This is the #1 reason why cold calling campaigns fail

by Steli Efti
reach-rate.pngWe're so excited about the launch of Close.io's new Power Dialer that we decided to share a bunch of call-related content with you. To learn more about the Power Dialer, read our announcement on the Close.io blog, or visit our website.

Cold calling isn’t dead. Sales teams just focus on the wrong metrics.

Many campaigns fail for one simple reason: low reach rates.

Reach rate isn’t a sexy topic, but it’s an important indicator of your campaign’s success. When I talk to founders and sales leaders about this, the conversation usually sounds something like:

Sales manager: “Our reps make 100 calls a day, but they’re only closing 1 or 2 deals.”

Me: “Okay, what’s your reach rate?”

Sales manager: “Um…”

If you only have data for the top and bottom of your funnel, you don’t know the full story.

Most cold calling campaigns have a reach rate of 10-15%

This isn’t a great number, but it’s a start. If your reach rate is below 15%, you’re dead in the water. At 20-30%, you’re right on track. Anything over 30%, you’re the unicorn of cold calling.

Ultimately, a low reach rate means that your sales team is unproductive. If their average is 10%, that means 90% of their time is wasted on dial tones and voicemails.

So how do you fix low reach rates?

Call people who pick up the phone

This seems obvious, but it usually flies over people’s heads. Just do your homework. If you’ve decided that cold calling is your preferred sales channel, be sure you have a good reason why.

Ask yourself, “Does my ideal customer actually buy over the phone?”

If your decision-makers are CTOs, you might not see impressive reach rates. Yes, this is a generalization, but many of the technical people I know don’t pick up their phones, especially when they don’t recognize the number. On the other hand, I’ve found that public relations, human resources, and marketing executives answer more often than you’d think. Again, this isn’t a rule, just something to keep in mind.

Ask your current customers when and why they use the phone. Learn directly from them and apply those learnings to your sales process.

Have good data

How many numbers on your call list are active? How many still connect to the person you’re trying to reach?

You need to practice basic housekeeping when it comes to your data. Clean up your lists. Update contact information, rather than creating new leads. Take the time to track bad numbers. It’s a few extra tasks, but the occasional maintenance can make your team more productive. Dialing garbage numbers only decreases your reach rate.

Call at the right time

There’s no perfect time for all clients, but Monday mornings and Friday evenings are generally bad for your reach rate. However, this isn’t a universal truth. You and your team might prove the exception to this rule.

That said, if you’re not reaching enough decision-makers, you need to experiment. Shake up your call schedule. Some people have found success by calling CEOs at the office on Sunday afternoons. Others have called super early or during lunch hours.

These are outliers, of course, but the message is the same: try something new. Collect as much data as you can and decide what’s best for you and your team. Ask your existing customers what days and times they prefer to receive calls, and search for any patterns or trends.

Call in a timely fashion

When a prospect opens your email, you need to call them within 5 minutes. Same goes for inbound leads. Studies show that reach rates are 100X higher within 5 minutes of an interaction with your content.

For one thing, this ensures that your product is top-of-mind. There’s plenty of immediate context around your call. Plus, you know they’re not busy, since they just took the time to read your email or fill out your form.

Respond in a timely fashion and your reach rates will skyrocket.

Use the right tools

Does your sales team manually dial numbers? Do they use separate CRM and VoIP software? If so, that’s insane.

One of our customers previously tried a popular CRM solution, and they said it took sales reps an average of 16 clicks to identify a lead, make a call, and log the interaction. 16 clicks. Time is your team’s most valuable resource. When that customer switched to Close.io, they went from 16 clicks to 2 clicks—a productivity increase of more than 10X.

We’ve also developed a new feature to help sales teams supercharge their call productivity: the Power Dialer.

The Power Dialer automatically dials the next prospect on your call list, so you can reach more people with less effort. To learn more about the Power Dialer, check out our announcement on the Close.io blog.

Here are a few additional tips for the days when you're reaching more prospects...

Don’t lose the prospect at hello

You only have a few seconds to make an impression. Use a script, at least for a while, so you’re clear about your goals and your message.

Create an objection management document

Make a list of the 10 most common objections from prospects, then write out a concise response for each one. You want to answer their objections with confidence and clarity.

Find a rhythm

When your reach rates are low, it’s difficult to feel comfortable. Do what you can to stay in the groove. Practice your opener. Smile. Project confidence with every call. Prospects don’t need to hear surprise in your voice, and they certainly don’t need to think you’re having a rough day.

As you plan your next cold calling campaign, remember this advice

If you want to ensure your team’s success, focus on the one metric most sales managers ignore: reach rate. And one day, after some research and experimentation, you’ll become a cold calling unicorn, too.

To learn more about the Close.io Power Dialer...

Read this post from Nick Persico, our Head of Growth, or visit the Call Automation page on Close.io.

And before you make your next call, check out this simple (and proven) sales script template. Download it right now and start closing more deals today!

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