Here’s some food for thought. When it comes to the sales process (or the prodigal ‘sales cycle’), who do you think is at the steering wheel? Ask any experienced salesperson, and the answer would be the same - the decision-maker.
With that being said, the speed and accuracy with which salespeople are able to reach decision-makers can single-handedly drive the revenue of entire organizations.
Let’s understand this with an example. Consider a scenario where an organization deploys 20 salespeople, with each making about 50 calls per day for 280 working days a year. An increase of a mere one phone call in the connect rate of a salesperson would generate 5600 more sales conversations per year (assuming a 10% connect rate).
Read that again. Get it?
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only do direct dials numbers quantitatively boost the conversations with prospective customers, but they also bring unprecedented finesse in terms of closure quality. For instance, a sales executive who uses direct dial is 147% more likely to reach prospects at the VP level. Moreover, it takes only five minutes to connect with prospects by using direct dials, as compared to 22 minutes when using switchboard numbers.
So let’s get to the chase and understand what direct dials are all about, why you should be paying attention to them, and how you can leverage them in your day-to-day sales activities.
Understanding Direct Dials (the ‘What’)
At the process level, ‘Direct Dialing’ is a concept that speeds up the process of prospecting customers by enabling outreach to verified desk extensions and cellphone numbers without any facilitation. This enables salespeople to directly contact leads without wasting time on gatekeepers or switchboards. The idea is to acquire or create a verified database of contact numbers, known as ‘Direct Dials,’ that enable salespeople to connect with decision-makers directly. In this way, they help to optimize the sales cycle for speed and accuracy, helping sales reps to become more productive and close more leads.
Benefits of Using Direct Dials (the ‘Why’)
On the face value, both math and logic seem to hold up when it comes to direct dials. But are there any real, long-lasting implications of deploying the concept in your current sales scenario? As it turns out, the impact is profound and long-lasting:
1. Higher Probability of Profitability
Direct-dial phone numbers have an immediate impact on the time that it takes to locating and contacting leads. To make things even sweeter, sales reps end up shelling out lesser resources to chase the leads and convert them. All this and more leads to an obvious reduction in the lead acquisition costs. Since sales targets can be met faster through direct dial numbers, the extra time can be invested in expanding the sales funnel by reaching out to more prospects.
What does this lead to? Better and long-lasting positive effect on profits.
2. Boost in Productivity of Sales Reps
Armed with the ability to reach decision-makers faster, connections can be made more easily, and sales reps can instead focus on nurturing the leads. While increasing productivity, this brings an obvious shift in the mindset of sales reps as they go from spending time to connect with leads to building rapport with the customers.
Research suggests that only 33% of the time of sales reps is actively spent in selling activities, with the remaining part of the day being spent in tasks such as management of email lists, data entry, research, and call scheduling. This automatically brings us a logical conclusion that spending time on connecting to cold leads is strictly unwelcome.
3. Reduction in Call Reluctance
Imagine going through the ordeal of making phone calls to random people that you have never talked to before, only to be turned by a human firewall of another person that promises to get your message across but never does. Welcome to Sales 101.
‘Sales’ is often not about the most hardworking rep. Instead, it boils down to the motivation to prospect and self-promote (subtly). A lack of this motivation is what is known as the ‘Sales Call Reluctance,’ where an emotional hesitation creeps in when sales reps start self-questioning. And this is often the case when reps lack the necessary data that they need to reach their target accounts. Direct dials give salespeople their required dose of self-confidence and belief to keep the wheels turning.
4. Enablement in Targeting Higher-level Decision-makers
Decision-makers are the lifeblood of all sales activities. Entire sales processes revolve around the accuracy and intensity of engaging with them. While being armed with accurate direct dial data, sales reps are under a righteous impression that they will be able to easily target and reach high-level decision-makers, without having to waste time on alternative strategies. Hence, sales reps are more likely to target the right decision-makers and ensure that the quality of their pitch is not undermined in any way. They are more motivated to aim higher and work harder, boosting results for the entire organization.
The immediate result? Every sales cycle begins with the decision-maker.
5. Easier Sales Enablement and Training
Training and development is an important and never-ending facet of sales. This holds importance, especially for new sales reps who have recently joined the organization and have to go through a comprehensive learning curve. Without the provision of direct dial numbers, sales managers would have to include entire workflows on how to manage situations where sales reps are unable to reach decision-makers. This not only adds another layer of management but also increases crucial metrics such as employee monitoring and onboarding time.
All this can be easily avoided with the decision to leverage direct calling.
Implementing Direct Dials to Boost Sales (the ‘How’)
If you thought prospecting was hard, consider this statistic - it takes eight phone calls on an average to reach a prospect. So if your sales cycle seems incoherently long, maybe its time to focus on reducing it. And using direct dials phone numbers is the obvious way forward here.
