When it comes to outbound calling, only one thing matters — conversions. And while the statistics are actually in a sales person’s favor, the reality is that without a proper strategy, outbound calling can be detrimental to one’s business.
So let’s turn that around by understanding how outbound calling works and what you can do to make it work for your business.
What Is an Outbound Call?
An outbound call is a call between a support or sales representative and a potential customer or business partner. They’re considered “potential,” because they’re usu not warmed up to the idea of receiving a call from your business. Hence, why the practice is also known as cold calling.
It’s worth noting that outbound calling is highly popular throughout most industries, which is why it merits understanding.
More often than not, outbound calling is used to generate leads, not make actual sales. Because the truth is people usually need more information before deciding to buy anything. This is especially the case with higher-priced items, like often seen in B2B.
That said, some experienced agents and representatives can land a deal with one single call.
And, with the proper strategy, you can too.
A typical purchase requires anywhere from 5-9 phone calls, depending on the complexity of the product. So at the very least, you can position yourself for greater success when following up.
Outbound calling isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So let’s dig further.
Which Businesses Rely on Outbound Calls?
From low-tech to high-tech businesses, cold calling is used in every industry to get leads. Here are just a few examples of the types of businesses that rely heavily on outbound calling:
- Software development
- Financial services
- Real estate
What Are the Best Practices for Outbound Calling?
Outbound calls can have unexpected results without a calling strategy, so here are some ways for effectively turning that around.
Set Your Goals
The purpose of outbound calls is to communicate the value of your product or service to potential customers or partners. In order to achieve that, every member of your team needs a common goal to work toward.
A number of calls you want your team to make per month is a good start. Additionally, you’ll want to designate your agents based on their strengths. For example, come sales reps may be better at contacting old leads or prospects, whereas others may specialize in breaking the ice with first-time contacts.
Keep in mind that without a specific goal, your team may have a hard time understanding expectations. That said, goals need to be realistic to avoid lowering the morale of your employees. So try to use common metrics when analyzing and measuring your staff’s productivity. Then adjust your goals accordingly.
When running a business, small failures are inevitable.
Cold calling is hard, so not everyone is a candidate for what you sell. In fact, some leads will flat-out reject your pitch, no matter how good it is. And while it can be depressing to hear the same “no, thank you,” over and over again, rejection is a natural part of both outbound and inbound marketing. So it’s vital to analyze and understand the causes for rejection, so agents can adapt their scripts accordingly.
Furthermore, as a team leader, it’s your job to motivate your team, even if their conversion rates are plummeting. Repeated rejection can lower the morale of your team. And that can lead to even more rejection if there’s no encouragement or mentorship.
Train Your Team
Investing time and money in your team is one of the best ways to increase the success rate of outbound calling. Simply put, training your employees is the single best way to turn them into effective sales agents. You can do that by hiring an external company that specializes in training, or you can develop your own training plan using your expertise in the industry.
No matter which approach you choose, you’ll need to keep a record of your team’s calls and review them regularly. That way, you’ll be able to identify problems in your team’s approach and help them find new calling techniques and tactics.
Adapt Your Calling Schedule
There’s no denying that people are extremely busy. So there’s a big chance many of your leads won’t answer their phone. But, you can take steps to prevent that by adjusting your team’s calling schedule based on your target audience’s availability. For instance, if your target audience is composed of office workers, they’re less likely to answer their phone calls between 9 AM and 5 PM. And if your office is on the west coast, but your market is on the east coast, you must factor in the 3-hour time difference.
Similarly, you can use the activity records of prospects that have purchased your service or product in the past to adjust your team’s calling schedule. Take note of the day and time they were initially called and use those metrics to fine-tune your team’s schedule.
Are There Any Alternatives to Cold Calling?
Even though cold calling is extremely effective, more and more companies are alternating between marketing strategies.
Warm calling is similar, but involves making a network connection with prospects before calling them. Like meeting them at a conference.
Another alternative to cold calling is social selling, which focuses on the use of social media platforms in order to interact and share content with prospects. Channels like LinkedIn have Groups you can join to participate in conversations and share thoughts and ideas.
Regardless of which alternatives you choose to supplement your business development efforts, cold calling remains an important part of any company’s marketing strategy, due to its versatility and success rates.
Overall, outbound calling can prove to be a fruitful endeavor for any business. Not only does it allow you to connect with potential customers, but it’s also fast, meaning that your team can reach out to hundreds of leads per day if equipped with the right tools. Put together the right team and define a specific strategy, and outbound calls can be the key to your company’s success.
The sooner you understand the best outbound calling practices, the better you’ll interact with your leads and prospects.
Has your company tried outbound calling to gain new business? If so, how’d it go? If not, why not? Let us know in the comments. And if you have any ideas for future articles, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always looking for new ideas!