Outbound calling is one of the oldest ways to make sales. The method has lasted as long as it has because it is powerful enough to increase brand awareness, help you obtain valuable leads, and generate revenue. Outbound marketing allows your business to reach a wider audience and see quicker results than most inbound tactics.
Still, ensuring you’re doing outbound contact correctly is the only way to achieve these results. If you own or manage a call center, it is important to follow best practices. When you do, you’ll be rewarded with great performance and sales, the backbone of any good outbound call program.
Read on to learn more about outbound call center best practices, whether this service is right for your business, and how you can use it to drive revenue and growth at your organization.
What Is Outbound Calling, and Is It for You?
The best way to define outbound calling is in the context of inbound marketing. Inbound marketing involves bringing in potential customers and having them reach out to you when they’re ready to learn more or purchase.
Outbound marketing requires being proactive. You must contact prospective clients with an offer for your products or services. You can also use outbound calls for other reasons, such as market research, surveys, and post-sale follow-ups.
But should you add outbound contact center capabilities to your organization? This decision is truly a matter of whether your goals and current resources support the practice. Outbound calling is resource-heavy. As a result, you will need the technology infrastructure, office space, and a well-trained team to do it well.
The 8 Vital Outbound Call Center Best Practices You Need to Follow
Once you have the necessary resources, it’s almost time to make calls. Before you dive in, take the time to familiarize yourself with best practices for outbound calling. Train your team to implement these practices and continue to ensure they’re well-applied for consistent results.
1. Know Your Goals
Before you can succeed with outbound calling, you must be clear on what you want to accomplish. For this reason, it’s important to set goals and select key performance indicators that align with and facilitate them. A few examples of goals you may have and KPIs to track to meet them include the following:
- Shortening the sales cycle: Lead response time and first call closes
- Making more sales: Lead conversion rate
- Agent productivity: Calls per agent or Pause rate
Knowing your goals and selected KPIs helps you properly support agents and get the results you’re looking for.
2. Update Your Lists
It’s always a good idea to ensure your call lists are current. Your outbound marketing can be stopped by outdated lists or databases full of people who aren’t interested in your products or services.
If you cannot reach people, you can’t sell to them. And if they’re not interested, you won’t make any sales even if you can contact them. For these reasons, you must make sure your lists are high quality.
3. Use the Script Appropriately
You spend a lot of time crafting your sales script because you expect your agents to use it to get the sale. While agents must stick to a proven script when making sales calls, it’s equally important that they be able to adjust their approach to meet a customer’s needs.
It’s also important that your sales script be a dynamic document that can be changed and optimized over time. Continually testing and refining your script will help you get better results.
Remember that neither your agents nor your customers are robots. Flexibility allows for a human connection that fuels the sales process.
4. Keep Impeccable Records
A lot of information is exchanged during the sales process. Delivering value is about listening to the potential customer and then discerning what they are not saying. Agents must be able to judge tone, spot hesitation, and get people to talk about their pain points.
Outbound call center agents must record all this information so that it’s easy to craft responses and follow-up communications. When you remember a customer’s unique needs, you can build trust and increase customer satisfaction. Keeping good records helps you accomplish this goal and get more sales.
5. Always Follow Up
Closing a sale on the first call is always the goal. However, don’t rely on that as the norm for your call center. Most customers need you to follow up with them before making a purchase.
Consequently, you must ensure that agents keep good notes and put follow-up contacts on the calendar. They should also remain bold enough to pursue qualified leads.
6. Leverage Technology
You must invest in the right technology to set your sales reps up for outbound call success. You’ll need a good digital phone system that connects to robust call center management software.
Using predictive dialers is a good way to minimize agent downtime and get in as many calls as possible. Artificial intelligence can provide real-time coaching and integration with tools like your customer relationship management app and order management system, which are vital for boosting productivity.
7. Consider an Omnichannel Approach
Although you are running an outbound call center, don’t limit your outbound sales channels to just phone calls. So many good forms of outbound marketing don’t involve being on the phone. For example, you might consider reaching out to customers via text messaging. The average SMS open rate is 98%, with click-through rates close to 20%.
You can also consider outbound email and social media marketing. These methods are highly convenient and familiar to prospective customers.
8. Provide Incentives and Training
To facilitate agent success, your onboarding and sales training should be robust. Your team should know how to carry a value-driven conversation, how to overcome objections, and where to find the product or service knowledge base to answer questions accurately.
However, you must continue to support your agents beyond their initial training. Help them understand their KPIs and monitor calls to ensure their behavior is aligned with their goals. When necessary, provide feedback about their work and allow them to discuss their challenges.
Always make sure to provide encouragement and incentives. This keeps your agents motivated and makes them feel appreciated.
Providing Value to the Customer Is the Key to Success
Outbound marketing can generate a lot of sales for your business. However, it’s crucial to remember that outbound calling is about how much value you can add to a customer’s life or business. The cyclical nature of sales is that focusing on that value is what helps you close more deals.
Following these best practices in your outbound call center is vital because it helps you keep the customer in focus and accomplish your goal of providing value. When done right, outbound marketing has the potential to bring success to every party involved. These reasons alone make it worthwhile to keep up with best practices and ensure agents put their best foot forward with every call.