Power, Predictive, and Preview: What to look for in a sales dialer
Sales Dialers can be powerful tools for revenue teams looking to maximize efficiency for high-volume outbound calling initiatives. There are many types, features, and functionalities to choose from, however, and it can be difficult selecting the right one for your team’s needs. Whether you’ve got a team full of hungry outside sales reps, inside sales practitioners, or a mix of both, we’re here to help you identify what’s important for your sales team when considering a sales dialer.
A sales dialer is software that helps reps make more calls with less manual effort. The software automatically calls numbers that reps feed into the system via a CRM, call list, or database. With a dialer, reps can focus their time and attention on high-value activities and let the software do the manual lifting for them.
Simple enough, right? If only it were. There are three categories of Dialers: power, predictive, and preview, and each has its own optimal use case. A manager of a relationship-based inside sales team will have different needs than a director who oversees a 1,000 person call center. Make sure you do the work up-front to understand which type of dialer is best for your team’s workflow.
The Three Types of Sales Dialers:
Type #1: Power / Progressive
What is it? A power dialer, also known as a progressive dialer, dials one phone number after another per representative. After each call ends, the next number is dialed, which balances a rep’s time with providing a good customer experience. Because of this, power dialer campaigns take longer to complete than predictive dialer campaigns. Representatives are connected as the call is picked up, so there are fewer dropped calls with power dialers.
Who is it for? Power dialers are good for teams with reliable, high-quality CRM data and medium-to-large call lists. The best power dialers have a preview component that allows reps to easily see contact data before making the call. Teams that value customer experience and have reps dedicated to making calls should consider a power dialer.
Type #2: Predictive
What is it? Predictive dialers dial phone numbers from a database based on a mathematical estimation of agent availability. Predictive dialers can dial more than one phone number at once, and agents are connected anytime a call is answered. Because there is a slight delay between picking up, and transferring the call to an agent, predictive dialers experience more dropped calls. This may create a compliance issue; if dropped calls total >3% of your call volume, you could be fined.
Who is it for? Predictive dialers are good for teams that have large call lists but don’t have dedicated agents for making calls. Organizations that rely less heavily on CRM data might also benefit from a predictive dialer because the tool prioritizes high call volume over consistent data capture.
Type #3: Preview
What is it? Preview dialers select a customer record from a list and surface the record to an agent who can “preview” the record and decide to call the customer or not.
Who is it for? This is the most manual of all three dialer types, so it’s best suited for teams with dedicated reps and a shorter list of phone numbers. This preview stage can prepare the representative for an effective call by surfacing contact data before they’re connected live – which can be valuable for organizations with highly personal engagements.
Now that we’ve defined each, let’s identify which is right for you. Here are five key considerations for those choosing a sales dialer for your team:
Which dialer is the most prospect-friendly?
In today’s chaotic and challenging selling environment, buyers don’t have time to waste. They expect a tailored experience and value in every communication, which is why reps must treat every engagement with care. According to Salesforce’s 2020 State of Sales Report, 83% of reps believe that building trust before a sale has increased in importance. Reps are clearly seeing the value in building relationships with their prospects, even before they start talking deal size or involving procurement.
When choosing dialing software, it’s important to understand that certain types of dialers sacrifice a high-quality customer experience in favor of incrementally faster dialing mechanics. As mentioned in a previous section, predictive dialing creates a slight delay between when the prospect picks up and when s/he is transferred to an agent – which results in a sub-optimal experience and a higher dropped call rate.
Consider how your prospects will experience the call, and if that experience is consistent with your sales goals. It’s likely that you’ll find power dialers are in the most effective sweet-spot. These dialers only call one number at a time, which reduces the risk of a dropped call, which makes them the smart choice for teams who value a balance between high call volume and a quality customer experience.
Most prospect-friendly: Preview Dialers (some drawbacks)
Least prospect-friendly: Predictive Dialers
Best balance: Power Dialers
Which dialer will save my team the most time?