The implementation of direct dial numbers begins with the creation and maintenance of a reliable B2B contact database that contains relevant information heads such as:
- Company name
- Physical address or geography
- Social media handles
- Core industry
- Company size
- Decision maker
- Email address
- Phone number
Making such a list is the cornerstone of any direct dialing effort. Here is how you can embark on this journey and gather the building blocks of a reliable direct dial number list:
1. Profile Your Ideal Buyers
Since the decision-maker is the core stakeholder of this exercise, it is crucial to learn as much as possible about them. This begins with segregating and profiling them to ensure that resources are invested in only those leads/prospects that are more likely to convert. This is also known as the Buyer’s Persona and should include details such as:
- Description of personal demographics
- Details of educational background and career
- Prospect’s title and job role
- Process of measuring job performance
- Details of the internal reporting structure
- Description of a typical workday
- Skills required for his/her job role
- Knowledge and tools required for the job
- Primary job responsibilities and challenges
- Definition of success in the job role
- Unique Selling Proposition of their products/services
- Key Performance Indicators used to measure goals
- Process of tracking the required results
Both the relevance of the questions and the quality of the information gathering process will dictate the success of direct dialing here.
2. Know Your Total Addressable Market
Once you have an overview of the ideal buyer, it is time to gather details of the Total Addressable Market (TAM). It is defined as the total available opportunity for a product or service in current market conditions. Simply put, it is the total amount of money that can be made in the current market and corresponds to the total demand for the product/service. It can be easily calculated by asking the following questions:
- What are the characteristics of potential customers?
- What industries is the company likely to sell into?
- What are the geographical locations of such companies?
- What is the size of the companies that buy the solutions?
- What growth metrics is the market clocking?
- What is the expected growth of the market?
TRY IT NOW: CALCULATE YOUR TOTAL ADDRESSABLE MARKET
3. Collect Contact Data of B2B Prospects
The most important and tiring ordeal on the list, this is the defining step of your direct dialing guide. Searching the Internet for accurate details is like shooting an arrow in the dark. The only way to verify the details is to actually put them to use. And by the time that happens, it may already be too late.
Here are a few channels that can help you steer clear of such potholes:
- Social Network (LinkedIn): Now, a mature professional network, LinkedIn boasts around 675 million monthly users from about 30 million companies. This makes it the foremost social network to create and nurture lasting B2B relationships. Over the years, LinkedIn has also invested in developing sales tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator that help you unearth prospects that fit an ideal customer profile and Total Addressable Market.
READ IT NOW: How to Use Linkedin to Generate More Revenue
- Physical Channels: Accurate B2B data can even be collected through events and channels such as boot camps, conferences, trade shows, and more. This may seem like a traditional approach in a digital backdrop, but the accuracy of data that has been collected in a face-to-face interaction can hardly be questioned.
- Inbound Lead Generation: Reliable data of prospects can also be collected by offering to capture the contact details of the website/landing page visitors in exchange for value. This value can be provided in the form of ebooks, industry research, webinars, podcasts, templates, or more such premium content. But it should be noted that since inbound marketing primarily relies upon organic traffic, this is a long-term lead generation strategy.
- B2B Contact Database Providers: Such providers can speed up the process of collecting B2B contact information. Through a reliable vendor, you can get your hands on a list of verified email addresses and direct-dial phone numbers. But if you are opting to go down this road, you need to give special attention to data quality by only working with proven vendors.
4. Maintaining Data Integrity
The last step of the process is to analyze the list to narrow down the companies even further. This not only cleanses the data but makes the list even more relevant. The idea is to map out any recent triggers or events that validate the use case of your product/service and help you to determine the primary decision-maker to pitch to. And while doing so, other aspects of the campaign can also be catered to. This includes segmentation, prioritization, and formulation of personalized marketing tactics.
And the process does not end here. You have to realize the data on the list will not be intact forever and needs constant care. Companies commonly find that about 30% of contact data decays on a yearly basis. Hence, the data needs to be regularly validated and updated after collection, preferably ever 90 days. The following steps can be followed in such a case:
- Creating and scheduling an outreach program for phone numbers
- Using a short and predefined script for the activity
- Understanding where the prospect currently stands
- Updating the database accordingly
How Clodura Can Intervene to Make Your Life Easier
There is no denying the fact that manual database building involves considerable time and effort. This often puts it outside the scope of both newcomers and marketing managers who do not want to compromise on campaign performance. Without experience and an accurate sense of direction, it can be a neverending tirade.
Clodura can intervene in such situations (and more) to help businesses to quickly acquire high-quality prospect data. Being an AI-powered solution, Clodura can accelerate and automate the lead generation process by enabling you to find the contact details of decision-makers. The features of the comprehensive platform include:
- Verified and reliable firmographic data sets of more than 200 million contacts that are working over 20 million companies. This translates to more than 90 million direct dials.
- An AI-powered engine that constantly verifies the health of the data and removes any obsolete entries. This helps to maintain a data accuracy rate of 95%.
- Real-time intelligence in the form of more than 25 customizable buying signal alerts that ensure that no opportunity is ever missed.
- Technographic data of Tech Stack install base of about 15,000 products that have been segregated into multiple categories such as CRM, ERP, CMS, Hosting, Advertising, Marketing, and more.
- Intelligent and autonomous sales sequences that are triggered at the most relevant time for sales prospecting. This leads to an immediate increase in meetings and conversations.
- Conference Attendee Tracker displays the RSVP attendee list of any conference and helps to maximize the returns on investment for any future events.
Hence, Clodura not only helps you to find the decision-makers and connect with them, but it also enables you to book more meetings and enable purchases.