Fail to adapt, prepare to fail – how Toucan Telemarketing weathered the COVID storm
The year 2020 has seen some of the most shocking announcements from Britain’s largest companies, with particular regard to profit loss and redundancies. Like most, Toucan Telemarketing has had to make changes to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis.
However, the Congleton-based team has also learned from the mistakes of its larger competitors. The appointment-setting experts noted early on that they would have to change their approach, and were able to adapt quicker than their competitors.
“We’re back in the office a couple of days per week now,” says founder Paula Bates. “But over the last six months we’ve seen a lot of our competitors going bust. They simply weren’t prepared to change their approach for the pandemic.”
How can sales teams adapt their approach for the pandemic?
In a field that relies strongly on personal connections, many sales teams have struggled, warns Paula. “Many people were very used to turning up without an invitation, particularly in the manufacturing sector. If they had no alternative, they were inevitably going to suffer.”
One of the biggest adjustments Toucan Telemarketing had to make, says Paula, was working from home. She notes how competitors may have fallen down due to lack of resources.
“Huge agencies often rely on scripts. If the conversation deviates from the script, then there’s usually a supervisor on-hand to help them out. Without those resources at home, their ability to set appointments would have suffered.”
Checking in, not checking out
Another word of caution from Paula is to be empathetic. “You can still make sales calls providing you have empathy, but sometimes, it’s not always the first priority.
“Often, we are making calls simply to check in on our contacts. We want to know what their working situation is, and show them that we’re here for them if they need us.”
This works in two ways. First, it demonstrates genuine compassion for the situation, and second, it equips the Toucan Telemarketing team with essential data. From this approach, they can discover:
- How best to contact clients in future e.g. Zoom, calls, email, in person
- If they are still speaking to the right contacts, i.e. if decision-makers have left the company
Above all, notes Paula, a positive attitude is what will carry us through this crisis. “I’ve had conversations with people who say, ‘have you not seen the news? We’ve made 1,000 people redundant!
“This crisis is not going to go away overnight. We need to make hay while the sun shines. My advice would be to work with a smaller appointment-setting company, who can establish those dedicated account manager connections. People are still looking to buy. If we adhere to government guidelines, we can do that safely.”
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