How to Choose the Best Outbound Call Center

An outbound call center is an excellent cost-saving alternative to an in-house sales development team. However, if your B2B company has never outsourced lead generation, choosing the right provider can be challenging. 

Today, there are a number of outbound call centers to choose from; however, only a select few of these can be a good fit for your company. You may have a number of reasons for outsourcing your lead generation, namely to boost sales, but you’ll also want to make the most out of this collaboration. If not done correctly, picking the wrong outbound call center can become a tremendous waste of time and money for your company.

CIENCE has vast experience in outbound prospecting. We’ve learned how to prospect most effectively after years of successfully collaborating with businesses of all types of industries. We’ve also collected feedback from our clients, which is why we know precisely what works the best. Here are some essential tips to follow to find the best outbound center for your company.

How to Select the Best Outbound Call Center

The outbound call center is a business operation that is used to engage new customers, prospects, and leads into a phone conversation with the sales development representatives (SDRs) of the company. The SDRs make outgoing calls with third parties using tools like a small business phone system with the intent of completing a sale.  

So how do you select the right one for your business? Follow these best practices when choosing an outbound call center:

1. Estimate the price of the outbound call center services.

One of the primary reasons for outsourcing telemarketing is to reduce costs. However, companies find it challenging to compare the expenses of an in-house employee versus the price of an outsourced service. This is mainly because they have trouble setting the right criteria. 

To do it right, you’ll need to estimate the costs according to the goals you want to achieve. For outbound prospecting, these goals might be setting an appointment, passing a qualified opportunity to an account executive, or both.

Next, define how much money your company has to spend in order to attain this goal. To calculate the cost of one opportunity passed or one set appointment, simply divide monthly expenses for your SDR by the number of achieved goals. Seeing the real numbers will help you to decide if an outbound call center works for you, or if you should look for other opportunities on the market.

Average costs for an in-house vs. outsourced SDR

According to the Bridge Group’s SDR research 2021, the average quota for the accepted qualified opportunities is fifteen. However, only 68% of SDRs manage to attain it, so you can expect that the achieved goal of one SDR will be 10.2 opportunities per month.

Meanwhile, the average monthly expenses for the work of an SDR is about $11,112, as shown in the chart below:

How to Choose the Best Outbound Call Center — 1

This indicates that the average cost of one lead will be $1,089. You can make similar calculations for the services of an outbound call center. Simply divide their monthly price by the 10.2 opportunities.

Keep in mind that the stats above can vary depending on your industry, products, and your buyer persona. If you are looking for very specific companies (e.g., hotels on the West Coast), your lead pool will be small. As a result, you can’t expect to set as many appointments.

Similarly, if your product is complex and its sales cycle is long (e.g., you develop software for hotels on the West Coast), you’ll be lucky to have three qualified appointments per month.

2. Evaluate the lead generation process.

Recently, companies started to realize that outbound lead generation is a reliable way to increase the number of closed deals. However, sales have changed dramatically over the decade and become more sophisticated. 

Today, to be a successful business, it’s not enough to hire people with minor sales experience and have them read a generic script right to a list of contacts. Not only will it waste the time of your employees and their contacts, but it will also damage your reputation.

Without the right training and experience, in about 17 months, your sales reps will either ask for a promotion, request to change departments, or leave for good; consequently, your sales team will have to start all over again, wasting more precious time. You need experienced professionals to succeed in lead generation. If you think about hiring an outbound call center, look for the best packages that offer the most advantages for your team. 

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The final numbers will vary with each project. It depends on many parameters, and it’s hard to predict precisely how many leads your company will gain from outbound prospecting. The above infographic shows average stats, which your company can exceed with the right sales process and outbound call center.

During an outbound campaign, it’s essential to stick to the cadence and repeatable actions. In particular, the best outbound call center would contact your quality leads regularly through several channels. It should include well-organized, semi-automated, personalized outreach that can generate the most qualified opportunities for your sales team.

Learn more about the efficient lead generation process, cadence, and a typical schedule of an SDR.

