That’s a big claim, I know. Lend me your ear for a minute and I’ll tell you why it’s more than justified.
Today, we’re talking about predictive dialing. How it’s used to help sales teams reach more people (faster and without wasting time), why it’s been one of the best-kept secrets of large sales teams for years and exactly why we’ve decided to launch it native in Close.io.
But, first things first. If you’re like most salespeople and founders I know, right about now you’re probably wondering what the hell a predictive dialer is.
What is a predictive dialer?
A predictive dialer is call automation software that allows sales teams to dial multiple numbers at once, where the technology behind the dialer detects when a real human answers the phone and immediately routes an available sales rep to that call.
It supercharges your team’s ability to make more sales calls.
If your sales process involves picking up a phone, predictive dialing is guaranteed to increase your number of calls made in a given day, allowing your reps to have more conversations, qualify more leads, book more meetings and close more deals.
And the real beauty in predictive dialing software, is that it shields your sales reps from wasting time. No longer do they need to spend 70% of their call time listening to dial tones, ringing and automated answering services.
Predictive dialing routes you straight to a recipient the moment they answer, thus unlocking more of your reps valuable time to reach and close real prospects, while helping them stay fully warmed up and in the zone throughout the day.
Never before (in any CRM) has predictive dialing been available built-in. Until today.
More conversation. More action.
And once you’ve used predictive dialing, it’s damn hard to ever go back to selling again without it.
Trust us, we know…
It almost seems too good to be true. But you know what really blows my mind?
99% of salespeople haven’t even heard of predictive dialing. Why is that?
Well, to examine this question, let’s take a quick journey through the history of the telephone as a selling tool.
How the telephone revolutionized sales
Before the telephone became a mainstream tool in the modern sales arsenal, selling was very different. You had to physically knock on doors, visit prospects in-person during their hours of operations and hope that a decision-maker would be available.
Up until the 1960s, individual sales reps were very limited in how, where and who they could sell to. They sold almost exclusively to people they interacted with in-person themselves, or on occasion through mutual connections, intermediaries selling on their behalf and by mail order.
This largely confined sales reps to owning specific geographic areas, or territories that they could personally visit and cultivate relationships within over time.
By the 1960s, the telephone (as we understand it today) had already been around for more than eighty years since Alexander Graham Bell first filed his patent in 1876. Coast-to-coast long distance calls had been going back and forth in the United States for over forty years. Telephones had reached tens of millions of households around the world.
Yet still, the telephone wasn’t really an effective mainstream tool for salespeople yet.
Some enterprising sales reps were already making good use of the telephone to reach more customers, sure. But it wasn’t until touch-tone dialing replaced the old school rotary dial phones that sales productivity for individual reps really began to skyrocket.
All of a sudden, sales reps could pick up the phone and dial a prospect in a different geographic area, in a few seconds or less.
The number of calls one person behind a phone could make in a single day, began to dwarf the number of contact points a field sales rep could reach during the same workday.
This realization that salespeople in certain fields could be significantly more productive (and cost-efficient) while sitting at their desks, using telephones to dial prospects, than going out and making in-person visits all day, is what led to the revolution of inside sales.
Companies began experimenting with staffing entire sales teams who never left the office.
They armed their reps with telephones, stacks of prospect lists, calling scripts and let them sell over the phone. Growth was no longer exclusively dependant upon reps in the field.
The number of companies leveraging inside sales continued to grow significantly through the decades as their comparative team costs simultaneously dropped, to the point where it’s now the default choice when building a sales team for most types of startups and SMBs.
Still, selling remained relatively unchanged again, until the software revolution exploded onto the scene at the turn of the century—right around the same time as digital communication mediums like email began to proliferate throughout the workplace.
There were now more ways to reach prospects (over the phone, via email or SMS, and in-person) than ever before—and tools like CRMs were now being built for the express purpose of helping salespeople organize their work, stay on top of their follow ups, be more productive with their time and close more deals than they’d previously ever been able to.
And still… nothing really changed with the telephone.
At least not in the context of helping individual sales reps make more calls, waste less time and close more deals…
Predictive dialing is the phone selling innovation we’ve been waiting for.
And it’s unlocking massive gains in productivity for individual sales reps. Predictive Dialer users in Close.io are making on average, up to 60% more calls per person than users calling with a normal Power Dialer as a result.
How predictive dialing works (and why it’s revolutionizing phone selling)
Picture this… your sales team sits down at the beginning of the day to start making calls from your list of hot leads that just came over from marketing.
You’re already pretty ahead of the curve since you’ve been using a Power Dialer (or something similar) that helps automate your calls to the list—that way your reps aren’t manually dialing numbers or switching between multiple apps during each conversation they make.
But today, you’re testing out the Predictive Dialer. Once your team logs on and starts making calls, the room electrifies with energy. In a matter of seconds, everyone on your team is already talking to prospects.
Something’s clearly different today.
Your reps aren’t hearing dial tones or rings at all, just the sound of prospects picking up on the other side of the line.
