According to Jill Konrath—a sales strategist, speaker, and author: “Sales is an outcome, not a goal. It’s a function of doing numerous things right, starting from the moment you target a potential prospect until you finalize the deal.”
Direct dials are one of those numerous things that a sales executive needs to do right and that too at the right time, of course! Being direct is always a sign of confidence and clarity. And, as the wise say, “clarity is power.” So, when the sales executive is approaching their prospect, clarity has to be one of the superpowers in their overall sales strategy. This clarity is often the result of thorough knowledge of what a sales executive is speaking to his/her prospect, why he/she is speaking what he/she is speaking, to whom, how, and at what time. This knowledge finds its roots in the actionable insights derived from the accurate data of B2B direct dials that AI-powered lead generation platforms provide to sales executives. Direct dials, therefore, become the first step that a sales executive takes when he/she embarks upon her ambitious sales project.
At a time when data is available at our fingertips and it is almost like a data-data-everywhere situation, why do we need to discuss how to find your prospect’s direct dial number? We need to discuss this because though data is easily accessible, it does employ many gatekeepers to protect it. Also, governments across the globe are getting stringent about data privacy policies. Therefore, even if data indeed is easily available, it is often difficult to find accurate data. To alleviate this pain point in the B2B sales process, we need to discuss how sales executives can find direct dial numbers easily and in the right way.
In the absence of accurate direct dial data, a sales executive has to call the switchboard and wait for the right person at the other end. When a sales executive has the direct dial number for his/her prospect, she does not have to wait for the right person to be on the call and it becomes quite easier to connect to the key contact.
As per the research Funnel Clarity conducted, it takes 80 seconds to dial the switchboard whereas a direct dial call takes only 45 seconds. A sales executive needs to make 20 dials per prospect while calling the switchboard, whereas direct dial only requires 12 dials per prospect. In a direct dial, there are 147% chances that a sales executive gets to talk to a vice president on the very first instance as opposed to talking to a telephone operator or a secretary when calling the switchboard. Simple statistics would reveal that using switchboard communication, a sales executive would be able to connect with only 3 prospects as it takes 24 minutes to get to a prospect. On the other hand, using the direct dial method, a sales executive can connect with a new prospect every 5 minutes bringing the number of prospects that have been contacted to 12 per hour as against the 3 using the switchboard method.
The data proves the power of direct dialing. Hence, before we explore how to find the direct dials, let us first understand what a direct dial number exactly means.
What is a direct dial?
It is believed that a direct dial number must be the main office number of a prospect. However, it is just a belief and not the truth. In simpler words, a direct dial number is a phone number that surely answers. It can be a decision-maker’s mobile number or an alternative number.
When a sales executive calls this number he/she can directly talk to the person he/she is trying to connect with. It eliminates the need to first talk to the operator or the receptionist.
In principle, “direct dialing” is a process that helps sales executives accelerate the entire sales prospecting process as it empowers them with accurate and verified data. This accurate data gives them the confidence to approach the prospects without any obstacles in their way. They do not have to deal with the gatekeepers or the switchboards or even the laws concerning data privacy. When they get verified data from trusted platforms like Clodura, there is nothing that can stop them from reaching out directly to the decision-makers. In comparison to switchboard calls, direct dial numbers help sales executives optimize the sales cycle for speed and accuracy, be more productive, and close more deals.
How to find direct dial numbers?
Before AI’s coming into being, B2B business was about calling the switchboards, the receptionists, or any available random office number. Many times, the numbers were wrong or unreachable. And, at times, sales executives had to work hard to get the right number from the switchboard or the receptionists. However, in that pre-technology era too, there were some smart companies who understood the importance of direct dialing. Therefore, they used to invest their precious human resources to get this information. The sales executives needed to be constantly engaged in getting the number of decision-makers and establishing meaningful contacts. This method did see some success but it lacked the possibility of scaling up. Also, it did not facilitate regular data updates. And, eventually, with the inevitable data decay, the entire exercise proved to be a waste of time and energy.
With the arrival of AI, though, the picture did change considerably. The enterprises now had the access to the top sales intelligence tools that gave them accurate data on the direct dials. They could scale up their business in no time and taste the sweetness of rapid growth. But, this easy accessibility of data too is fraught with many challenges. Many enterprises cannot decide on the right type of vendor that may offer them accurate direct dials within their total addressable market. As a result, they lose competitive advantage, and soon, the sweetness of the rapid growth tastes bitter. Let’s explore then how to find the direct dials in the right way.
