Most people dislike making cold calls. However, sales organizations constantly need to bring in new prospects to bring in new business. As the name indicates, sales acceleration technologies are tools to accelerate or speed up the sales cycle. These tools can dramatically change the cold calling process in outbound business-to-business sales.
Even with the prevalence of online communications today, the telephone is an essential for enterprises in outbound sales, telemarketing and customer service call centers. Virtually all telephones now have caller ID displaying some information on an incoming call, allowing the recipient to screen the call and choose to accept or reject it. In the past, companies were generally limited to an area code based on geographic location or pay for a toll-free 800-type number. Voice over Internet protocol or VoIP technology has completely upended those limitations. Sales acceleration tools allow enterprises to choose to have a caller ID number displayed with the same area code as the person being dialed. This is frequently termed “local presence” and is implemented through sales acceleration software, often in a platform integrating some features.
Does Local Presence Work?
The question arises whether using local presence technologies works in an outbound sales environment – whether it is effective. Experience has shown that using local presence increases answering and call back rates leading to increased numbers of connections and conversations, which in turn leads to increased revenue.
In 2014, a technology research company, Software Advice, undertook a survey to measure the effect of various types of unrecognized caller IDs on call recipients and whether a call recipient would answer or not answer a call. The online survey canvassed over 2,000 Internet users on their responses to answering incoming calls without a recognizable caller ID in each of the following categories: (1) local area codes; (2) out of state area codes; and (3) toll-free area codes. The results were clear.
Somewhat or extremely likely to answer a call from an unknown caller:
- With a local area code, 27.5 percent were likely to answer
- With an out of state area code, 13 percent were likely to answer
- With a toll-free area code, 7 percent were likely to answer
Extremely unlikely to answer a call from an unknown caller:
- With a local area code – 53 percent were unlikely to answer
- With an out of state area code – 75 percent were unlikely to answer
- With a toll-free area code – 80 percent were unlikely to answer
These survey results indicate that sales organizations that use local presence tools can dramatically increase the answer rates of their outbound calls even though the recipient does not recognize the local number. The respondents in the survey were about four times more likely to answer an unknown call with a local area code over a toll-free number and almost twice as likely to answer an unknown caller with an out of state area code over a toll-free area code.
Sales Acceleration Tools
Sales acceleration platforms can very effectively implement local presence dialing for outbound sales enterprises, usually in conjunction with a sales dialing system. These platforms can recognize the location being called and automatically generate a number with the same area code in the destination caller ID and automatically route return phone calls to the salesperson that made the outbound call. The platforms may also integrate a number of sales automation features: eliminating dialing using list dialing or click to dial so that salesperson does not have to input the number; automatically logging and tracking all numbers dialed and all those are connected; leaving pre-recorded voicemail messages; and real-time reporting of activities and metrics both for the salesperson and management such as call disposition (conversation, voicemail, no answer, unavailable, do not call, etc.) and call duration.
The sales call is the first step in the outbound sales cycle. Obviously, there must be an answer or callback for the sales cycle to proceed for it to result in a sale. Both research and experience indicate that local presence significantly increases the answer rate of calls. Sales acceleration platforms can provide effective tools to implement local presence as well as other sales automation features — leading to increased connect rates and surged sales figures. In the end, what matters is the sales volume, and the sales acceleration app is designed by the sales fraternity and is equipped with all the tools required to boost sales.