Outsourcing Telesales

How to Succeed in 5 WISE Steps

Telesales is the fastest growing channel in winery consumer-direct-sales.  Whether you choose to do this in-house or outsource it, we encourage you to take advantage of this sales channel – but be smart about it. Staffing for it requires special skills and training.  As a result, many wineries have chosen to outsource this to a professional organization that deals specifically with winery telesales.

If you outsource, here are five WISE points to remember to achieve the greatest success in this channel.

1. Start Off Right

Your telesales partner needs just as much attention as a new hire.  They will represent your winery when interacting with your customers. What they’ll need:

  • Provide your telesales team with a scrubbed list of phone numbers. They need to connect with your database and pull phone numbers into their call center system. Let them to see where they can help fill in missing information, such as birthdates and email addresses. The team will get off to a faster start building sales with a clean, scrubbed, list.
  • Give them your entire list, not just people that have not ordered in years, and don’t leave out your club members. Update your list regularly.  There has been great success selling to a person who did not make an initial purchase in the tasting room, but then purchased when called 90 days after their visit. They are the professionals who understand how to make the most sales from your database. We say, let ‘em do it!
  • Provide them your Do-Not-Call List. This may include shareholders, board members, or customers who already have a very strong relationship with a staff member who actually sells them wine on a regular basis.
  • Include written information as you would like it shared with your customers – winery history, brand message, wine information including tasting notes and food pairings. Customers can’t taste the wine over the phone, so stories sell, as do great descriptors. Any unique, interesting stories that support the ‘why’ behind the wines or winery are helpful.
  • Be sure to include wine club information – club structures, pricing, shipment wines, and membership benefits. Provide tasting room information – tasting options, how to book, hours open, upcoming events, shipping costs and what states you ship to. Arm your outsourced-team as well as or better than you would anyone answering your winery phone.

Make sure that key internal staff members know you are launching a telesales program. Designate someone from the winery for the telesales team to contact if they need assistance during the evenings or weekends.

2. Schedule a Site Visit

Your telesales partner will assign you account representatives. Invite them to visit the winery and onboard them like a new staff member:

  • Give them a tour and introduce them to the tasting room and wine club staff – anyone that customers may be used to interacting with.
  • Taste through the wines with them, ideally with the winemaker. If all reps are not present, send wines back for them to taste, or schedule a tasting at their office.
  • Give the tasting room the names of reps who are calling customers to avoid comments like “No one by that name works here.” It should be “Yes, he works in an offsite office, so I will be happy to take care of you today.” This helps maintain brand integrity and a seamless connection between the outsourced and internal channels.

3. Sales Focus

Provide your telesales partner with the same products the team has internally. The goal is to make ordering as easy as possible, no matter which channel customers choose.

Often telesales companies are only given a small number of products to sell.  This causes confusion for customers if they get a call from the “winery,” and then can’t purchase across the entire portfolio.  If it’s on your website, your telesales partner should have access to it.

Ensure that you telesales team knows ahead of time about any special offers sent via email, direct mail or social media so that they can speak intelligently when a customer inquires. Make sure that they are able to sell the wines featured.  Limited availability, library wines, large formats and pre-releases are excellent wines to have your telesales team focus on.

4. Treat Your Reps as Part of the Team

Your telesales partner needs just as much attention as your internal team. While the reps do work for another company, it’s important to remember that phone reps take ownership of “their” brands, just like your internal team.

Celebrate sales successes.  Stop by their office with a nice bottle of wine, swag, and kudos to reinforce their loyalty, enthusiasm and connection to your brand.  Invite reps to events such as pick-up or harvest parties so they can see customers face to face.  Enroll them in the wine club so that they get the shipments, read the newsletter, and taste the wines.

5. Hold Quarterly Business Reviews

Meet with your partner to discuss performance and ask for feedback from the phone reps to find out what is working well and where their roadblocks and challenges are.  Review key metrics:  total sales, conversion to order or club, average order size, number of club sign ups and credit card updates. Keep the team on track with everyone having full insight.

Following these 5 simple, yet WISE, tips will ensure that you have the utmost success in this growing sales channel.