Better yet, when they’re hopping off of a call, they’re getting routed directly to the next lead within seconds of leaving the previous conversation.
Your team’s picking up momentum and staying in the zone for hours on end.
Sounds pretty great, right?
Well, that’s exactly what it’s like using a predictive dialer to make your sales calls. And once your reps have tried it, they’ll have a hell of a time ever going back to calling without it.
A predictive dialer does 3 main things
- Shields your reps from wasting time. Roughly 70-80% of time on sales calls today is spent waiting on dial tones, ringing, and automated answering services. Predictive dialer uses technology to identify those key time wasters and immediately drops calls that ring too many times, or enter an automated answering service. Your reps get routed straight to real prospects the moment they pick up the phone, and when the conversation is over, they get sent directly to the next answering recipient.
- Reps make more calls with higher reach rates. Because your reps aren’t wasting time listening to dial tones and rings, they’re easily making hundreds more calls each day—and using the technology behind the predictive dialer to skip the fake numbers, avoid the prospects that won’t pick up, and significantly increase the number of conversations they’re having with real leads on a daily basis.
- Your team stays warmed up and they close more deals. Since there’s no downtime between calls with predictive dialer (except when manually paused), your reps are getting warmed up faster and refining their pitch even further throughout the day by speaking with more leads than ever before. By staying on their A-game for more consecutive calls every hour of every day, the results show that Predictive Dialer users make on average, up to 60% more calls (per person) than users calling with a normal Power Dialer. That means more deals closed.
Those are real results for the bottomline of your business. More new customers.
Here’s what a few of our customers have to say after implementing the beta version of our predictive dialer with their sales teams:
“The feature is a gamechanger. It’s the most powerful tool I’ve ever used as a salesperson in terms of outreach and calling. The truth is, cold calling is not dead. Everyone thinks it’s dead, but the problem is it’s just become inefficient. This changes that.” — Justin Gold, COO at TrueVault
“If there’s one word I had to use to describe it… it’s magic. It not only takes away all of the painful things about communication, it elevates it to a level that nobody has ever experienced.” — Kevin Ramani, Sales Consultant and Startup Advisor
“It’s a way for us to quickly reach out to a ton of prospects. The value of that is we could quickly test sub-segments of verticals.” — Joshua Waller, VP of Sales at Blue Star Sports
Measuring the impact of predictive dialing on sales productivity
In its most simple form, productivity is a measure of output per each unit of input.
For example, using time as the input and revenue as your output, let’s say for every hour your team spends dialing leads, they generate $1,000 in new revenue.
On the backend you know that each new account is worth $200 in revenue, so that one hour of calling typically translates into 5 new paying customers. While it may fluctuate a bit throughout the course of the day, week or month, this holds up as an average over time.
If you want to grow your sales revenue the traditional way (by increasing your inputs and thus growing your output) you’ve got two real options:
- Hire more sales reps to increase your total number of calls made
- Help your reps to be on the phone more hours of each day
Since time is a finite resource, you know you can only do so much for your reps there. Maybe eliminate some meetings from their schedules, trim down their lunch hour, outsource the non-calling tasks that are currently on their plates. But that’s about it.
If you’ve got the budget, hiring more sales reps and scaling your team can be a very smart option. There’s a lot of potential reward, but it also comes with a whole lot of additional risks and responsibilities.
Now you need to train your new reps and get them up to speed, you’ll be loading up your managers up with additional direct reports, finding additional office space to accommodate your team growth, the list goes on…
That’s the old way of getting more output from your sales team.
This model makes the underlying assumption that the number of prospects you can dial in a given hour, day or week is fixed.
It ignores the possibility of being able to significantly change the amount of calls you can make per hour.
And THAT is exactly what a predictive dialer enables you to do.
The new definition of sales productivity is being able to increase your organizational output (# of closed deals) while holding the key inputs constant or even reducing those inputs (same # of team members and no change in the # of hours calling).
In the amount of time an average sales rep makes 50 calls yesterday, they’re making 80 using a predictive dialer today.
That’s why predictive dialing is such a dramatic boost to an individual reps productivity.
Other essential ways to increase your sales productivity
On top of the productivity gains you can net from predictive dialing, there are dozens of other productivity apps, tools, resources and impactful features at the sales rep’s disposal today.
Using a CRM like we’ve built (by and for salespeople) here at Close.io with the goal of increasing individual rep output, arms your team with several of these similar leaps in sales productivity. Here are just a few:
- Smart Views: Having the ability to group your prospects based on key sorting criteria such as geographic location, lead status, source, recent interactions and a nearly infinite number of other data points, means your team can get extremely specific in the leads they’re targeting or prioritizing on a daily basis.
- Bulk Email: Long gone are the days of having to individually email every single lead on your list. By leveraging intelligent bulk email sending to custom lead lists based on dynamic filtering, you can personalize your email (at scale), sort just the leads who will be most receptive to your offer, and exclude everyone else to create high-impact campaigns sending to thousands of targeted prospects with one click.