Use sales intelligence tools
Sales intelligence tools or B2B direct dial phone database tools give the sales department B2B direct dials for companies either for a monthly fee or free. Depending upon the size of the business, one should choose the tools that are right for them. Free tools often have limitations of accessibility and accuracy. However, when you explore dependable AI-powered platforms like Clodura, finding direct dials no longer remains to be a hard task. Clodura offers:
- 155M+ B2B verified contact database
- Access to 55M+ direct dials
With the use of such tools, sales executives can make more connections in less time and focus their attention on closing deals more efficiently and faster.
If you are just starting, and want to taste the power of direct dials without any extra cost, online resources are good options to find direct dials as they are freely available. Some of the most common online resources to find direct dials are:
- Google search
- Social media accounts such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook business pages
- A business website: explore pages like the team, about us, contact us, etc. A direct dial number can be asked by submitting the contact form given on the contact us page or by directly calling the main office number of the business or a toll-free number.
- Phone number finder tools: These are chrome extensions that give you direct dials when you go to the concerned web pages or LinkedIn profiles. You can also use background check service tools that ask you for the information you already have and give you the direct dials based on that information.
- Online phone directories
- Reverse email lookup tools: Just type the prospect’s email address and it’ll give you the number!
- Domain search tools give you contact numbers by entering the domain name of the prospect’s business.
Switchboards and administrative assistants
Old is gold may prove just right sometimes. When you cannot find direct dials by any intel tools or online resources, resorting to switchboards or administrative assistants may bail you out. Just give a simple call to the switchboard, make a clear and graceful representation of your company, and ask for the direct dials politely! The switchboards or the admins may have the exact information you’re looking for!
Contact other people at your prospect’s organization
This is yet another interesting way to find out the direct dials. You can reach out to a former colleague or a friend who works in your prospect’s organization. When you’ve not been able to find direct dials with sophisticated tools, this method of asking directly and politely often works like magic!
Purchase the data of cell numbers
There are several vendors that sell B2B direct dial phone databases. Sometimes, this is cheaper than subscribing to a lead database. While buying such a database, you must verify that it complies with National Do Not Call Registry (DNC) laws. It is also recommended to ask for sample direct dials to verify their accuracy and authenticity.
Ask the key contact directly
If you don’t want to take the route of intel tools, asking the number directly too is one of the great ways to find the direct dials. You can politely express your intention to talk to them about how your product can improve the pain points of their business. You can ask for their time and contact number to talk about it over the phone. You can do this in person or via cold email or social media direct messages.
Check the prospect’s email signature
This is a smart way to get the direct dials. If you’ve been in touch with your prospect via email, this method comes in quite handy. Just search the communication in your inbox, check the email signature, and most likely there should be the number along with the other information like title, address, company name, etc.
Why are direct phone numbers important in B2B?
The quick answer to this question is direct phone numbers have to do with overall sales numbers. Yes, sales numbers are directly connected to the direct phone numbers sales executives can manage to have and connect with them too.
In other words, when the number of direct dials gets reduced, sales numbers too get decreased. Let’s then count some more reasons why direct phone numbers are important in B2B. Direct dials:
There are many statistics out there about this. It is clear that when you are conducting your daily sales activity with direct dial numbers, you will have 4-6 times more connections than when you are exploiting traditional methods of calling the switchboards or the receptionists.
So, for example, you are constantly calling the switchboard for an hour, and you get 3 connections out of that one-hour conversation. Whereas if you have the access to direct dials you can straightaway call them and that would take the number of connections to 12 or more per hour. There is a clear increase in the number of connections made with the direct dials in comparison to connections made without them. Direct dials save the sales executive’s time and energy that went into researching the phone numbers, calling them, and again calling the direct dials to establish the connection.
Direct dials make sales executives self-sufficient as they don’t have to rely on the switchboards or the receptionists or the admin assistants. This generally does not happen when they do not have direct dials. The absence of direct dials makes them do myriads of things that they are not supposed to do to increase their productivity. Easy accessibility to the direct dials saves their time and allows them to do what they are supposed to do—sell effectively and more.
