Why Most Pay Per Performance Telemarketing Projects Fail
Pay per performance telemarketing is certainly nothing new but there never seems to be a desire from companies looking to outsource such activity. However, what seems like a risk-free exercise almost always turns into a time-consuming, lawsuit threatening, reputation damaging failure. As one of The UK's leading experts in call centre outsourcing, let me start by dismissing the following myth:
'A telemarketing company will allocate their best agents and management resources to a project where they are rewarded purely on results. After all, if they don't make the sales, they won't pay any money. They are therefore more likely to be successful'.
The above statement could not be further from the truth. In every call centre I've worked that does pay per performance work, there is often an underlying feeling that most of these projects are doomed to failure and will often allocate fresh agents to get them used to the telephone. The fact is that almost all pay per performance telesales projects will fail and I intend to outline why they do and how you should adopt a completely different approach.
Firstly, the best call centres don't do this kind of work simply because they don't need to. Yes, many of them do outbound but they don't do pay per performance or at least not projects which start out on this payment method. Secondly, given that this type of work appears to offer no risk to the client, they fail to do the correct preparation work in ensuring the whole go-to-market strategy is in place for everything from scripts to training and reporting mechanisms. Even worse, many of them don't provide accurate information to the outsourced call centre often exaggerating potential sales and under-estimating clawbacks. Many clients don't even consider the data which needs to be dialed. After all, if it's not risk to the client if the data strategy has not been properly considered. Of course, the worst of all strategies is the 'land-grab' scenario where a client attempts to outsource to as many call centres as possible in the vain hope that at least 1 of them will work. In this case, the limited amount of time allocated to each centre is so negligible that it's almost laughable. However, not all of the problems with this kind of work are the fault of the client. Many outsourcers take on these projects without the internal buy-in from the concerned parties. It's my experience that if not all of the senior management personnel want a project to succeed, then it generally won't. I firmly believe that however desperate for work a call centre is, they should not take on a client they are uncomfortable with.
So, with all this doom & gloom from me, how does this work at all? I'm afraid for those desperate to see quick-wins, they don't exist as you have to go right back to the basics of outsourcer selection and management. When you find the right vendor, then you should examine how the payment structure will work for both parties. In the early stages, this is likely that involves involves some kind of investment from the client. You should then seek advice from the call centre as to how the entire project should work. After all, they are experts in this kind of work and any good call centre should be able to utilise their resources and experiences to make this a profitable exercise. During the training stages, there must always be physical involvement between the client and the call centre. If the call centre is overseas, this will obviously involve time and money but the payback from this will be huge. Not only will your message get put over more effectively than remote training but you will gain immediate respect from the call centre agents. Before the project has started you should have laid out how all aspects of the project will be managed from reporting to performance management to compliance related issues. This plan should then be implemented with military style execution. After an initial period, it may be possible to amend the payment structure with the call centre and you will also have a blueprint to take to additional centres if this is appropriate and this will encourage a high calibre of call centre to take on your project.
Many will disagree with my theory but trust me, we are talking about success rates of 50%+ doing it this way as opposed to <1% for the way in which many clients operate.
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