According to Salesforce, reps spend 66% of their time on manual tasks like data entry, activity logging, and updating notes. That leaves just one third of a rep’s time to focus on selling activities (you’re not alone; we’re cringing too). Most reps need more time to sell!
Basic dialers streamline the act of dialing, but once the call is over reps still have to log call results and notes in Salesforce. For teams who rely on accurate and consistent Salesforce data, this manual process is extremely inefficient. An effective sales dialer speeds up the entire outbound calling process, from dialing to data-logging.
For teams with sophisticated CRM implementations, some dialers also include integrations that allow mapping of custom objects and fields, which can eliminate the need for reps to make manual updates. Reps love it when tools integrate smoothly into their existing selling process because it can save them time exponentially.
If you use Salesforce as your CRM, choose a sales dialer that integrates with it seamlessly for maximum time savings. This will give you the most streamlined approach while maintaining high-quality sales activity data in your CRM. An integrated dialer of any type will be more efficient than a non-integrated dialer in 99% of instances.
Most time-saved: Predictive Dialer with integrations (some drawbacks)
Least time-saved: Preview Dialer
Best balance: Power Dialer with integrations
Which dialer features are best for boosting connect rates?
There’s a good chance that the buyer you’re looking for is busier than ever and doesn’t have time to answer every phone call from unfamiliar numbers. On top of that, B2B buyers are often oversold and wary of any pitch that they can see coming from a mile away. These factors work to diminish a rep’s chance of connecting with a prospect live. Luckily, dialing software today gives reps tools to help mitigate low connection rates.
These features exist in all types of dialer software, although functionality will vary by provider.
Click-to-Call – Click-to-call functionality allows reps to start a call with the click of a button, for example while they draft an email in Gmail or reference a record in Salesforce. This saves reps time switching back and forth between CRM, email, and dialer systems. Predictive dialers typically don’t have this functionality as they dial multiple numbers at one time instead of requiring a rep’s click.
Local Presence Dialing – Dialing from area codes outside of a prospect’s region hurts your chances of getting them to pick up. Dialers with Local Presence functionality can use area codes familiar to prospects and increase your chances of connecting with people outside of your region. Research has shown that calling from a local area code can boost connection rates by more than 400%.
If your outbound calling initiatives are driven by high-touch, personalized engagements over spray-and-pray motions, look to include click-to-call and local presence capabilities in your selection.
Which dialer features are best for improving call effectiveness?
Some dialers can improve call effectiveness, not just efficiency. Reps can use these tools before, during, and after a call to foster a better relationship. Reps love how these features give them the ability to stand out from the crowd.
Referenceable Contact History – This dialer feature goes beyond efficiency and actually helps reps engage more effectively as they connect with prospects over the phone. Surfacing a contact’s history from within the dialer interface gives reps the full picture so they can reference any past communications in the call. This comes in handy as the prospect progresses down the funnel, and more contact history is captured in the dialer interface. (*Note: this likely requires some level of CRM integration*)
Voicemail Drop– Voicemail drop functionality allows reps to drop pre-recorded messages into a prospect’s voicemail box based on their industry or role. The days of re-recording voicemails for each prospect are over. Reps make more calls in less time, and managers can rest easy knowing that prospects are receiving a consistent, personalized message.
SMS – SMS messaging is another area where a sales dialer can help reps cut through the noise. Some industries will be more receptive to this than others, so test your messaging with subsets of your call lists before rolling texting out more broadly.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a dialer that won’t make your reps more efficient, at least incrementally. The key is to choose the right kind of dialer based on its ability to support the unique needs of your sales team and outbound calling strategies. Investing in a dialer that is aligned with your business will make your reps more productive and effective. You also want a dialer that generates data to help management optimize your team’s efforts. Check out The Definitive Guide to Sales Dialers for more information on this powerful sales tool. You can also learn more about how to be best leverage call data in The Definitive Guide to Sales Call Tracking and Analytics.
Groove’s Application Dialer functionality comes as part of a comprehensive sales engagement platform that helps sales teams engage effectively and build relationships at scale. If you’re interested in learning more about Groove’s Sales Engagement Platform and its power-dialer capabilities, request a demo today.