Sales Managers, How Important are Auto Dialers?

Sales Managers, How Important are Auto Dialers?

Sales Managers, How Important are Auto Dialers? Dialing out without actually dialing?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of decades, I’m sure you’d agree with me if I said that major changes in the sales industry has rendered it almost unrecognizable from what it was twenty years ago.

The old-school concept of outside sales (typified by the image of the salesman doing walk-ins) has vanished, overshadowed by the rise of inbound sales done by tech-savvy sales professionals who perform the entire sales process with the help of CRM and sales acceleration technologies—all without having to leave the office.

Competition is the name of the game, with companies battling it out to capture a share of the market—and technology has emerged as the single biggest driver of innovation in the sales industry. Issues of data analytics, automation, customer engagement and productivity rates often spell the difference between failure and success.

With approximately 4.3 internet connected devices utilized by each person in the planet, customers now have real-time access to accurate information and are able to make informed choices faster than ever. As such, there is greater need for sales representatives to keep up with the growing demand to produce high quality content and services. In this context, sales acceleration has become big business, with US organizations spending an average of $ 2,280 per sales representative per annum on sales acceleration tools alone.

One of the most well-known features of sales acceleration technologies are auto-dialers or predictive dialers, defined by Douglas Samuelson as a “method to determine when computer-determined telephone outbound systems should dial.”

But, you might say, auto dial has been used in the industry since the late 80’s! What’s so special and innovative about something that’s been around for decades?

Well, just like anything else in the industry, the good old auto dialer has also been revamped, maximized and integrated into advanced sales acceleration tools, both for outbound and inbound sales. But before we go on to delve on how auto dialers can help companies reach quotas, improve productivity and increase revenues, let’s take a moment to define just what an auto dialer is, and see the different types of auto dialers that are used in the sales industry today.

Redefining auto dialers

A quick Google search on the definition of an auto dialer will yield a variety of results—which often contributes to the confusion surrounding the different types of auto dialers and their specific features. Basically, a dialer refers to “an electronic device that is connected to a telephone line to monitor the dialed numbers and alter them” based on a pre-defined set of factors or algorithms. Obviously, this definition is extremely generic and needs to be unpacked, to capture the various types of auto dialers that have emerged in the market in the past few years. Some of the more popular types of auto dialers, as well as emergent trends in auto dialing, include:

A predictive dialer is a type of auto dialer that was developed to boost efficiency and productivity within call centers. Simply put, predictive dialers are computer-based systems that automatically and simultaneously call a large group of numbers and pass them on to an available live agent. These dialers make use of algorithms to set the pace of calls based on the availability of agents, average call times, legal restrictions and other factors. On the other hand, power dialers dial numbers only if there are available agents who can take the call.

Inbound call routing refers to the process of automatically and accurately distributing calls to all available agents. This is usually done by simultaneously placing calls to a number of sales representatives or agents in order to shorten the call waiting time.

Fixed dialing is when sales executives are allowed to define a specific number of calls to be handled per agent. Though more commonly used for advocacy and information-dissemination campaigns rather than for sales or marketing, fixed dialing can also be used in some inbound sales scenarios.

Voice broadcasting, also sometimes referred to as robo-calling, allows sales agents to send a large number of guided voicemails simultaneously to a pre-defined call list. These are often used to gather information (via guided surveys, etc), send out payment reminders, promote a new service, or to provide a self-service platform for customers. IVR’s, or interactive voice systems are specific types of voice broadcasts that require engagement/interaction from the customer (i.e. press 1 for new accounts, press 2 for self-service options, press 3 to talk to a customer service representative). IVR’s can either be inbound (used for inbound sales purposes) or outbound.

These are just a few of the many various types of auto dialers used in the sales industry today. So, given the wide array of auto dialers that sales managers can choose from, why exactly are auto dialers considered vital to sales acceleration, especially for inside sales?

More calls, more sales

Simply put, auto dialers help agents clinch more sales. As the old sales adage goes, more calls = more sales. In particular, utilizing an auto dialing system can help in:

Increasing agent productivity and efficiency. Sales teams that do manual dialing have a measly average of 10-15 minutes talk time per hour, most of which is wasted on listening to busy tones, leaving voicemails or scheduling follow-up calls or callback times. Having auto dialing systems can increase talk times by as much as 200-300%. As a result, the agent is more likely to successfully close the sale, thus leading to an increase in company revenues.

Improving personalization of calls. This is particularly important for those engaged in inbound sales, where agent responses need to be tailor-made to fit the needs of each individual prospect or customer. Without auto dialers, up to 42% of sales representatives lack the data that they need prior to making the call.

Pinpointing the perfect time to call. Using advanced algorithms and data from previous calls, auto dialers can accurately predict the perfect time to call a new lead or prospect, thus lessening the chances of rejection.

Improving visibility. Because most auto dialers have the capacity to provide statistics in real-time, agents can harness this data to respond to client queries quickly and accurately. And because the information is accessible to both agents and supervisors, it helps senior level executives track and monitor the progress of each individual agent in real time,

Boosting company credibility. Having an auto dialing system helps boost the company’s credibility in the sense that it ensures that all calls are handled in a uniform manner that is up to par with company and industry standards. Without auto dialers, the quality of calls can vary significantly from one agent to another.

Enhancing agent morale and improving staff retention rates. Productive employees are happy employees. With auto dialers helping agents meet their individual quotas and lessening chances of rejection, the chances of agents quitting their jobs and moving to greener pastures is significantly lower.

Ensuring compliance to industry and legislative regulations. Using auto dialers enables companies to ensure compliance to various industry regulations, as well as national and international laws. This is particularly important in countries like the US or the UK where there are existing laws prohibiting call centers from contacting people on Do Not Call lists.

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Patrick Hogan

Patrick is a Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Tenfold.