It’s time to stop relying on old-school outbound calling tactics. In the past, marketers may have gotten away with a few quick calls here and there. However, businesses and prospects these days are savvier than ever—they know what you’re up to and will hang up the second they hear your sales intro.
If you want your outbound calling strategy to succeed in the future, you need to make some changes. In this guide, you’ll discover strategic ways to improve your outbound calling strategy in 2023 to keep your business ahead of the curve.
What Is Outbound Calling?
Outbound calling is when you initiate a phone call with a prospect to ask for a sale or another business goal. You can do it manually or through an automated system like Drop Cowboy and other call automation tools. Some companies prefer to do this in their own office while others hire outside firms to handle their calls.
The term ‘outbound calling’ is also known as cold calling or telemarketing, which has been around since the early days of business. When thoughtfully executed, it can be a powerful arsenal for building rapport and generating sales revenue.
What Good Outbound Calling Strategies Look Like
You’ll want to take a look at the following considerations when creating your outbound calling strategy:
- According to Call Cowboy, a good outbound calling strategy should be based on a clear understanding of the sales process.
- You should carefully identify what the customer needs and wants from you.
- It shouldn’t be based solely on what your business does but on what solutions you can provide them.
Best Practices To Power Your Outbound Calls
Outbound calling is a strategy that can be used for various purposes. However, it’s essential to utilize the best practice for this type of marketing so that you can use it effectively. Here are nine best practices to supercharge your cold-calling game this 2023:
1. Identify Your Business Goals
No matter how long you spend on the phone or what you do when you’re there, make sure it’s in service of meeting one objective at a time.
So, before you start your cold-calling campaign this 2023, have a clear idea of your goals. The most common goal is to land new clients and generate revenue. But if you’re not a sales-oriented firm, another goal might be increasing website traffic or brand awareness.
Once you’ve identified your goals, you can create a strategy that aligns with them, including:
- Identifying the ideal types of clients for your business
- Deciding who’ll be handling calls and their responsibilities
- Setting a specific number of calls to make each day
- Creating a list of questions that’ll help you get more information about the prospect
If your goal is to land new clients, you might want to focus on cold-calling prospects who’ve been identified as likely buyers or sellers. On the other hand, if your goal is brand awareness, you could instead call local businesses relevant to your industry (e.g., restaurants and hotels). But if you want to generate sales revenue from cold-calling, you might set a target of booking ten weekly sales calls.
2. Engage Your Prospects
Once you’ve set your goals, it’s time to engage your prospect through your script. A good script will help you stay on track and ensure your message is consistent from call to call. It should also provide some structure for keeping track of the conversation as it unfolds.
Your script should include the following:
- The reason for the call
- A short intro about yourself and your business
- A question or statement that helps build rapport with the prospect
- A benefit for the prospect (e.g., saving money on their electric bill)
- An example of how that benefit might be realized
- A call-to-action (e.g., asking the prospect to schedule an appointment)
- A closing statement that leaves the prospect with a positive impression of you and your business
The goal here isn’t to read from your script word for word—that’ll come across as unnatural and stilted. Instead, use it as a guide for the types of questions you should ask throughout the call so it feels more natural.
Here are tips for writing a script:
- Keep it short. People are busy, so keep your message brief and concise.
- Make it personal. Emphasize what you can do for this prospect and how that’ll benefit them specifically.
- Use a conversational tone. Your script should sound like you’re speaking with a friend, not reading from a book.
- Focus on benefits. People don’t buy the way you say it—they buy why they need it and how they’ll benefit from using your product or service.
- Be sure to include a call-to-action: Your script should conclude with a specific next step for the prospect.
Once you’ve tested and finalized your call script, you can proceed to the next step.
3. Create A Prospect List
Before making your first call, you should have created a list of prospects to contact. You can use various online tools or even build your custom database by creating a list of companies that are likely to be interested in your product or service.
Doing this will help ensure that you’re only reaching out to people who might be interested in your offering. You can narrow this list by targeting specific industries, companies with a certain revenue or employee numbers, or even geographical locations.
Prospects can also be any of the following:
- Current customers
- People who visited your website but haven’t purchased anything yet
- Strangers that you find through online searches
The key is ensuring you have a list of people or businesses likely to buy your product or service. If you don’t have any leads, it might be a good idea to start with inbound tactics like SEO and content marketing to help you build up your prospects so that when it comes time for outbound calling, you’ll have enough people to call. The more prospects in your database, the better off you’ll be with outbound calling.
4. Use An Automated System
Automated systems are another key to improving your outbound calling strategy. They allow you to automate making calls from your phone or computer, so you don’t have to dial every single number manually.
