The principle behind outbound sales calling is very simple; you call at the right time to reach your customer and make a sale. In practice it can be frustrating, demoralizing, and create exasperation when staff feels that the bar has been set too high with regard to closing sales or even reaching prospects on the phone. Let’s face it, caller ID is in wide use on land lines and cell phones. Anyone looking at their caller ID before picking up a call is actively screening for calls that they don’t want. In fact, a 2011 study by Baylor University showed that less than one percent of cold calls resulted in a closing – whether that was a sale or an appointment.
Legacy Cold Calling Is Dead
The days of calling from dotmatrix printed three by five cards or from Excel spreadsheets has to give way to a more efficient and data driven enterprise. Setting up unrealistic benchmarks without giving call center staff the tools they need is setting them up for failure, frustration, and ultimately another job with someone else. Meanwhile you’re stuck in the same cycle as you train their replacement. Improving your operation by bringing in modern tools such as cloud-based call center software can breathe new life into your operations, more effectively use your agents time, instead of wasting it on dialing numbers on the do not call list, fax numbers, disconnected or changed numbers, and busy numbers.
The Numbers Game
Cold calling is a numbers game, even when you’re using predictive dialing software, you need the data to go along with it. Whether you are calling B2C or B2B gives you another variety of data to focus on. Let’s break down when you are most likely to make contact.
- B2B: HubSpot notes that one of the best times to reach B2B prospects is on Wednesday or Thursday between 8 and 9 AM. Likewise a very productive time of day to make calls is between 4 and 5 PM as prospects are wrapping up their day. The worst days to call? Monday and Friday, while the worst time to call is between 11 AM and 2 PM – when everyone is lunch.
- B2C: Calling customers at home or on their personal cell phones is not just a crapshoot – it is at best a game of roulette. The right combination of circumstances will get you an answer, and possibly a close. However, the probability of someone a) predictably at home during your business hours and b) both willing and able to talk on the phone is not guaranteed. In addition, federal regulations from the FCC limit the hours that you can call. Be prepared to ask the most important question, “What is a good time for me to call you back?”
Grab That Data
Upgrading to modern call center software will give you the data you need in order to more accurately target your calling and follow-up. You’ll be able to monitor how many outbound calls are made, and how many of those calls resulted in a contact, a request for more information, or a request for a call back. For modern businesses in an increasingly competitive atmosphere, data is life.