Inside Sales Tips — Debunking Voice Mail Myths

At some point every sales organization that engages in outbound prospecting has a debate over whether targeted sales voice messages make any real difference in results.

The primary complaints of those who don’t like using voice mail as a prospecting tool:

1. It doesn’t work
2. Even if it does work, it’s too time consuming.

I’m here to debunk both of these myths.

Myth #1: It doesn’t work.

The Reality: voice mail works, and it works well.

On any objective level, this complaint is a straw man argument. Inside sales industry insider Ken Krogue has created and nurtured two $1 million+ a month sales teams in two different industries—business development at Franklin-Covey (now Franklin-Qwest), and telecom with inContact, formerly UCN. Every piece of data he’s ever compiled from his teams shows that direct prospecting voice mail averages a 4-6 percent response rate –and it’s often much higher, depending on the product, vertical, and targets chosen.

To give some perspective, consider that The Direct Marketing Association states that direct mail marketing pieces are typically believed to get between 1 and 3 percent response rates, and Business Week states that since 2006, Web banner click-throughs average around .2 percent across the board.

Voice messages while phone prospecting gets double the average response rates of direct mail, and 25 times the response rate of Web banner ads. Even at the baseline level of effectiveness, if you’re not leaving voice messages with your prospects, you’re essentially losing 1 contactable lead for every 20 dials you make.

Now here’s the kicker: Ken’s experience has also proven that voice mail responses from prospects increases if you include another medium along with it—email, or fax, or both.

Combined together, all of the forms of contact create a synergy that pushes response rates upwards into the 12-14 percent range.

Myth #2: Even if it does work, it’s too time consuming.

The Reality: a dialer tool makes this a total non-issue.

Without a dialer automating the voice messaging process, the time investment can be heavy. When you consider the average voice mail is a variation of the same basic 30-second message, if you’re making 80 calls a day, and 60 of them go to voice mail, you’re spending 1800 seconds, or 30 minutes of every single day, simply talking into somebody’s inbox. If you’re a lead gen specialist making 150 to 200 calls a day, that time waste doubles.

But throw in a dialer tool, (like the XANT PowerDialer) and that wasted time sink vanishes into the ether. Dialer systems are sophisticated enough now where you can record an entire block of potential voice messages, all in your own voice, that you leave for a prospect at the click of a button.

You transfer to the prospect’s inbox and instead of going into your scripted spiel, you simply say the prospect’s first name:

“Hi Dave,”

And then click a button that drops any of your prerecorded messages down. You disconnect from the call, and at that point, you’re free to immediately move to the next call in sequence. Send a short, targeted email to synergize with your efforts, and you’re off to your next (hopefully more productive) call, leveraging the benefits of voice mail and email in a matter of seconds.

The bottom line:

If you don’t want to do voice messaging as part of your prospecting mix, that’s fine, no one’s stopping you. Just don’t go claiming that it’s bunk to make yourself feel better for not doing it.

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