When I started building the local sales machine at Foursquare, I looked at a market map of almost every single dialing software out there. Things that stood alone, widgets in CRMs, physical VOIP phones from companies like Fusion Connect, mobile apps, and everything in between. It was an arduous process that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. One of the main reasons we started BuildingTheSalesMachine was to help people in the same position make an educated and informed decision when setting up their operation. Picking your CRM is hard enough, and when it comes time to add a dialer to the equation, you can get overwhelmed. Below is a great roundup of what to look for in sales dialing software by Kyle Porter (CEO of SalesLoft) – they are not only one of our great sponsors, but also have great content on their blog that I wanted to share with you.
You shouldn’t need me to tell you the importance of phone calls in sales development (we’ll leave that to the top analysts in the space).
The phone remains an absolutely critical touch point in SDR outreach.
Knowing all that, why do I find so often that sales development teams are not using the phone? And then they miss their numbers. Well they have a good reason. According to John Barrows, “Less and less people are picking up the phone, some executives don’t even have office lines any more, the layers of gatekeepers are getting thicker and harder to navigate.”
So a new element of the sales stack has emerged:
Automated dialer software.
But until recently, automated sales dialing software technologies have only been effective to a small number of businesses because they’ve been hard to test, buy, implement, and use. Fortunately, the internet is changing this. So if you’ve got yourself something like one of the great commercial optimum internet plans for your business and you’re in the market for dialer software (aka in the market to improve sales), then here are the eight functionalities you should look for in automated dialer software:
1. Directly Connected To Your Sales Email Product
You’re already running an email outreach cadence, why on earth would you want to detach that from your phone calls? The best dialers are built by the companies who build the sales email products. They allow the ‘right hand to know what the left hand is doing’ so you can prioritize calls based on email activity, encourage the rep to use both mediums, and make it easy to execute on built-out SDR communication processes.
2. Simple CRM Integration
I’m not talking about three calls with the sales engineers before a two week technical deployment, I’m talking about “click, click, click, done.”
The best dialer products recognize your standard CRM fields and in the case of salesforce.com, they allow for single user oAuth (the most secure and easy way to connect). All activities in the dialer are automatically logged to the correct record, saving you the hassle of logging task activities and notes for calls, VMs, and conversations.
3. Easy Workflow Process With Built-In Accountability
Sales development best practices state you need to dial the 44 people who didn’t respond to this morning’s email. What’s the best way to do that? Through workflows. The best dialer apps know your process and tell you what to do next. They act as ‘bumper guards’ making it easy to hammer through your 44 calls without having to open a bunch of tabs and manually decide ‘what’s next?’
Are you a team leader? Then you know how important it is to ‘tee up’ a call list for your reps and see how well they’ve executed on the back end.
4. Caller ID From The Area Code Of Your Prospect (Local Dial)
Simple concept, easy to use, an absolute game-changer. When you call a prospect in Texas, the incoming call should reflect a Texas phone number. Local presence heightens the likelihood of a connection. Expect it in your dialer solution.
5. Simple Call Recording And Storage For Coaching Moments
How do you improve in anything? You analyze your results and make tweaks. For so long, call recording has been recognized as important but just too complex to simply manage. The right sales dialers such as the ones found at the previous link, will auto record calls and auto store those conversations with a simple web URL inside the activities field of your CRM. Click to listen, review, and be intentional about improving.
6. Automatic Voicemail Drops (Coming Soon)
If you’re making 80 calls a day, voicemails can get tedious and time consuming. In fact I’ve even seen voicemails eat up a third of the time teams set aside to dial! The best SDRs don’t play that way. You want a dialer that allows you to auto-record a handful of messages and drop them automatically when you reach VM. A|B testing voicemails is the next step toward intentional analysis and improvement.
Gone are the days when sales activity was a black box. That said, today’s CRM is not as simple as your Fitbit to tell how you or the team is doing. It’s the same way with old legacy dialer products. You want the simplicity of modern cloud analytics to measure successful call patterns, frequencies, voicemails, and to deliver simple reports of all this data to individual contributors and their team leaders.
8. Simple To Test, Buy, Implement, and Use
This could be the most important element when deciding which dialer to select. The “getting started” phase is super important because it will foreshadow how well the product will work for you in the future. It also foreshadows how you will interact with services and how easily new, exciting features will be released to the platform. Products that let you “try before you buy” are best here. Also, look for dialers that don’t need to use their own telephony infrastructure to serve your calls… there are great voice backbones like Twilio on the market with which these products should integrate.
Bonus points from me!
Building off of Kyles great points, I wanted to throw out the things I looked for
9. Metrics Tracking
Like Analytics above, but the key metrics of activity to track; call times, call volume, times calls happen – all to be instrumented to your sales dashboard. This aligns everyone internally to what is most important. It also lets you have the right conversations with your reps so you can track progress (or lack of) week over week in 1:1s.
Every dashboard solution comes with integrations and APIs these days and your call solution should not be any different. Having the ability to pipe out your activities is essential. You can’t change things you don’t measure, and comparing and contrasting your rep activities against other things happening in the Company is critical. Questions like; How is SDR call volume compared against content marketing? How does phone call volume compare against CPC/SEM efforts? Etc…
(Image courtesy of ShutterStock)