What to Look For in a Sales Dialer – One (Very Smart) Man’s Response

Christopher Tuttle

Inside sales entrepreneur Ken Krogue recently responded to a comment on his blog, asking what the key principles, or key concepts should be when looking for a dialer system to improve sales performance and productivity.

His response was short, but insightful, so with his permission I’m re-posting it here.

Question: Other than cost, what features are important while using a hosted dialer?

Ken’s Answer:

“That’s an interesting question. On the surface the basic concept is the same for all of them–make more calls and make better use of agent time.

The differences really depend on:

1. The number of agents you want to have active on the dialer at a time.

If you’re only planning on having 1-5 reps, certain dialer technologies, namely predictive dialers, don’t really work effectively until you scale up to 7-10 agents. In these cases, a “single agent-single call” dialer system will work much, much better, while still giving you additional leverage for the work you’re doing.

2. How much access the system gives managers on both the front and back end.

Hosted dialer systems can vary in how they manage adding data to the dialer, how it’s organized, report visibility, and the level of control management has over how the data gets processed.

For example, one of the cool things the PowerDialer for InsideSales does is it allows managers to intelligently control nearly every aspect of how the calls get sent out to the agents–time of day, how often they want to be called, the order they should be called, priority based on status/age of the lead/last time of contact, etc.

I’m not saying you necessarily need this type of flexibility, but it’s something to consider.

The dialer system should allow you, the people who need to make work, to be both flexible and effective in how you set up and run it.

3. How capable is it in mixing additional media along with your calling efforts?

Calling by itself can be effective, but combined with email, voice messaging, and/or fax capabilities you’ll have more success.

4. What’s your process for managing the “down time” like gatekeepers and voice message systems?

Different dialer systems have varying capabilities in working through this; make sure the technology can work with your process the way you want it to.

5. And the #1 feature to consider: Who’s going to run it, and ultimately “own” the project?

I realize this has nothing to do with the product itself, but this will ultimately have more effect on the outcome of your initiative than which technology you choose. I see more failed sales automation technology initiatives because of this than any other factor combined.

Someone needs to be in charge, they need to own it, and they need to be the “go to” point of contact for both the company buying the technology, and the vendor who is going to help them implement it.

If you haven’t nailed down who this is going to be–or they haven’t accepted the role, and the time and energy requirements it’s going to demand–don’t bother choosing a vendor. Take care of this first, then go back and make your technology choice.”

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