Automated systems also save you time by not waiting for each call before starting another one, allowing more time for other tasks like researching your prospects’ businesses and answering emails from clients who’ve already reached out.
- Auto dialer: Once you have this, it’s time for optimization. You should consider implementing predictive dialing software so that calls aren’t placed randomly; instead, it allows for efficiency by identifying customer behavior patterns over time so businesses can maximize their conversion rates.
- Call tracking system: Call tracking is another important tactic for improving your outbound call strategy in 2023. It allows you to understand which calls lead to sales and which ones don’t, so you can start optimizing your sales process from the beginning.
- Call analytics: With call analytics, you can see how many times each contact has dialed into their phone system and what their conversation was about (or whether they hung up after two seconds). This knowledge will help you improve how quickly and efficiently your team responds when someone calls in. It also gives them better insight into what kind of questions they should ask during each call so they’re not repeating themselves unnecessarily.
- Real-time data tracker: In order to know when the best time is to call a prospect, you need to track your calls in real time. It can be done using a CRM system that tracks all of your conversations or a call-tracking system that provides analytics on each interaction. The latter will allow you access to more information than just who called which number and how long they stayed connected with their prospects.
These are just some of the automation tools to elevate your cold-calling strategy. Many other software is available, which you can explore depending on your needs.
5. Consider The Entire Journey, Not Just The Sales
The next thing to consider when you’re outbound calling is the importance of your customer’s experience throughout their journey with you.
Customers will remember how they feel about each point of contact and how they received each piece of contact from you as well as what was communicated at each stage. When customers reach out to you with a question or complaint, it’s also crucial that your team has a good solution ready for them (or at least an understanding).
6. Use A Consultative Approach, Not Hard-Selling
Another strategy to implement in these modern times is the consultative approach. Hard selling isn’t a thing anymore in this age of technology and information.
Here are tips to try when using a consultative approach:
- Be open and listen to suggestions.
- Show that you’re interested in helping your prospect, not just selling your product or service.
- Ask for their opinion and feedback.
You must listen to your prospects carefully and honestly so it doesn’t come off as the ‘I know best, so please do what I say’ type of behavior.
7. Win Over Contacts Through Customer Service
Use excellent customer service to win over contacts that don’t convert immediately. Customer service is integral to any business, but it’s especially important for outbound calling businesses. If the potential client doesn’t get what they need from you and your company, they may never return to you for future business—and if that happens, then all the work you did on building up their trust will be for nothing.
The best way for them to feel confident about continuing their relationship with your company is through great customer service in initial and after-the-fact follow-up calls or emails from other team members at your firm (if needed).
8. Be Transparent About Your Process
Transparency is a crucial element of good business. It means being honest about what you do and how you do it, which builds trust between your company and your customers.
Transparency also has the potential to be a win-win situation for both parties involved. When someone knows what they’re getting into with their purchase or service, they have more confidence in the company offering that product or service—and therefore feel more comfortable spending money with them again in the future.
9. Don’t Take Shortcuts
Finally, make sure that your strategy is effective. Don’t take shortcuts, but also avoid making it too complicated for yourself. There are many ways you can use a system to ensure compliance and increase efficiency. For example, call analytics determines the best time for each prospect on their calendar so you can reach them with the most impactful message possible at that moment in time (and not just during an open slot).
In addition, consider how the above factors affect each other: what happens if someone wants an offer but still hangs up after saying, ‘Let me think about it’? Does this mean they won’t buy anything from you ever again? Or does this mean they’ll still give in to your business because maybe they were interested anyway?
In order to truly understand what’s happening with your sales process, it’s essential to consider all of these factors and more so that you can make better decisions about how to move forward.
Benefits Of Improving Your Outbound Calling Strategy
By improving your outbound calling strategy, you gain several benefits. The primary and most obvious benefit is that it’ll help you increase sales—but this doesn’t just mean you’ll make more money. Improving your outbound calling strategy can also help with things like:
- Customer satisfaction. Improve your customer service and overall customer experience.
- Lowered cost per lead. By increasing the number of leads you acquire with outbound calling, you can decrease your costs per lead.
- Access to more customers. By reaching out to people who wouldn’t otherwise be interested in your products or services, you open up new markets that could generate even more sales than you currently have.
- Improved brand loyalty and perception. By increasing your customer base and improving the quality of your customer service, you’ll improve your company’s brand loyalty and perception.
Outbound calls can be a powerful tool for improving your business. By implementing these tips into your current strategy, you can see improvement in your own outbound calling efforts and start generating more leads and sales today and over time.