Allow sales executives to target decision-makers
An ideal sales executive is one who loves to spend time with decision-makers. And, why not? Ultimately, it is these decision-makers who are going to say that BIG YES to your perfect sales pitch, who have the purchasing power, and who are going to sign that fat check that you have been dreaming of for all these days! Direct dials by default then become the most important factor in the sales journey.
Imagine a world where a sales executive does not have direct dials. The smooth ride that we just talked about would turn into the daily grind, chaos, uncertainty, and complete loss of control. In the absence of direct dials, sales executives have to talk to anyone who is available. They are compelled to talk to anyone who is assumed to be interested in their solutions. Also, it is a tough game out there to convince the receptionist or the switchboard operator or the admin assistants to share the number of a VP or any C-level executive. Even when you have a direct dial of any of these C-level executives, it can be challenging to sell. Imagine what would happen if you do not have the direct dials. What chance do you stand to get to them? Almost zero! Hence, having the direct dials of the decision-makers is an essential part of everyday sales activity. A sensible sales executive understands this quite well and makes sincere efforts to have meaningful conversations during each call.
Empower sales executives
And you think that direct dials are only about statistics and numbers? Look more deeply. Numbers and statistics may be part of it, and an important one, but their most important function is to be the wind beneath the sales executives’ wings! When the sales executives have the access to direct dials, the entire sales floor comes alive. It feels so magical to feel that competitive spirit coming alive again within the minds and hearts of the sales executives. They just want to get things done HERE and NOW. They can no longer sit on that perfect sales pitch that they have prepared with so much passion and hard work.
They have razor-sharp clarity on what they are doing, why they are doing it, and when they are doing it. They have total faith in the data of direct dials which is going to make them win the battle for sure. They are now confident that the dreams of getting that commission check soon would indeed come true. This feeling of empowerment to have the access to the decision-makers is a real game-changer in the overall sales activity. No enterprise can afford to let it go as it is one of the most significant ingredients that keep the operational efficiency of the business to its maximum. The sales executives feel more confident and empowered with the easy accessibility of direct sales. That confidence and ease make them present their perfect sales pitch quite effectively and efficiently.
Help reduce call reluctance
Do you remember that math class of yours? You neither liked the subject nor understood it. You were reluctant to go to the school when there was that threatening math class! And, one day, there was that teacher who came, taught you math, and made you the math wizard! You were up in the morning, ready to go to school and rock that math class. Math has become your identity since then!
Direct dials are like that teacher. They empower the sales executives who are completely dejected by constant rejection and unwelcoming responses over the call. Direct dials give them the hope to hang in and the courage to walk again. They just do not have to invent the stories to convince their minds that all is well! They don’t have to tell their minds to do some more research or spend some more time networking or calling the switchboard some other time to get to the decision-maker. In a nutshell, sales executives do not have to give in to the temptations of procrastination.
With access to the direct dials, the mind gets a booster dose of hope and enthusiasm. Now, there is no more delay or call reluctance caused by the inaccessibility of the data of direct dials. There is again a party on that sales floor that went into silence due to the lack of access to direct dials!
Improve connect rate and increase sales productivity
The connect rate is the average number of calls a sales executive needs to make just to establish telephonic contact with the desired prospect. In other words, if a sales executive needed to call 20 times to the switchboard or the receptionist to get the number of a VP, then those 20 calls are dimmed as the connect rate to get the VP on the phone.
As per the data, on average, the sales executive needs to make 18 calls to get one connection. Hence, the average connect rate comes to 18 calls per connection. In a hypothetical scenario, in a team of 25 sales executives, each sales executive makes 52 calls per day for 250 days a year assuming that the business works for 250 days a year. With these many calls, conversations per year would come to 18,055. Now, if each of these reps can just drop one call per connection and make 17 calls instead of 18, the number of conversations increases by over 1,000. It means the sales team gets 1,000 more potential sales and that too with a decreased amount of time spent calling. And, how can this rate be decreased? The simple answer is by having easy access to the direct dials.
