To Script or Not to Script Sales Calls: Now That is a Question.

OK, I want to get right out in front of this one; there is nothing worse than having a sales person call me as a consumer or as a business owner and read from what the company has determined to be the holy grail of scripts.  Well, perhaps there is one worse thing… having a sales person call without a clue of how to convey his or her point, the value of the call, or ability to discern any of my pain points as it relates to his or her product.   Give me the guy with the script.  At the very least I will be able to follow his side of the call.

The right degree of scripting or call guidance is still being debated today by big and small Inside Sales teams as they investigate techniques to gain lift from their outbound calling efforts.  Some companies hire good sales people and tell them to go to town while others will lock their reps down like a federal prison, with little or no variance from the written word they have placed in front of them.  As is usually the case, the most profitable practice is the middle road.

As a 30-year veteran of the Inside Sales Space, I have had reps working for me that are of the $10 per hour variety and of the 180k per year variety.  Regardless of how talented or how green either one may have been, I would have never scripted their entire conversation.  Nor would I have let either one of them freelance the conversation.  I have heard the argument for years to let great sales people “just sell.”  The challenge I have with this line of thought is that letting great sales people just sell takes the intellectual property that is gained in conversation and leaves it on the table unharnessed.  Often times, companies that are doing very well with a handful of talented sales people fail miserably when they try to scale. They realize that they can’t always find and acquire enough top talent that can work independently to double or triple sales.  Also, as organizations grow, process becomes paramount and the “just sell” method gets supplemented with a more predictable model that can leverage less talented salespeople.  Predictable sales models require one important ingredient – core messaging that is monitored, measured and tweaked for maximum ROI.

As a provider of Lead Management Software where one of our big selling features is call center scripting software, I see first-hand the trends within the Inside Sales space.   Most of our customers do not build out their scripting to be read verbatim. Instead, they offer it as a conversation guide to ensure that their sales person hits the high points, has key company information at their fingertips, has access to the most common objections with tested and proven rebuttals one click away, and can collect data on the fly.  Most importantly, the core messaging that the company has determined provides the best ROI is deployed on each and every call.  The use of conversation guides, paired with technology, goes a long way in making a sales organization scalable.  Think of it as taking 80% of the best-of-the-best and leveraging it across all of your above average, average and below average sales people.

As a former sales manager I wanted my sales people to pour themselves into each and every call without ever losing focus on the fact that it is the core message, and not them,  that delivers the most predictable results.

Good selling,