The hardest part of a salesperson's job used to be closing the deal, but today the biggest challenge is reaching the prospect. Does this mean that sales calling is dead? When 92% of all customer interactions still happen over the phone, there is clearly still value in an outbound calling program.
If your outbound team isn't hitting the numbers it should, your calling approach may need an update.
These 4 effective sales tips will get your team moving in the right direction and closing more sales:
- Increase Your Contact Rate with More Attempts
- Warm Up Your Leads
- Give Your Sales Team the Info They Need
- Use Robust Call Scripts that Address Objections
1. Increase Your Contact Rate
Increasing your contact rate is the only way to hit the numbers that will statistically increase your close rate. The best way to increase your contact rate is to increase your dials.
How many calls?
Most data suggest that it takes an average of 8 contact attempts to reach a prospect. That means that 100 leads may require 800 calls. Gartner further suggests that "It takes 18 dials to connect with a buyer." 18 calls! Research shows that up to 80% of outbound sales agents give up after the third failed contact attempt. This is why calling efficiency is so critical and why contact rates have become such an important metric. Your team needs to be equipped to make a lot of calls.
Outbound sales agents that lose interest if they haven't closed after the 3rd call are missing out on a significant amount of business. In effect, they are squandering good leads you have paid for and driving up the cost of acquisition.
2. Integrate marketing activity to warm up your leads
Warm your leads up with drip email marketing or direct mail. Our research shows that only 13–20% of leads are ready to buy when submitting an inbound inquiry. If the first few calls fail to produce a sale, structured and integrated marketing activity helps maintain interest and prevent the lead from going cold. Full integration of marketing activity helps refine lead scoring by determining the level of interest. This doesn't sound easy, but I promise it's easier than it sounds. There are so many solutions out there now to help you automate email touchpoints through the sales life cycle.
3. Make sure sales agents have the entire contact history
Equip your sales agent with each lead's contact history, including inbound inquiries, sales calls, marketing activity, responses to marketing, and any previous order history or customer service contact. With this profile of each lead at their fingertips, your outbound sales agents maximize the ability to close by having the detailed information to fully explore and understand the needs of each prospect on every call.
4. Use Robust Call Scripts that Address Objections
Cold Callings Scripts give your outbound sales team an easy-to-reference foundation. Outbound sales agents without the right tools can find themselves caught in awkward silence, at a loss for words, or repeating themselves repeatedly. Different prospects may need to be handled differently. Or the call direction may change based on responses to questions. Cold Call Scripts provided for all of your calls can focus on the purpose of each call and keep the dialogue moving towards the sale.
Think of your call script as a working document. Address shortcomings or objections in weekly meetings. Update your script regularly to counter objections and ensure that your agents are helpful, communicating clearly, and not wasting their time or the lead's time.
Cold calling is still an essential sales tool, but the rules have changed. It takes more calls to reach a prospect, so each prospect requires more contact attempts to achieve a viable contact rate. Use marketing and sales alignment to warm up your leads. Sales agents need to be well informed and know as much as possible about where the prospect is in the buyer's journey. Finally, with a robust and evolving call script, and the right customer approach, your agents will be ready to close when they make contact.
Learn more about accelerating Outbound Sales here.