Outbound calling is dead—at least, that’s what the skeptics say. In this age of digital marketing, some seem to think that this marketing strategy is obsolete and completely overrun by inbound calls. After all, companies and customers are already online and social media campaigns are all the rage, so it seems like there’s no use in picking up the phone and dialing a number from the local directory. Cold calling no longer works since agents are almost always directed to someone’s voicemail. If they’re lucky, they establish contact with humans only to be turned down.
The truth is, cold calling is dead. Sales reps no longer have a spreadsheet and sales goal to reach. They no longer spend their entire lifetime on the phone, and they are no longer using scripts.
Because of this, cold calls have now shifted focus and technology has automated the process to give rise to outbound calling.
Cold Calling vs. Outbound Calling
Outbound calls have been a key part of tried and proven marketing strategies for many companies over the years. Starting off as cold calls where sales reps randomly dialed phone numbers to adopting automatic dialers, technology was key to the evolution from cold calling to outbound calling.
Outbound calling is a key part of any outbound marketing strategy. Outbound marketing now encompasses:
- Cold Calls
- Cold Emails
- Direct Mail
- Search Ads
- Social Media Ads
- Trade Shows
- TV/ Radio Ads
- Print Ads and Releases
Cold calls and cold emails now operate based on a contact list that contains prospects, or those that show interest in your brand as well as your products or services. Direct emails are direct in the sense that these are used for follow-up or feedback. Ads run on all types of platforms and are tailored to suit the channel where it is published. The common purpose of all these methods of outbound calling is to bring the brand forward to as many customers as possible and establish contact with interested individuals or companies.
Why Outbound Calling Matters
As marketing strategies continually focus on a more personalized approach, giving a voice to your company is needed now more than ever. Consumers are seeking brands who know their users, and person-to-person communication can definitely address this need. Be it by using vanity numbers, energetic and assertive sales pitches, or friendly solicitations for feedback, outbound calling can give you a definite edge in this era of customized engagements.
Reasons to Improve Outbound Calling
While these outbound calling solutions are guaranteed to work for your business, there’s always room for improvement as some channels may no longer be as effective. A 2019 survey shows cold emails and cold calling as the most effective methods to put your brand forward while print ads, trade shows, and press releases no longer entice customers as they once did. This tells us that cold calls and cold emails continue to be useful strategies for businesses, so turning these up a notch will surely help you reach your business goal.
1. Your voice is your brand
Saying that the market out there is tough is a bit of an understatement. If you want your business to thrive, you need to make sure your brand stands out. Outbound calling serves to give your brand a voice above the buzz of myriad campaigns from your competitors.
Intelligent or smart calling gives you the advantage of using technology and creativity to impact your customers. Making phone calls using tools like the Call Cowboy Autodialer can help you manage your contact list and ensure that you get through to your customers. This lets you maximize your time on the phone and ensure that you reach your actual prospects, not just voicemails or annoyed assistants.
Cold calls need not be as cold—rather than using boring, mechanical scripts, you can add some of your own personal flair to customize your calls. Your opening spiels can serve as formal introductions of the company and the agent speaking on its behalf while your personal humor and stories can make the script lively and engaging. Armed with customer information from your company’s data analytics, you can get to know your customers better and know how to address their needs.
Consumers find it a relief to know that someone human is on the line, and a voice that demonstrates enthusiasm will surely make a sale. An emphatic and empathetic tone can assure customers that their concerns will be resolved. Your tone when dealing with customers speaks volumes as to how approachable and reliable your brand is.
Lending your voice when establishing initial contact with a lead is essential since it promotes trust and encourages potential customers to further their engagement. Maintaining a warm and accommodating tone across all types of outbound methods can ensure clients will listen to you as you make a sales pitch or solicit their feedback.
2. Reduce noise from the competition
As mentioned above, outbound calling is a key tool in your outbound marketing toolbox. While prospects may find you online from an ad that they’ve clicked or a post they reacted to, calling them for a follow-up nurtures their interest and helps you further their relationship with your brand. Cold emails can also help you gain leads and retain the customer’s interest. This way, you are sure to gain their undivided attention. This also gives you the perfect opportunity to tell them what makes your brand stand out from the rest and how it can give them what they need.
Experts also advise that your main purpose in calling be to expose customer ‘pain points.’ These pain points are circumstances that show the relevance of your brand in addressing customer’s needs and compel them to attach with your brand.
As you begin to build a connection with your prospect, probe to figure out their concerns, then slowly work your way to presenting possible solutions that can ease their concerns. Once they’ve warmed up to you, you can begin your crafted sales pitch.