When sales executives have the access to direct data, the number of calls to make a connection gets reduced automatically. As per the studies, when reps have a direct dial at the level of the director, there are 46% chances of connecting with the director. And, when they have the access to direct dials at the level of VP, they are 147% more likely to connect to the VP. The access to direct dials eliminates the need to research and spend time finding out the correct switchboards or the assistants. When a sales executive talks to the VP or the director directly, it makes him/her much more clear and confident in making solid preparations for his/her next move—to present the perfect sales pitch that is likely to close the deal. Studies have shown that direct dials increase sales efficiency by 375%. And, when you try AI-powered solutions like Clodura’s you will realize for sure that numbers indeed don’t lie.
It is quite possible that these numbers vary from company to company. But, the heart of the matter is direct dials are essential to get the decision-makers on the call and get the ball rolling for good!
How to get past the gatekeeper and reach the decision-maker faster?
They say that the kettle is hotter than the tea. At times, sales executives need to live this adage in a real sense when they try to reach the decision-makers. Typically, gatekeepers are often executive assistants, receptionists, and office managers who are tasked with the responsibility of protecting the premises and the privacy of the who’s who. The best gatekeeper is, therefore, the one who is disliked by everyone who wants easy access to both the premises and the C-level executives. It is exactly like the ideal villain in a movie who is thoroughly hated by the audience!
But, a smart audience knows quite well that it is just a movie and that there’s no point in disliking or hating that “villain” after the show is over. Similarly, gatekeepers simply do their job and have nothing to do with you personally. Seasoned sales executives know this quite well and therefore, their stringent gatekeeping does not become an obstacle in their efforts to reach the direct dials either physically or emotionally. Let’s explore the ways to get past these sincere gatekeepers and reach the decision-makers faster.
Use the gatekeeper as a resource
If you can change your perception of the gatekeeper, half the battle is won. And, it is the quite easier and right thing to do if you can see them as humans as well as valuable resources. When you perceive them as humans, you can see their strengths and weaknesses with some objectivity. That frees you from taking things quite personally. Also, they are important resources in your journey of selling as they hold so much information about your direct dials that may not be easily accessible even if you use intel tools. This approach works and makes them comfortable enough to open up a little more and share the information you are looking for.
We are living in an age of influencers. It is important to know the influencers if you want to be taken seriously in business. When a sales executive is trying to reach the decision-makers, one of the strategies to get past the gatekeeper is to name-drop someone they are supposed to know. Another strategy is to name-drop the publication related to the decision-maker's work. This may require doing some background research on your prospects, but name-dropping often works as the gatekeeper does get impressed by your knowledge of the decision-maker and understands the sincerity of your efforts to reach out to him. This makes him share the direct dials of the decision-makers quite easily.
It doesn't hurt to do your research. The more you know about the decision-maker, the easier it is to connect on a personal level with the gatekeeper and demonstrate you're not just another cold caller.
Be polite yet confident
To introduce yourself with your first and last name reflects your politeness and confidence. It may sound quite small or simple, but it is this simplicity of communication that is the best strategy to get past the gatekeepers and reach the decision-makers faster. As they say, it is the simplest things that are the most difficult to put into practice. For example, for a sales executive who has already been exhausted chasing his/her prospects, trying to get past the gatekeepers again and again without much luck, it is really difficult to remain calm, polite, and exude confidence!
A sword of targets is looming large over the head of a sales executive, he/she has yet to achieve those targets, and in that scenario, expressions of exasperation and frustration are obvious. It is here that sales executives need to summon all the courage and grace within and communicate with the gatekeepers with as much politeness and confidence as possible. As the gatekeeper too is a sensible individual, your politeness does appeal to her, and it becomes easier to get the direct dials of the decision-makers you have been looking for.
Do some research on the gatekeeper
Earlier, we talked about researching the decision-makers to impress the gatekeepers. Now, it is time to research the gatekeepers too. If the gatekeepers’ rank is higher in the hierarchy, and they also happen to be tech-savvy, a sales executive should look up and take notes of the technologies that they might have used in the past. So, when a sales executive is talking to this gatekeeper, he/she can talk about the pain points of the present technology and how his/her product may be the ideal solution. This kind of communication establishes solid trust and respect. The gatekeeper just realizes that a sales executive is not here to entertain or pass time. The gatekeeper also recognizes the fact that a sales executive does mean business and that giving him/her access to the direct dials of the C-level executive may ultimately do more good than harm to their organization. This realization results in easy access to the direct dials of the decision-makers to whom a sales executive wanted to reach by getting past the gatekeeper.