3. Ask for regular reports from the outbound call center.

One of the reasons companies opt for outsourcing is to help them keep track of the SDRs’ activities and measure their performance. Look for an outbound call center that uses a reporting system that details campaign performance so you can make adjustments when necessary. 

At CIENCE, SDRs fill in a mastersheet several times during the day. The mastersheet includes data about every SDR/lead interaction, which is then generated into a report. Once a week, the report is presented to the customer, where we explain and answer questions about our metrics. We make sure that each report is brief but comprehensive. 

When choosing the right outbound call center, ask about the reporting. Inquire which statistics they provide and how often. Some of the essential stats include bounce rate, auto-replies, open rate, response rate, conversion rate, daily/weekly/monthly number of sent emails, and several dials and conversations.

4. Apply email services.

Lead generation is more effective when you combine phone calling with email send-outs. An email sent on time can warm up your potential clients by providing initial information and pressing on their pain points. Furthermore, an email can be the beginning of a conversation with your prospect.

Emails are a powerful channel to deliver your ideas to a potential prospect. They must be short and targeted; having a skilled copywriter is essential to create effective messaging. SDRs at CIENCE perform A/B testing to check what subject line works better. Plus, we consider personalization one of the most useful tools for crafting emails. Each SDR researches every prospect so all messages have a human touch. 

Inquire if the outbound call center uses skilled in-house copywriters to write the emails. You can also ask them to send you a sample of an outbound email they send to their leads.

No matter how good the copywriter, the company should regularly monitor outbound performance. If the open or response rate of your email campaigns is lower than expected, you may need to adjust the type of emails sent out. If an outbound call center doesn’t do this type of reporting, you won’t have the right messaging to engage potential prospects.

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5.  Make use of research services.

To guarantee the quality of the leads, you'll need targeted research on prospects. Email send-outs and phone calls are costly in terms of the time and money you spend. A good outbound call service will know your ICP and buyer persona inside and out. 

The best outbound call centers have extensive research teams. Our team consists of more than 240 professional lead researchers that supply high-quality contact lists to the SDR teams daily. This enables our SDRs to reach quotas by focusing only on qualified leads. Don’t hesitate to ask the outbound call center where it obtains its contact lists. If they tell you that they use the contacts of previous clients, you should probably go with someone else. And worse, if you go with them, your contact list might be used for another client.

Explore the Day in the Life of a Researcher

6. Employ appointment setting services.

The goal of any outbound calling program is to contact, engage, and, ultimately, set qualified appointments. If your call scripts, emails, and sales research are all aligned, your chances of creating a predictable top-of-funnel pipeline should be high. 

If your outbound calling program is falling short in producing a predictable stream of qualified outbound appointments, check out these top appointment setting services. Like other services, the best ones combine research, strategy, content, and call-to-action optimizations focused on the best results for your company. 

7. Look for flexibility in an outbound call center.

We believe that every business is unique. That’s why flexibility is one of the best options an outbound call center can provide to its clients. Every campaign that CIENCE conducts is crafted toward the goals and requirements of a client. Every campaign was different; being able to adapt to a variety of challenges is crucial. 

8. Hire only the best people.

Lead generation is human-to-human work, so building those personal relationships is critical. You’ll need outstanding people who can cope with stress and constant rejection while still remaining positive. The more SDRs there are in an outbound call center, the better off everyone is in reaching their goals. These teams work as a unit, supporting each other to achieve business goals. 

Ask to talk to your SDR before agreeing with an outbound call center. Do you feel comfortable with this person? Do you like his or her voice/style? You should also ask about their experience with other projects. Inquire about their strategies to approach people they don’t know.

9. Check client reviews and success stories of the outbound call center.

Always read the reviews and check feedback from previous customers. Try to find out as much as you can about their experience with the outsourced outbound call center and if they experienced any problems. 

Find the Right Outbound Call Center

Looking for the right outbound call center and other call center tools can be challenging. By using these tips, you’ll be able to optimize your sales process as you move through each stage of the buyer’s journey. Do your research, look before you leap, and only choose the best outbound experts that will suit your business. 

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2020 and has been completely updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.