to provide tailored solutions to each customer, improving the customer experience and increasing the chances of customer retention.” Read more
Self-service can deliver a much quicker experience for the customer, as they can find out more about your products online through cleverly structured links and orchestrated journeys that direct them to where they want to go.
This eliminates the need for a sales call, allowing contact centres to prioritise customers that need greater support and deflect others to channels involving predictive responses.
Prioritising and deflecting
Contact centres and their team members are hardy and versatile. They are capable of funnelling customers down different channels depending on urgency, requirements, and interaction preferences. Contact centres can even direct customers to self-service channels to finalise sales without the need for human interaction.
Processes like this can be automated or semi-automated, however live agents equipped with clever workflows and scripts like those already mentioned can direct customers based on priority and need, as long as they have access to the customer data that informs those decisions.
“Leading organisations have gone even further. Beyond just making multiple channels available, they try to give the customer flexibility over how they can interact with a brand, to make for a seamless and unified experience.” Read more
Enabling this genuine omnichannel approach ensures each customer is dealt with by the most appropriate and cost-effective channel for their current need, which maximises your overall return on investment or your revenue from each interaction. Your contact centre can also deal with more customers simultaneously, and human agents can focus on the ones with a high potential conversion rate while deflecting the low-priority, low-value interactions to self-help channels.
This reduces the stress on team members and enables a more streamlined, targeted approach to sales and CX. Customers’ needs are met, your sales staff have more control over their work, and high-value interactions receive the best attention possible.
Reporting and insights for continuous development
Adaptability is a huge asset, especially with so much global uncertainty impacting customers. Your sales operation, as well as your sales staff, must remain flexible and capable of changing processes in response to new data.
Contact centres can leverage real-time analytics to enhance CX, boost sales and enable continuous improvement of staff and continuous development of their tactical and strategic approach. But data is not much use if you only collect it; you need to be able to analyse it, gain insights from it, and then disseminate that learning across departments and teams.
“By securely collecting real-time data and analytics into one platform, Support Cell changes the way employees can address and resolve customer queries. This game-changing software and helpdesk model offers up the potential for massive growth and unparalleled customer service.” Read more
Given their unique position in many businesses as the main touchpoint with customers, coupled with their ability to deploy high-tech tools and automation software, contact centres can collect masses of data on customers and their preferences. Customer behaviour can be tracked, and interactions analysed to shed more light than ever before on what customers really want.
This, in turn, feeds into the development of new strategies aimed at improving CX. Contact centre real-time analytics show areas that need improvement and can give you a clearer picture of how your business is performing. Sales teams can then adapt their approach, their workflows, their models, and their channel strategies to optimise results.
How an outsourced sales team can help
While you could develop a digital sales capability in your existing contact centre, it can be quite a different discipline than providing customer service. Suppose you have little in-house sales experience and prefer your current teams to remain focused on delivering customer service and a great customer experience. In that case, it can be beneficial to outsource sales activities to a specialist.
An outsourced sales team can help enhance the digital sales process and improve results, making both more predictable. Outsourced specialists can leverage data to target and acquire high-priority customers, driving digital sales and bringing control to your operations without disrupting the day-to-day operations of your customer service team. The new perspectives that outsiders can bring to your business also help keep your approach fresh and up-to-date.
An outsourced function also provides you with a useful test bed, allowing your marketing, sales, and revenue team to trial new approaches to segments of customers without impacting business as usual. Successful trial programmes with small customer groups can be rolled out either with a larger outsourced team or internally.
Essentially, outsourcing with a trusted partner who understands your market and your customers gives you a licence to innovate while ensuring – through the various SLAs and KPIs that normally govern outsourcing relationships – that the focus is firmly placed on delivering results.
From sales to customer care, debt collection to back office support, TSA Group can help you streamline every part of your operations. We offer a wide range of solutions – including personalised sales approaches and prioritised customer care – that all seek to optimise your sales and improve CX.
We are a leading call centre outsourcing provider in Australia, so we know what it takes to be successful in a volatile and uncertain world like ours. Contact TSA Group today to learn how your business can benefit from contact centre outsourcing.