Outbound call centers are often used by various businesses to expand their customer base. However, many might still be confused about the term itself. Namely, outbound call centers are not the same as your typical call centers, although the terms are often used interchangeably.
In this article, you will find out what is an outbound call center and why it might prove to be just what your business needs. Furthermore, you will learn the three main pricing models of outbound call centers and how to recognize the outbound call center best suited for your business.
What is an outbound call center
When you imagine a call center, you are probably thinking of a unit that performs several tasks. Call centers are usually contracted to deal with customer support or B2C (business to customer) sales, which also means dealing directly with potential customers.
On the other hand, outbound call centers specialize in making outgoing calls to third parties that can be either customers, prospects or other businesses. Some outbound call centers perform outbound calls only, while others do both outbound and inbound calls.
There are multiple lines of business that outbound call centers are used for. For example, outbound call centers may perform telemarketing calls, customer service calls or post-sale follow ups. What we will be focusing on in this article are outbound call centers that specialize in B2B sales.
However, the quality of different outbound call centers differs. How to choose the best one for your business?
How to recognize a high-quality B2B outbound call center
As mentioned before, outbound call centers can carry out multiple tasks for their contractors. Nevertheless, they are usually utilized to execute one line of business only. So, does the fact that the outbound call center is equipped with conducting multiple lines of business have added value for your company?
If you are in the B2B business and are looking to outsource your pre-sales processes, it might be a good idea to contract an outbound call center that specializes in B2B. Here is how you can recognize a high-quality B2B outbound call center.
When looking for a reliable partner in your B2B outbound call center, you should pay attention to how the project is set up. Does the outbound call center you are considering outline the project in a clear and transparent way?
Ask the following:
- What are the concrete metrics your outbound call center partner is focusing on?
- Who exactly will be working on your project?
- How far in to the sales process do you want your outbound sales representatives to go?
- What is the communication and reporting cadence?
- Which technologies are being used for maintaining the sales pipeline?
- Does the B2B outbound call center you are considering offer additional services, like online lead generation, or LinkedIn and Xing Prospecting?
- What is the pricing model?
Ideally, your potential B2B outbound call center partner will answer these questions and more during your initial meeting. Look for specific input and answers to recognize a high-quality partner.
Dedicated sales development representatives
A high-quality B2B outbound call center will propose you the sales development representatives that best match your project’s needs. The specific person’s sales training, language knowledge and other traits will make your project more successful in the end. A high-quality partner will not only propose but want you to confirm the suggested representative.
Moreover, what this shows you is a high level of professionalism in the B2B outbound call center you are negotiating with. It clearly states the line of accountability and tries to utilize representatives’ unique skills to bring the biggest value to their customer.
The importance of a productive sales development representative cannot be understated. Namely, 79% of sales executives say that improving the productivity of sales representatives is the leading driver of hitting bigger targets.
The way your B2B outbound call center partner will update you on your project’s progress tells you a lot. Detailed reporting lets you know how many prospects have been contacted and where do they stand in the sales pipeline on a certain date.
Moreover, these reports should include other relevant metrics like decision maker reach rate, telephone decision maker reach rate, achieved opportunities and others that have to do with your project’s goals.
Clear pricing model
Price is a significant aspect of your partnership with an outbound call center. You want to cut costs to your business, but you also want your partner to reflect your brand and high-quality standards.
When discussing pricing, make sure that it is clear. Independent of the model you will be opting for, make sure to pin down the specific metrics according to which the sales representatives will be graded. This could range from the number of calls per hour to the number of appointed meetings.
A good advice to follow is to trust your B2B outbound call center partner when it comes to pricing. If they tick all the boxes when it comes to credibility, let them present you the best pricing model options*insert link later and argue why they would be best for you.
After all, they are looking for long-term partnerships and want to give you the best service possible.
5 Biggest advantages of contracting a B2B outbound call center
Now that you know how to recognize a high-quality B2B outbound call center, also dubbed business development agency, you might start to wonder what the advantages of contracting one are.
In general, there are numerous reasons why companies outsource, with cost cutting being at the top of the list. According to Deloitte, 57% of companies outsource in order to focus on core business, 47% to solve capacity issues and 31% to enhance their service quality.
By hiring a B2B outbound call center, you will do exactly all of these: you will cut costs to your business, enhance the quality of your pre-sales process and you will enable your other employees to focus on their most important tasks. Let’s explain how exactly this is achieved by contracting a B2B outbound call center partner.
Sales training and guidance
Every sales professional knows that being good at sales requires a lot of training and guidance. Sales representatives need to listen well, speak well, and be prepared to answer many prospect’s questions fast. Furthermore, it can be hard to maintain the same level of motivation and stamina to perform sales representative activities after a while.
