“My connect rates are great! I connect with someone 80% of the time when I dial any number off my list!” … Aren’t we missing the point here? How many of those dials end up connecting with the real decision maker at that account? Not as many in several cases. Typical scenarios of an inside sales call which are based on ‘not so well qualified’ lists starts off at the operator, gets transfered towards the name on the list and connects but one learns thats not the right person to speak with. So the call goes back to the operator, there is a struggle with the operator who refuses to give out any names of alternative contacts who might be the right person, the call is connected finally to the new contact and one gets referred to another number which belongs to the final decision maker and…..voicemail! Pick up the next contact on the list and start over.

Now even with the most accurate data, it may not be possible to gurantee instant connects to the contact on a list but using low quality lists to carry out phone based inside sales campaigns is a productivity killer. Simply connecting to a name on a list isn’t real connectivity if that person is not the right person to talk to. With connect rates on phones being such a barrier to productivity especially with B2B inside sales and teleprospecting, it’s important to have all the basic groundwork done to gather the best possible data before starting a campaign. The data is often the root of the problem with some general business contacts from unqualified companies and researched contact details being put together to serve as a target list. Having worked with several inside sales teams and building very specific role based customized lists, we’ve seen more than 33% of a sales persons time can be spend in finding the right decision makers to speak to. Going into a campaign armed with good data can make a world of difference simply from working off more qualified information which increases the odds in your favor.

Here are a few very simple data tips to improve those odds and make your calls more productive:-

  • While building lists, identify target decision makers by their job roles and responsibilites rather than by titles. For example, if you’re selling data recovery software, find the person withing the IT department who is responsible for data recovery and disaster management rather than simply finding an IT Manager or IT Director who may not directly have anything to do with data recovery. This will ensure, whenever you do manage to connect, you would have connected with the right person and won’t have to spend time navigating around the company.
  • While building data and collecting information on decision makers, ask for a direct phone number or a direct extension as often as possible. Having direct numbers which by pass gatekeepers can save a lot of time and make connecting easier.
  • Identify alternate decision makers or contacts within each account whenever possible, especially in case of larger accounts which can have multiple decision makers in the same or similar capacities. If one is not available, it offers an alternative path into the same company. Adding influencers within each account is also useful in getting to “hard to reach” executives through someone else within the same department or function.
  • While gathering account intelligence, see if you can find any previous interactions with anyone else from the same company. Having a reference contact can  help in getting gatekeepers to let you through without much resistance.
  • Sort your account data and business contacts by location and time zone. Most executives are reachable at their desks towards the start  and end of their working days and tied up with scheduled tasks, meetings and so on for a large part of the day. Knowing where they are located can help identify when is the best time to hit each time zone or location.

While it’s not possible to know whether or not someone will pick up the line and connect for sure, it is possible to ensure everything that is within control is set up to the best of possible level. Starting with good data is one of them.

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