Outbound Sales Best Practices to Convert More Leads
What is an outbound sales process?
It’s simple to think of a sales process where sales reps make outbound calls to get their prospects to answer the phone is an outbound sales process. An outbound sales process is far more than calling from some prospect list or target audience.
In the past, the most challenging part of the sales process for a sales rep was closing the deal, but today the biggest challenge is reaching the prospect. Does this mean that sales cold calling is dead? What about cold email? When 92% of all customer interactions happen over the phone, outbound calls should still be a pillar of your outbound sales strategy. But just because the interactions occur over the phone, that leads to a successful outcome, you first must get your prospect to answer, and that is where cold email and an omnichannel outbound approach come into play.
If your outbound team isn't contacting enough of your qualified leads, your outbound marketing approach may need an update.
These four practical 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 with Appointment Setting Specialists or SDRs
- 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, emails, texts, and other outbound methods.
How many calls?
Most data suggest an average of 8 contact attempts to reach a prospect. That means that 100 leads may require 800 calls. Gartner further suggests, “It takes 18 dials to connect with a buyer." 18 calls!
Research shows that up to 80% of outbound call center agents give up after the third failed contact attempt. This is why calling efficiency is critical, and contact rates have become such an important metric. Your team needs to be equipped to make many calls. You should also think about how integrated or out-of-the-box solutions can help your outbound sales reps use email, text, or other ways to soft touch communicate with a potential customer.
Outbound call center 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 with drip email marketing, texting, or direct mail. Our research shows that only 13–20% of internet leads are ready to buy when submitting an inbound inquiry. If the first few calls fail to produce a sale, structured and integrated marketing campaign activity helps maintain interest and prevent leads 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 many solutions to help you automate email touchpoints through the sales life cycle.
In addition, these solutions help your outbound efforts and can even prioritize leads based on a lead score. Lead scores are calculated based on potential customers opening emails, having a phone conversation, and replying to a text, which help your outbound sales team understand which of their leads have the highest probability of turning into a sale. Some solutions can even automate how leads are assigned to sales reps based on these scores and ensure they go to a better sales rep based on skill if they are stuck with a less productive sales rep.
3. Make sure outbound call center agents have the entire contact history
Equip your agent in your outbound sales call center with each prospective customer'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
Best practices for outbound sales call centers should include a cold calling script for your new or junior outbound sales team. Cold call scripts are an easy-to-reference guide that can help them learn about your products while practicing your sales pitch. Outbound sales agents without the right tools can find themselves caught in awkward silence, at a loss for words, or repeating themselves repeatedly.
It is also beneficial if your outbound sales call center uses Whisper Coaching, Call Monitoring, and Barge software. These features allow your managers to help your junior salespeople and even let them take over a call if necessary, saving your leads from being wasted by a botched sales pitch.
Different prospects may need to be handled differently. Or the call direction may change based on responses to questions. Cold Call Scripts provided to your outbound call center sales agents for all your calls can focus on the purpose of each call and keep the dialogue moving toward the sale.
Think of your call script as a working document. Address shortcomings or objections in weekly meetings. Update your cold call scripts 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.