Working as an outbound prospecting rep is a tough job. The monotony of cold-calling and hitting lofty dial goals day-in-and-day-out can be a grueling grind that can weigh on even the best and most productive prospecting reps.
Yet, outbound prospecting is also an integral part of any sales organization. These reps play a pivotal role in helping the organization grow the sales pipeline. So, how can reps reconcile the importance of what they do with the monotony of what they do?
By creating structure in their day.
Why these reps need structure
So much of what outbound prospecting reps are expected to do is based on volume – “Do more! Make more dials! Call more leads!” This type of ‘more’ mentality puts pressure on reps to boil the ocean in their pursuit of more leads and opportunities. The purpose of making prospecting calls should be to grow the pipeline, not merely for the sake of having more activities.
As an outbound rep, adding structure to your day serves several key purposes:
It organizes your day into strategic, palatable and targeted chunks, with specific goals for each of these time chunks
It avoids scenarios where reps fall behind early and have to make up a significant gulf on their dial numbers at the end of the day – calling meaningless numbers just to hit a quota is a poor practice. The daily chart for a prospecting rep’s activity should never look like a hockey stick – it should have peaks and valleys throughout
It leaves room for actual prospecting and planning, instead of just making calls on autopilot
A sample structured calendar for an outbound prospecting rep
8:00 a.m. – Get in the office and set up your lists – who am I calling today? It’s important to get in the right frame of mind before you just sit down and start dialing indiscriminately. Setting up your lists is a good start.
8:30 a.m. – First call blast of the day. Who’s at their desk right now? People on the East Coast, as well as potential customers in Europe. Hit these specific numbers on your list first. Set a goal too. If you have a daily goal of 100 calls, plan to do 30 in this first batch.
10:00 a.m. – First break of the day. We know cold-calling and outbound prospecting can be monotonous, so these breaks are important. Get some coffee, go for a walk, or play some ping pong to get your blood flowing and to clear your mind.
10:30 a.m. – Second call blast of the day. Now’s a good time to start hitting prospects working in the Central Standard Time zone. This should be your biggest call blast of the day because prospects across most time zones will be in the office or arriving during this window. Shoot for 40 dials.
12:30 p.m. – Lunch time! Be sure to eat away from your desk – it’s important to actually, physically unplug at lunch.
1:00 pm -You’re now in a food coma from that burrito you had at lunch. Is now a good time to go on a lengthy call blast? Not really, so look for other productive activities…like prospecting! This is a good time to do some lead generation and start backfilling your lists to call the rest of the day or week. Other good activities include building out organization charts (to reach more leads and decision-makers on each account that you call) or researching new prospecting email templates.
3:00 pm – Second break of the day. You still have 30 dials to make in order to hit your daily goal, so gear up for the home-stretch.
3:15 pm – Third and final call blast of the day, let’s make it a good one! Now’s a good time to hit those numbers on the West Coast (unless they’re at lunch – save West Coast numbers for after 4 or 5 pm). Australia is just waking up too, so don’t forget about those prospects.
Additionally, just because you’re just 30 dials away from hitting your daily goal doesn’t mean you should stop there. Shoot for 35 or 40 dials during this last stretch.
With a structure like this, your outbound prospecting reps will not only be more productive, while they will also be more motivated, more refreshed and less likely to burn out with the monotony of the job. They will also have the scheduled flexibility to participate in training and professional development exercises – such as product training or plugging in with senior sales reps – without disrupting their own call activities.
Give your reps the autonomy to structure their day in a way that works best for their work habits, but stress the importance of having such a structure.
Your outbound prospecting reps will appreciate it. So will your sales pipeline.