One of the most common questions our sales and customer success teams hear is what is the best way to create an outbound calling strategy?
There could be a number of ways to answer this question depending on your sales process and business objectives. For the most part, list selection depends on the goals you want to achieve and your objectives.
Tip #1 - List-based calling is more productive than random dialing
Being organized is a proven method of improving productivity. Having a daily plan is a second reliable method to keep yourself on track. I like to make a list of my daily projects, meetings and appointments so I don't get surprised. We have learned from our customers that providing business development and inside sales reps with a daily or weekly calling plan is more productive than 'one-off' random dialing." In fact, in our webinar, "Sales Productivity Trends", our audience indicated that 70% of their companies have formalized sales processes in place.
Liaison Technologies learned that a lot of the (sales team’s) day was spent doing research, making the direct dials, then sending an email. According to Steve Haverdink of Liaison's Enterprise Data Group, “We were doing a lot of ‘one-off’ campaigns. Now our sales representative selects a calling list in Salesforce.com."
Tip #2 - Using a Process-Based Dialing Strategy
Once you know that you want to use a list-based process, the next big decision is how to organize your lists. A big question we hear is who do you call first? Another question is how do you prioritize? Again, your internal sales process will be a major factor in this decision. The most straight forward strategy is to use a dialing method that matches your sales pipeline process. In most cases that starts with prospects or leads and progresses through the sale.
Eagle Point Software develops tools that help users of Autodesk software work more productively. “Every salesperson has 4 one-hour calling sessions every week,” according to Executive Vice President, Randy Ambrosy. “Accounts that are the closest to close we call first, the deals that are newest into their pipeline we call last, then if we have executed through all of their calls, we load prospecting calls into that list so they’re prospecting at the end of their session. Commonly they’ll be able to plow through their entire pipeline during that session.”
Tip #3 Persistence Can Make a Difference
It's a fact, as social media, email, and texting are becoming more commonly used in business sales, getting a decision maker on the phone continues to get harder. Industry studies estimate the average number of attempts to reach a decision maker on the phone can range from 7 to 10. For C-Level executives, that number can be as high as 20 attempts. The other often quoted fact is that the best sales reps will often be the most persistent.
Steve Serpa, Inside Sales Manager for Xangati, Inc. helps IT leaders manage virtualized data centers is one of those inside sales reps who doesn't give up. "I call them until I speak to them live,” said Serpa. “Our sales dialing solution has really been great as far as contacting people and getting in touch with people we’ve been having a hard time connecting with.”
Tip #4 Inside Sales Reps Need to be Flexible
Sales reps in fast-growing companies know that marketing strategies and new product releases can come fast and furiously. Being able to adapt to a changing environment can help sales reps. be more productive. Being able to call to multiple lists and change the contacts while dialing helps sales reps stay focused on dialing.
I like to change my list as I’m calling, "explained Steve Serpa from Xangati, Inc. I can easily check a name and the dialing agents won’t call that number."
Tip #5 Sales Dialing Automation Integrated with CRM Makes List Dialing Feasible
Using technology can help companies boost their sales velocity (i.e. shorten the sales cycle), increase outbound calling productivity, and reduce administrative costs. Sales dialing software uses lists created by CRM systems like Salesforce.com or Oracle CRM on Demand. When sales reps. complete conversations they can record their activity notes and instantly synchronize with the CRM. This tight integration eliminates duplicate entries and allows reps. and managers to monitor calling activity on a real-time basis.