After all – 42% of sales pros say that prospecting is the hardest part of their job.
This is one of the reasons why contracting a B2B outbound call center really pays off. The sales representatives that will work on your project are trained in sales processes and led by their team managers to achieve the best results.
After all – if you want to run a business successfully, you have to be good at what you do. That is why B2B outbound call centers invest in their own employees’ training.
Enabling your own employees to focus
Your in-house sales team might be swamped with work. We all know that prospecting and pre-sales takes a lot of the sales team’s time and leaves them few resources to deal with certain accounts in depth.
By contracting a B2B outbound call center, you will allow your own sales team to take a pause from these time-consuming tasks. Additionally, you will enable your team to do what they do best – conduct demos and meetings to sell your products or services.
Comparing your own team’s productivity and KPIs
If you already have in-house sales representatives, it could be beneficial to compare their outputs to the outsourced ones. You might find out that there is room for improvement. Moreover, if you put the two representatives’ teams to work together, the B2B outbound call center’s team might transfer some valuable knowledge to your own sales representatives.
You are already probably aware of how much a dedicated and goal-oriented team is worth. By outsourcing a B2B outbound call center, you are cutting costs on multiple corners. Some examples are sales training and guidance costs, hiring and candidate selection costs… The list goes on.
Furthermore, the price depends on the location of the B2B outbound call center. Yes, you want to spend as little money as possible, but you still want your sales development representatives to know your targeted audience’s customs and culture, as well as to speak your language at native level.
Hiring a B2B outbound call center not only saves you financial resources, but also time. Imagine how much time it would take you to recruit, hire and train your own team of sales representatives. Moreover, if you already have a dedicated in-house sales team, you will be saving their time and enabling them to focus on higher stages of the sales process.
Outbound call centers’ pricing models
There are several ways in which outbound call centers generate their prices. However, every pricing model has its own set of advantages. In this section, we will present the three main pricing models you will probably encounter when dealing with a B2B outbound call center.
Which one would you prefer?
Pay per performance
At first glance, this B2B outbound call center pricing model seems the fairest since it ensures an agreed amount of scheduled meetings. However, hiring an outbound call center based on this pricing model might end up hurting your business.
Namely, if the outbound call center’s representatives’ goals are to schedule meetings, the quality of those meetings might not always be the best. In the end, B2B sales processes take longer than B2C, and it would be better to have a smaller number of highly qualified leads in your pipeline than a large volume of unqualified leads.
Moreover, the pushy sales approach that goes hand-in-hand with the pay per performance model might end up hurting your brand reputation.
Hourly pricing model
By agreeing to an hourly pricing model, you will easily determine the final price of your investment in an B2B outbound call center. Aside predictability, the sales development representatives working for you will be working towards a different set of goals and will not be incentivized to book unqualified meetings for you.
The biggest downtime of an hourly pricing model is decreased performance of sales representatives. Will you be paying for unproductive hours? Will they perform to the best of their abilities?
This is an area in which the quality of your potential partner will really show. If a B2B outbound call center you are planning to hire includes number of calls, number of processed contacts and other activities per hour, you know you are dealing with professionals.
Furthermore, you and your in-house team should have full access to the sales pipeline where you can see the productivity of your sales representatives.
If you are an experienced sales professional, you know that quality does not match quantity. In other words, converting sales leads to qualified meetings takes time – especially if you are contacting large companies and depending on communication channels your representatives use.
Hybrid pricing model
A hybrid pricing model combines the two models mentioned above. On one hand, it allows you as a customer to predict your costs and call agents incentives to perform optimally for your business. On the other hand, pushing on quota might impair the quality of the sales representatives’ actions.
A professional B2B outbound call center will have your long-term cooperation in mind when discussing a pricing model. They will want to give you the highest quality of their performance to keep you on as a client. Therefore, look for agencies that charge hourly but offer specific insurances to their sales representatives’ productivity.
How to choose the right partner for your B2B outbound sales
Now that you understand how can hiring a B2B outbound call center benefit your business, it is time to choose the right partner. Although it may seem like a leap of faith at first, the selection process is actually quite easy.
First of all, make sure to check if your potential partner has all the traits we listed as important signs of high-quality outbound call center vendors. Furthermore, ask your partners how much they invest in sales training of their representatives – meaning initial training, additional training, tracking the quality of specific sales activities like cold calls and emails, etc. You want to have a trained and motivated team on your side.
In the end – look for references! If the representatives of the B2B outbound call center you are considering can provide you a contact in a company that recently used their services, use it. This will carry even more significance if the company’s product is similar to yours.
Last but not least, extra points should be given to an agency that deals with B2B sales exclusively. This will ensure you have the most experienced team on board to tackle the challenge of your pre-sales process.