What’s the Difference Between an Outsourced Sales Team and a Call Center?
‘Call center’ has become almost a dirty phrase in the outsourced sales industry. This isn’t totally well-deserved: call centers employ millions of people in important work, and many of them provide excellent, much-needed services to their clients. But it’s true that the nature of the work they perform is quite different from that of other outsourced customer-facing organizations, and there’s often significant confusion about the differences. Here are some of the primary differentiators we see:
- Channel usage. Though there are some outbound call centers that have branched out into using e-mail and social media, many remain true to their name and stick to calls as the primary or only channel for performing outreach. There are advantages to this, of course: retaining a singular focus on phone outreach allows for greater emphasis on call tactics. But it also prevents many call centers from assuming the multi-channel focus necessary for success on outbound inside sales programs. As an example, Bandalier generally makes use of outbound e-mails, calls, social media touches, and even handwritten notes on our managed outsourced inside sales programs.
- Scripting / A/B testing. Call centers usually make use of a single script or small handful of script variants. This approach works really well for established companies that are trying to create a single experience for prospective customers with minimal variation. By contrast, Bandalier’s recruiting process identifies creativity and out-of-the-box thinking as an imperative trait for all new hires. Similarly, our culture encourages all team members to regularly come up with A/B tests on their own and try out new scripts as warranted to generate better results for clients. This approach tends to be a better fit for growing companies that are looking for innovation in their sales or customer experience strategies.
- Flexibility. Call centers tend to be built around structure – with good reason. They often have made significant investment in fixed infrastructure and management processes that pays off over years of running highly structured and pre-defined outbound and inbound programs. By contrast, Bandalier – and many companies that offer outsourced sales as a service to start-ups – focuses on agile processes that allow us to modify programs as needed. Many of the fast-growing companies we partner with look for partners that can help them identify what’s working and what isn’t and modify strategy or processes accordingly. Through training and flexible process design, we prepare our teams to modify their focus and activities on short notice.
Different organizations have different needs, and there certainly is and will remain a place for call centers in the sales / customer service industries. But if you’re looking for a partner that can leverage multi-channel capabilities, test new strategies and script, and adapt based on changing needs, we believe our approach to outsourced inside sales is likely to be your best bet. To learn more, schedule a call here.