3. Speak for sales
The end goal of all your outbound marketing techniques—cold calls, direct email, and social media ads—all boils down to achieving one thing, which is driving company sales. This is the measure for all your efforts—if your methods don’t result in purchases, then it’s time for you to change your strategy or shift to a more effective tool than what you’re currently using.
One way you can achieve more sales is by using a toll-free 800 number. Toll-free numbers allow you to direct all customer calls into one channel that can boost your company’s image and credibility. What’s more, vanity numbers tend to promote great recall (ex. 1-800-Bread) and entice customers to pick up the phone without much hesitation to make a purchase. Given that calling an 800 number is free of charge, customers can easily gain access to your brand and, in turn, bolster your connection with them.
Vanity numbers are a remarkable tool as they enable you to extend the phone number to other outbound marketing methods (ex. Toll-free number+ number for the website, another for print) and gauge the effectiveness of each. This then gives you insight as to what part of your outbound marketing customers are most responsive to and what strategies need some modifications. Having your own toll-free number not only works for your customers, but it can also benefit your business.
Getting the customer to purchase at the end of your call is great news, but sometimes the timing is off and you might need to reschedule a call. You have to be patient though, and remember you are building a relationship and not just a one-time sales transaction. You can think of your first call as an initial stage of a customer-provider relationship, and that in time you will be able to win their trust and confidence to eventually agree with a sale.
4. Schedule a follow-up
Scheduling follow-ups can actually work in your favor since your customer knows that you are intent on continuing contact and it is only a matter of agreeing when would be the best time to call given their hectic schedules. You can book an appointment with your client and even use tools to make sure that your meeting is synced to their online calendar. You can even provide alert notifications to remind both parties the day of the call. Once the appointment is set, you can proceed to your scheduled follow-up call.
Experts suggest that you make your intentions known at the beginning of the call so as not to take up so much of their time. This way, you can show your customers that you value their time as much as they value theirs.
You can also employ email as an alternative when asking for a follow-up call for your clients. As with phone conversations, your email should state the exact date and time then have the customers choose from a variety of options. Once they commit to a date, finalize it into your calendar and prepare yourself for your follow-up call.
5. Fish for feedback
Feedback measures how well your campaign is working and pinpoints areas of improvement. In the case of phone conversations, customers may be more than willing to give you an honest review knowing that your company has given considerable effort in contacting them. Asking for feedback on the phone enables customers to open up and their responses may even inform you about things you haven’t considered before.
Emails can also help you gain feedback from customers without taking up as much of their time. You can provide details regarding your request and include a feedback form for them to complete. Once you receive their reply, make sure you acknowledge their participation and send them a thank you note.
To wrap it up, improving on cold call and email strategies enhance your business’ ability to establish your voice in a competitive market. It ensures that your brand is heard above the noise of the competition by exposing customer pain points and providing solutions. Sales remain imperative but it runs alongside personalized connections that are made possible through call-initiated feedback.
In this digital area where everyone and everything is online, hearing someone whom you can actually talk to and show genuine concern can make a few minutes on the phone worthwhile. Outbound calling serves to restore the ‘human voice’ in business-initiated conversations. It provides much-needed interaction and paves the way for a closer relationship between brands and their customers. It reinstates the interpersonal connection between humans and serves as a channel for empathy and understanding.
Improving calling capabilities involves adopting a customer-oriented perspective. This leads to greater flexibility in the ways that sales reps handle their calls, prioritize customers over sales, and listen to customer concerns over bullet points in a script. Cold calls no longer exist as sales transactions but function as initial contacts that move towards greater commitments until a deal is eventually reached.
Technology is another means to improve your outbound calling and sales capacities. Automation, with the use of innovative tools like dialers and toll-free numbers, makes outbound calling more efficient. These methods generate better prospects and lead to better sales.
Outbound calls also serve as great ways to create appointments for follow-ups and as a channel for customer feedback. Emails, whether they be cold or direct, also form part of an effective outbound marketing strategy and share more or less the same benefits as cold calling. This serves as an alternative venue for setting follow-up appointments and gathering suggestions from customers.
Contrary to what skeptics may say, outbound calling remains more relevant than ever thanks to a more informed and personal approach to calling prospects and sending pertinent emails. Companies can still rely on outbound calling to ensure sales and customer engagement. It is just a matter of putting on a warm and friendly tone for your calls and emails and personalizing your interactions with leads and customers.