- Follow Ups: By using our one-click follow up reminders, tasks, and email snoozing features, you’ll never forget to check in on the prospects in your pipeline. We’ll remind your team when to follow up, so you can focus on the more important tasks.
On top of that, our CRM is the only one on the market with built-in calling that keeps your reps inside just one application to do all of their core tasks, saving even more time.
All in all, sales productivity is a field that’s experiencing explosive growth. So if you’re not regularly evaluating your sales tech stack for opportunities to make your team more productive (i.e. increase their output), then you’re leaving deals on the table.
The psychology behind selling (why sales productivity tools work so well)
Tens of thousands of years ago, our brain evolved into a complex decision-making tool for quickly identifying dangerous situations and acknowledging that failure likely meant an untimely death.
Whether at the hands of a predator, rival tribe, starvation or otherwise, failure to survive in these all-too-common life or death scenarios came with a steep price tag. And because the stakes are so high, uncertainty isn’t a luxury we can afford to have in this department.
The oldest part of our brain that’s responsible for these primitive survival instincts, developed to combat these life or death situations, is known as the lizard brain (or reptilian brain).
This is the section of our brain that controls our fight or flight response. It’s what tells us when we should be afraid—and which action needs to be taken to avoid that threat in a split-second.
Our lizard brain is constantly monitoring and analyzing our environment, waiting for situations that warrant signaling fear to the rest of our brain, thus injecting adrenaline and moving us to spring into action when necessary.
Selling simulates a form of this fear.
In its most basic form, selling is a resource exchange.
You’re asking others to give you a resource, usually money, in exchange for some value you’re providing them in the form of your product, service or otherwise.
And this exchange is often packed with uncertainty—especially earlier on in your sales career or when you’re learning to sell a new product.
- Can this prospect afford my product?
- What do I do if they ask for a discount?
- I really need to hit my quota, what’s going to happen if I don’t close this deal?
The list goes on. But remember… we don’t like uncertainty.
It’s when we’re staring in the face of this kind of uncertainty, as we’re picking up the phone to dial a cold prospect or follow up with a lead that’s on the fence, when our lizard brain kicks in and often mistakes that uncertainty for fear.
The act of going out on a limb and asking prospects to give you a resource in exchange for your product or service can easily create a false sense of fear.
Much of this fear—of rejection, failure, embarrassment—can be significantly curbed or eliminated over time with the right sales training process and enough real-world experience that reinforces there’s nothing to fear when selling.
Why sales productivity tools work so damn well
The other most effective way to fight against these subconscious tendencies that often sabotage our ability to sell at peak performance, is through the use of tools, technologies and systems.
Enter: Sales productivity tools (like the Predictive Dialer).
These types of tools are built to be guardrails. Defense mechanisms against our own negative natural tendencies. Barriers to taking action that runs against our definition of sales success.
Here are just a few of the ways sales productivity tools accomplish that:
- Fear of rejection and failure. After a brutal sales call ending in rejection, it’s easy to put the phone down and get up to take a coffee break. One thing leads to another and that fear of repeated rejection leads to procrastination. It’s hard to will yourself to jump straight back into the next call (that could result in more rejection). Tools like our predictive dialer don’t give you the option to contemplate this decision for long, because you’re already being routed to a call with the next prospect on your list. It helps enforce your company’s sales training process and encourages your reps to launch straight into the next call without hesitation.
- Discipline beats motivation. As humans, it’s natural for us to have dips in motivation throughout the day, week, or month. Tools like our predictive dialer and other sales productivity features we’ve built are designed to step in when motivation inevitably fails. They keep reps disciplined and on-task with your sales process and achieving the activity goals you’ve defined as success metrics for your organization.
- Making sales more engaging. The way most teams run their sales calling process today, it isn’t very stimulating, interesting or engaging. There are major mindset drawbacks. And without the right tools (like predictive dialer) upwards of 70-80% of your reps time is being wasted clicking between applications, listening to rings, dial tones, and generally just waiting around to have the chance to sell to someone. This results in lower energy levels and your reps not staying warmed up for consecutive calls or pitches in a row.
Sales productivity tools like predictive dialer help us fight these self-limiting behaviors, natural tendencies and reinforce the right activities that translate into more sales success.
Tools that use automation and technology to help overcome these barriers are uniquely positioned to drive an outsized positive impact on your sales growth.
Remember our chat earlier about productivity?
The beauty of employing sales productivity tools that leverage automation and technology, is that they can dramatically increase your output, without changing your input.
When implemented effectively (don’t worry, we’ll show you how), these types of tools help your existing sales team to close more deals in the same amount of time each week—by being significantly more effective in how they’re utilizing those hours.
So, what’ll it be?
More conversation. More action.
That’s exactly what the Predictive Dialer promises for your team.
It’ll supercharge your ability to make more sales calls—and most importantly—create more opportunities.
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