There Are No Shortcuts To BPO Sales In The US
The customer experience (CX) industry analyst Peter Ryan is a good friend of mine. I’m really hoping that his CX Outsourcers event can take place in Las Vegas later this year because it has already been delayed a couple of times by the Covid-19 pandemic. Peter is well respected across the world and was once voted the best respected customer service adviser in the world by Call Center Helper magazine in the UK.
But Peter’s high profile as a CX expert means that he is endlessly plagued with messages from executives at Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies asking him to fill their pipeline with leads. Peter even wrote an article about this, asking companies to stop asking him for leads because his company focuses on industry analysis, not sales on commission.
I know myself that the approach to sales is different all over the world. 99% of our clients are based outside the US. We get so much business from outside the country because one of my specialties is helping non-American businesses build sales in the US.
I don’t know anywhere in the world where a pushy approach to sales really works. Maybe that’s normal where you live – maybe you end up buying things just to stop the sales guy hassling you? I can tell you right now that this approach will not work in the US.
American executives buying BPO services want to buy from a company they can trust. They need to know and understand your culture and feel confident that you can work together and be in this relationship for the long haul. If you are entering the US market and don’t appreciate how important it is that the prospects you are talking to have even heard of your company then you are not going to get far.
BPO companies approach people like Peter with the assumption that he knows what is going on in the industry and he can just tip them off to some sales opportunities – it’s easy. The reality is that selling BPO into the US is not that simple.
You need to build a sales team, but I don’t mean you just hire a team of guys more experienced at selling used cars and put them on commission. Nobody buys from someone they don’t trust. You need a sales team with credibility and an approach to business that gives the prospect confidence that you really can help them out.
Prospects need nurturing. It takes time. You will struggle to even start nurturing if nobody has ever heard of your company so you almost certainly need some content – to get the opinion of the sales team out there on LinkedIn and in the media. Elevate them. Help them to be seen talking about the industry and showing how smart they really are.
I often hear people say that they don’t need to build a US marketing strategy “because we are going direct for the sales.” The reality is that if you don’t build out a marketing program that establishes your credibility and right to be selling inside the US then you are going nowhere fast.
A BPO cannot just “go for the sales” in the US. There is no magic shortcut to the leads. You need to be known, respected, and considered credible. Without all this, nobody will even answer your calls. If you want more tips on how to fail when selling BPO into the US just ask Peter Ryan – he has heard from every company that wanted to take a magical shortcut!
I’m Shelli Ryan and I’m the CEO of Ad Hoc Communication. For 25 years, Ad Hoc has specialized in building global sales campaigns and optimizing marketing strategies. Our team has deep expertise in advising BPO companies across the world and we can immediately help you to seize the emerging post-Covid opportunities. Contact me here