Align with the gatekeeper
To align with the gatekeeper means not to try to get around or bypass them, and recognize their inherent humanness and vulnerability. Respect their duty to stop you from having the access to their bosses whose time they’re supposed to save and protect. The moment you start respecting this duty of theirs, the doors to the decision-makers are likely to open faster.
Don’t try to sell to the gatekeeper
The gatekeepers are supposed to ask sales executives the purpose of their calling. If you are a sales executive who is new in the industry, chances are you are quite enthusiastic to close your deal faster. And, if you are an experienced one, but you are in a certain state of mind that you are in a rush to close the deal; you may answer this formal question with your perfect sales pitch! It is indeed a blunder that should not happen. A gatekeeper is not your buyer, and if you communicate this way, it creates a very bad impression of being in a rush and rudeness. So, the best way out is to answer the formal question with equal formality and grace. It is best to be polite and firm in your intentions to call them as that puts the gatekeepers in the space of confidence and they may share the information you are looking for.
Leverage ego bait content tactic
It is quite common nowadays to receive various types of marketing emails that address you by your first name. That is the basic example of what they call ego bait content. It is basically stroking the ego of the target audience. In other words, it is about making them feel special and intimate with your business and convincing them that you matter the most in the entire scheme! Now, that may sound philosophically bankrupt if you don’t mean it, but this tactic of ego bait content often works wonders when sales executives are trying to get past the gatekeeper.
Some of the examples of such content include relevant editorials that accommodate prospects and their businesses; Google form or any type of questionnaires that require the participation of the prospects; any kind of series of articles that talk about the uniqueness of their products or services. This tactic is not only helpful in creating great content, but it is also helpful in getting to the decision-makers without facing the challenges of gatekeeping.
The authentic, polite, and respectful tone of the content is sure to win the hearts of the decision-makers. You no longer have to keep requesting the gatekeeper for the time of the boss as the boss is already impressed and waiting for you inside the cabin. Go fast and close the deal even faster!
Call outside business hours
Well, if you have done all that you could to get past the gatekeeper, but he/she is not cooperating, this is the last tactic you can try. However, the chances of success with this tactic depend largely on the market you are targeting and its working hours. Typically, the decision-makers arrive early and leave late at their work. So, if you want to bypass the gatekeeper, these two-time slots are the best to call. Also, if you are taking the email route, it is best to shoot an email on Saturday morning or schedule the email so that it reaches their inbox on Saturday morning. The reason for choosing this time is many C-suite executives prefer to check their email early on Saturday morning before going for a relaxing weekend! They can have a weekend to process the content of your email and the next move could be that much-awaited meeting at their office!
If nothing works, chat the bot
In essence, chatbots are there to help buyers. But, they can be used by the sales executives to sell as well! Well, chatbots may not be the smartest tools to get direct dials, but when nothing has worked for you, they can be tried. If they do not have much to offer, they do not block sales executives either. So, they can be explored smartly to find out relevant information about the target decision-maker.
Searching dials from name directories
- T. Barnum, an American showman, businessman, and politician once said, “Nothing draws a crowd more than a crowd.” This quote is erroneously attributed to Mark Zukerberg in some publications. However, irrespective of who said this, modern businesses have taken this quote rather quite seriously, and rightly so. There is not a single business owner who has not become brand-conscious in the era of social media and influencers. This consciousness inevitably results in getting their businesses listed on the right industry directories. This listing on the authentic and right directories validates their social existence and empowers their marketing campaigns. It also helps them spread brand awareness and generate genuine interest for their products/services in their target market.
Ever since the Yellow Page has come into being, business owners made it a point to show up where end consumers are finalizing to buy their products or services. So, how would you get access to these directories and find your target direct dial? Well, these directories are often found at a place where users undertake competitive research on the products and services available in the market. These directories often occupy the number one ranking on the leading search engines as they use competitive primary keywords. All the businesses often get themselves listed on these directories without fail as this listing does bring huge traffic to their sites. They can enjoy the same attention and demand as the top link on the search engines without getting into the tedious and relatively lengthy SEO exercise.
