To get your product in front of prospective customers, you need sales representatives making outbound calls. Live agents are great for teaching prospects about the benefits your company provides.
Unfortunately, many businesses don’t have the resources or team in place to take full advantage of outbound calls. Typically, this is because they think that creating a call center would be too expensive and they can’t afford it yet.
But that’s usually not the case. They just don’t understand the ins and outs of creating a virtual call center. It’s possible for a small business – or even a home-based business – to start an effective call center overseas. And by setting one up overseas, they can minimize costs while still reaching thousands of potential customers every month.
Many of our clients use PhoneBurner to power an overseas outbound call center, so today, we want to give you a roadmap for creating your own call center overseas.
Choose the Right Location
Where should you build your new call center? India, Singapore, the Philippines, South America? There are many considerations you need to make when choosing your location because it will determine the cost, quality, and reliability of your call center.
When choosing a location, keep these in mind:
- Stability of the country. Is the country prone to natural disasters? How stable is their government? Both of these can bring unforeseen circumstances that can hurt your call center.
- Language. English should be a common language there so your prospects can easily understand your call center employees. For example, many people in the Philippines speak Westernized English.
- The exchange rate and currency stability. This will affect how much you pay employees. Also, if the exchange rate is volatile your costs can quickly change.
- The average salary. Do your research and check the average salary of similar positions within the country. Aim to pay your call center employees competitive salaries to keep them happy and to retain good talent.
- The culture. Different cultures respond better to different types of feedback and rewards. Again, do your research here and get familiar with the country’s culture. Are the people more technical and conservative? Or are they warm and carefree? It helps to deeply understand your target customers so you can choose which culture you want to deliver your pitch.
Business owners need to think hard about the location they choose for their call center. It plays a major role in the success and cost of an overseas sales department.
Find and Hire Your Employees
Once you know where you’re going to set up your call center, you need to hire sales reps in that country.
Most countries have online job boards where you can post open positions and receive applications. Use Google to search “online job board in [the country you choose]” and you should quickly find a variety of options.
For example, jobsdb.com is a good job board that covers certain Asian countries like Thailand and Singapore.
Once you start receiving job applications, you need to screen potential employees. Make sure you choose the right people by following these tips from our article on hiring great salespeople:
- Use resumes to start the process, that’s it. You won’t learn nearly enough from a resume. Use it to see if they have relevant experience. Then, if you decide to pursue the candidate, you can use this to guide your conversation. But that’s it. You’ll learn the rest by speaking with them.
- Pre-screen candidates. Call their referrals and call them to conduct a phone interview before setting up a formal video interview. You may be able to eliminate candidates by speaking to them for 10 minutes. If so, this can save you a lot of time.
- Ask the right questions. Sure, you want to learn some facts about your candidates – like their education and experience. But you really need to learn about their behavior and habits. For example, you can say, “Tell me about a time you hit a sales slump, and how you worked your way through it.”
- Assess their mindset. Do they have a growth or fixed mindset? Do they believe they can improve or do they think they were born with sales skills? People with growth mindsets can be coached much more successfully, even if they have less experience. Ask them what they do in their free time or if they spend time reading self-improvement books to assess whether they believe they can change and improve themselves.
Train and Invest in Your Employees
Once you hire new employees, it’s your duty to get them up to speed.
First, make sure they have a good internet connection. Then, you need to provide employees with software to maximize call efficiency, track agent performance, organize data and call logs, etc. You’ll also need to provide employees with headsets, phones, and office supplies.
Once an employee has their office space configured, they need to be well trained before they start making sales calls.
Consider creating training manuals and videos to provide to all new sales reps. Also, give them a handful of sample sales call recordings so they can familiarize themselves with your specific message.
If you hire multiple people at once, you may consider sending a team member to train your new employees in-person. If you have the resources, this is an excellent way to get new representatives up to speed quickly.
Before creating your new call center, make sure you budget for training and setting up your sales reps. It may not be cheap, but it can easily be worth the additional sales you’ll make.
Establish Standard Protocols
Creating detailed processes and procedures is an effective way to manage your remote employees. These protocols help them know when they are following rules, and it’s easier for you to know when they are making mistakes.
It’s also a way to educate new and existing employees. If they have any questions, they can look through the protocols before asking for additional help.
You can create protocols for many different scenarios, but these are some common examples:
- The prospect doesn’t answer the phone.
- The call gets sent to voicemail.
- The line is busy.
- The prospect picks up the phone.
- The prospect gives an objection.
Also, if you want your sales reps to send cold emails or follow-up emails, you can create templates so they only need to fill in the blanks.
In addition to creating clear protocols, the better you define your objectives – and how your employees can achieve them – the better your results will be. Enable your overseas employees to give better sales pitches by letting them know exactly what you expect from them and how they can do it.
Setting up an overseas call center can seem like a daunting and expensive task. But once you know what it really entails, you’ll realize it can be well worth it.
Getting started requires an initial investment to train your employees and provide them with gear before they can start working. But over time, you save a lot of money compared to creating an in-house sales team since you don’t need to provide an office and salaries are much cheaper overseas.
An outbound call center may be exactly what you need to boost sales for a minimal cost.
Have you ever set up an overseas call center? What are some big challenges you faced? Let us know in the comments below!