7 September 2020

What are outbound calls and should you use them?

It’s a popular claim that outbound calls are dead. But are they really? In this article, we discuss what they are, their advantages, success metrics, and whether or not you should use them.

 

You are reading the Business Development, Services and Marketing (BDSM) Blog. Named to reflect the punishing amount of discipline required to master the core tenets of the industries we service, we blog about current affairs, industry tips, tech developments and more.

  Written by

  Faye Chong

  Content Marketer

Outbound calls are dead! Or so says the haters.

In recent years, inbound strategies have been placed on a pedestal and have been deemed to be the superior lead generation method.

But as with anything in the business world (and life in general, really), it depends on the context. This means that your business goals, company size, and the industry you are in, all play a role in determining which lead generation strategies work best for you.

In reality, phone calls are actually the second most effective way to reach prospects for many companies.

Let’s explore what outbound calls really are and whether or not you should use them.

 

What are outbound calls?

An outbound call is an outgoing call made by your sales rep to a potential lead. It can be in the form of a cold call to close the sale, or simply following up with a lead who expressed interest on your website.

They are also often referred to as cold calls. While similar in nature, the main difference is that outbound calls actually rely on data-driven research.

This means that more research has to go into generating the list of customers to call.

For example, using technographics give insight into the technology and tools used by your potential customers. This helps to personalize your pitch in each outbound call to effectively match your value proposition to their needs.

It is common for sales teams to set up call centers to reach out to potential customers. Furthermore, many businesses also choose to outsource their call centers to businesses in other countries with lower labor costs instead. These are all strong indicators that there is a lot of value in outbound sales calls.

 

Who uses outbound calls the most?

Businesses in various industries still use outbound calls as part of their lead generation strategies. Some of these businesses include:

  • Tourism businesses
  • Insurance companies
  • Banking and financial services
  • Software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies
  • Telecommunications companies
  • Commercial real estate

And this list is not exhaustive!

Both business-to-customer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) companies use outbound calls in their sales strategy. In particular, it is more commonly used among companies that sell high ticket products and services, as well as those that provide high-touch services.

Prospects will need more convincing, a walkthrough of the product or service, and perhaps even a live demonstration.

That’s because selling high-value items require proper and deep conversations with prospects to uncover the real value of your product offering. If you’re able to provide a solution, they’ll most likely purchase from you.

 

Outbound call dialers

Dialer software are at the very core of call center operations. They dial phone numbers from a list of contacts, or from contacts found within a business’ CRM system.

Dialers aren’t only used by call centers, but it can be used by businesses that have their own call center teams.

Let’s take a closer look at how the different types of dialers work.

Manual dialer

As its name suggests, is a basic dialer where reps have to manually key in phone numbers one after the other.

 

Novocall’s dial pad allows you to manually key in phone numbers to contact prospects.

Manually key in prospects’ phone numbers with the dial pad.

 

It is commonly used by smaller companies and call centers that have fewer contacts to call.

Preview dialer

The preview dialer allows reps to check the potential lead’s information before calling them. This dialer is useful for giving reps some time to prepare before making the call.

 

Preview prospects’ information such as their name, phone number and comments given before making a call.

Preview prospects’ information before making a call.

 

Power dialer

Also known as an autodialer, a power dialer is an automated outbound dialer.

Once the reps’ previous call has ended, the dialer will automatically dial the next number in the queue. Power dialers can also make multiple calls at any one time.

Sometimes, your calls can’t get through. Your prospect’s line may be busy, or the number you dialed was simply disconnected.

When you can’t get through to the numbers you dialed, power dialers move on and dials the next number in line.

Invalid numbers won’t be delivered to reps. This, in turn, maximizes their time on the phone.

Predictive dialer

Predictive dialers also make automatic outgoing calls and screens out unanswered calls.

 

The predictive dialer dials multiple numbers and answered calls are connected to agents.

Predictive dialer calling multiple contacts. Source: CallHub.

 

What’s different is that predictive dialers have the ability to utilize call metrics to predict the moment when your reps will be available to make the next call.

In other words, if the call center has an influx of calls and many reps are busy, the predictive dialer will slow down or stop its outreach until it detects that reps are nearing the end of their calls.

Larger call centers or companies usually use predictive dialers to help scale the number of live connections.

 

Benefits of outbound calls

1. Provide human connection

Unlike ads, emails, or pamphlets, outbound calls provide actual conversation between two human beings. In fact, people tend to trust businesses that provide human communication more than those who don’t.

Furthermore, having human interaction can help you build a better relationship with your prospects. This allows you to better understand the personality of your customers, which will help you craft better strategies on how to market to them.

2. More preparation time

Scripts are often used when making outgoing calls to potential customers because a well-crafted pitch is important to capture the contact’s attention immediately.

Reps also have time to practice and read through their scripts before making the call, instead of being taken aback by incoming calls. This better prepares them to handle the call and manage the call flow.

3. Highly personalized outreach

Instead of sending emails or letters that will most likely get ignored, reaching out to each individual prospect makes outbound calling a highly targeted and interpersonal form of outreach.

After all, some research has to be done before contacting the prospect, so reps have an idea of who they are chatting with over the phone and can immediately address their pain points.

4. Identify valuable prospects

As reps have the chance to speak directly to prospects, they can identify and approve valuable leads almost instantly. This allows your reps to clean up contact lists that have “bad leads” to improve their outbound calling efforts.

Outbound calls can also be a platform to learn more about your customer pool by slipping relevant keywords in the call (eg. call tracking features, callback automation software) and gauging their reactions.

5. Unrestricted boundaries

With outbound calls, you can easily expand your business across borders by making international calls to prospects.

You no longer have to set up a foreign office and accumulate additional costs!

Furthermore, the feedback you get about your product is immediate. Your prospects simply tell you over the phone. Couple this with the own market research you’ve done and you end up with a more holistic understanding of a foreign market.

 

Key metrics for outbound calls

That being said, how can you be sure that you’re enjoying the benefits of outbound calls if you’re not measuring your success?

To help you with that, we compiled a list of some of the most valuable outbound calling metrics to pay attention to.

Average call duration

This metric refers to the time reps spend on the call. Long call durations could possibly indicate that the lead is genuinely interested in the product.

I mean, why else would they spend so much time talking to you?

Call volume per agent

It is a metric that tracks the efficiency of each rep that helps businesses keep track of the number of calls each sales rep makes.

This can help identify reps who are underperforming and give Sales Managers.

Businesses can use this information to give incentives to reps who have achieved a high call volume to keep them motivated.

Conversion rate

It is the percentage of calls that resulted in a successful outcome.

Depending on business goals, some metrics include the number of sales or appointments made after the call.

First-call close

A high percentage of first-call closes show that reps are able to sell efficiently on the first try.

Businesses can use this information to ensure that high performing reps handle the majority of calls.

List closure rate

This refers to the percentage of prospects that were closed in comparison to the total number of potential prospects targeted.

Low list closure rates could indicate problems with the call list. Reps should tweak the list to ensure that targeted prospects are more receptive to the calls.

 

Should you use outbound calls in your lead generation strategy?

We don’t deny that many deem outbound calls to be invasive. But it is still a fantastic lead generation method to reach out to people who are accepting of them.

In fact, for the industries we mentioned above, they thrive on outbound calls.

So why not do both inbound and outbound? This way, you can maximize your lead generation efforts.

The next question is, which software is the best one?

To help you understand the outbound call software space better, we’ve prepared a list of 20 outbound call solutions. Check it out to learn more about some of the best competitors out there!

 

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