In the B2B space, these directories often work as the direct dial phone number directories that sales executives can use to the fullest to reach the decision-makers faster and better. In fact, the decision-makers very much want to be visible and be approached and that is why they are there on those directories.
There are many intel tools that have dial-by-name directory features in their products. Very often these tools use predictive text technology wherein callers only need to press a key for each letter. So, if a sales executive wants to search for the name John, she should press the numbers 5 (JKL), 6 (MNO), 4 (GHI), and 6 (MNO). The moment this information gets entered into the database, a sales executive can have the desired direct dial. This is the basics of these tools and it may vary from tool to tool. Also, there are many types of B2B directories that can be used to find direct dials by name.
Sales executives can search for numbers from the name directories that:
Rank on page one
There are many digital directories for businesses that want to connect with various B2B businesses. When you are looking for dials in this space, it is best to target those directories that rank on the top page. Ranking on the number one page has the benefits of higher visibility and exposure to qualified, conversion-ready users. There are many leading B2B businesses that are searching for world-class solutions for their pain points. They very much appreciate it when sincere sales executives contact them directly to pitch their products or services. Try these B2B directories that rank high on the search engines and reach the decision-makers faster.
Rank for multiple software services
Many sites are built to serve the purpose of a directory for software business listings and reviews. They are excellent resources for sales executives to reach the direct dials as many businesses are listed on these sites to reach out to their target audience who are not even aware of such solutions. Such sites rank for their multiple different services as they have a unique directory for each service. They employ a competitive primary keywords method to rank on the top page. Hence, the chances of finding the direct dials are pretty high using such directories.
Rank for specific terms
There are businesses that prefer to get listed on the directories that rank for specific terms like “best CRM software”, “best revenue attribution SaaS product”, and many other keywords that end-users prefer to use on the search engines. The businesses that get listed on these directories are ambitious players who want to maximize their return on investment. So, if you have a product that can fulfill their ambitions, they are quite a good catch to have in your sales kitty!
Focus on B2B niches
The sales executives cannot afford to limit themselves to a specific directory. While more comprehensive directories may provide the sales executive with various types of direct dials, directories that focus more on B2B niche space also offer many possibilities of getting the access to direct dials. These directories often have segments of industry and sub-service.
Rank for everything B2B
Well, who can deny the charm of the sites that offer everything that is B2B out there? You name it and they have it. They list products, services, markets, directories, reviews, forums, and resource hubs. There are many big players who prefer to be listed on such sites for greater visibility and exposure. If you are a sales executive who has to reach their targets, searching direct dials on these sites is the surest way to get the dials who want to play it big and grand.
These are some of the points that sales executives should keep in mind while searching dials by the name directories. Typically, the businesses that are listed on these directories are businesses that do not believe in vanity metrics. They do mean business seriously and sincerely. So, when you find the direct dials via these directories, the chances of closing the deal with them are higher than with those who are just there on the top page for the sake of it.
All the studies and statistics clearly show us that direct dials do increase the overall efficiency and productivity of the sales executives. There are several ways sales executives can find these numbers. It is often said that the sales executives should not rely on just one of the ways to reach the direct dials. Though this traditional belief may have some merit in it, it is essentially rooted in the space of insecurity and inefficiency. However, there are many AI-powered platforms like Clodura that offer a one-stop solution to help sales executives reach the direct dials without getting into the “normal” grind.
Clodura’s robust solution equips sales executives with more than 55 million verified B2B direct dial numbers. And, they do not have to buy them separately. Clodura’s AI-powered one-stop solution takes care of this along with many other functions to empower your sales productivity. This huge and verified data eliminates the need to call the switchboard and the gatekeepers. This means it helps improve the call connect ratio and increases the number of conversations rather than the number of calls to start those conversations!
While it is true that sales activity is essentially about a combination of many things. It requires both effectiveness and efficiency. Hence, direct dials may prove effective in reaching the decision-makers faster; they may not necessarily improve the sales executive’s efficiency to prepare the perfect sales pitch. But, what it does is it gives the sales executives enough time to work on their efficiency levels. When these efficiency levels improve, there is an evident increase in the business profitability too. And, that indeed creates magic! Place your precious trust in robust solutions like that of Clodura’s and see that magic unfolding for yourself! So, now you know quite well how to find your prospect’s direct dial phone number and where!