For companies that do targeted outbound prospecting, the Dialer Initiatives tool has been designed to help sales managers answer two simple questions:
Research from the Harvard Business Review, Inc.com, Marketing Sherpa, and our own internal ResponseAudits consistently shows that companies don't respond fast enough to newly-generated marketing inquiries, don't make enough total contact attempts, and don't focus their efforts on the optimal times of day and days of the week to maximize their efforts.
And Dialer Initiatives can help organizations change this paradigm.
Many companies receive new sales leads every single day, varying in varying quality, source, and level of interest. Yet most companies don't properly prioritize their follow-up efforts to meet the results the Harvard Business Review data shows can happen when follow-up happens in minutes.
For companies that struggle with Lead Response Management, the Dialer Initiative tools can become a "secret weapon" for success. They provide sales managers with strategic, self-managed calling queues that automatically update to reflect what's happening with your company in real time.
Initiatives can be pre-programmed to include or exclude Leads (or Contacts) in a dialer queue, based on the time zone the lead resides in, how many times it has been dialed, the current status disposition, the original source of the lead, and much more.
Static Dialer Initiatives are created by running a search from the Leads or Contacts within the LMP. They're "static" because unlike Dynamic Initiatives, the list of names in the call queue never changes once the Initiative is created.
Remember that static initiatives are designed to be surgical, and linear—a user starts at the top of the static list, and works their way to the bottom until finished. Once a record has been dialed as part of a Static Initiative, it gets marked and removed from the list queue.
Static initiatives are created by running an advanced search from the Leads tab. For example, let’s say I wanted to find a list of leads in:
We mentioned previously that Dynamic Initiatives are "dynamic" because the records in the call queue are constantly changed and updated.
When implemented correctly, Dynamic Initiatives provide a huge strategic benefit. They can help insure that new Lead inquiries are being dialed in minutes, they aid reps in actively and consistently following up on Leads to make contact, and help agents target the best possible Leads for a given day and hour of the day.
Dynamic Initiatives are created with the Dialer Initiative tool in the Admin tab. You can choose to either create Lead record or Contact record initiatives, though in our experience the vast majority of organizations (95+ percent) use Lead-based initiatives exclusively.
Armed with your database query knowledge and your call workflow strategy, let's get started building some actual initiatives.
Each page will now be described below
The first Initiative setup section lets us establish some basic operating parameters. Give your initiative a name, a start date and an end date. If your initiative is going to be an ongoing, “never-ending” initiative, set the end date out for several years.
Default voice message, email, fax, and script — If desired, specify a default voice message, email, fax, and script.
The Limit Calls to field determines which users get to call the entries in the initiative. You can choose from these settings:
Just like the Limit Calls To option, the Call Nows Go To can be set to Initiative Attendees, Only Owner, or Campaign Attendees.
Callbacks Go To — One of the PowerDialer's strongest features is its automated callback option. When a callback is set in the PowerDialer, the system automatically tracks the date, time, and record needed for the call back, then puts the information directly in front of the user at the right time.
To help workflow and keep call backs from stagnating, the system applies a time limit to how long a call back can sit idle if the user who created it doesn't take it. This setting has the same three options, with one additional setting:
Apply Attempt Limits — This setting prevents users from making an excessive number of first and second call attempts. This is designed to be a regulatory tool to prevent users from "hogging" all of the newest, freshest leads. To use this setting, you also need to set the Attempt Limit number in each employees' user profile.
Attendees — This is how you assign agents to the Dialer Initiative. Press the Invite button to open the dialogue to choose employees and click the box next to the name of the agents you wish to select. You can also select all the employees at once by clicking the check mark in the header above the boxes. When you're done, click Update Attendees
Days Active — This establishes which days of the week the Initiative runs. This can be important if you don't want users to call on "off work" days, like Saturdays, for instance.
Call Recording Ratio — The Call Recording Ratio works in conjunction with the InsideSales.com Recording & Monitoring system. This setting instructs the Initiative to automatically record each user's calls at a pre-determined rate. A "1/5" ratio, for instance, instructs the initiative to randomly record one out of every five calls. If no call recording ratio is specified here, the dialer reverts to the specified recording ratio for each individual employee (located in their Employee Profile).
Minimum Recording Time — This specifies the number in seconds of how long a call must be for the dialer system to keep any call recordings. For example, if you set it to 30, the system will automatically delete any call recordings 30 seconds or shorter.
Time Between Calls — By default, a Dialer Initiative runs its assigned database queries every 60 minutes. In essence, the system rebuilds your calling queue each time the queries run. This is a great feature, because it ensures that the most important leads will continue to rise to the top of the queue.
The potential problem, however, is that it can also mean that leads that were called say, 30 minutes ago could theoretically get called again the next time the dialer queries run. Thus, the time between calls prevents leads from getting called too often by putting a "back-off" time in place.
Depending on how you've set up your queries, there are other ways you could strategically prevent "over calling" from happening, but this option puts a nice failsafe in place.
Agent Time Between Calls — This is similar to the Time Between Calls option, only this setting is specific to individual agents. The Time Between Calls determines how often a Lead can get called; the Agent Time Between Calls determines how often any one agent can be the one making the call.
For example: if Time Between Calls is set for 8 hours, but the Agent Time Between Calls is set for 24 hours, then the same Lead could theoretically get called twice within 8 hours, but it would have to be by two separate agents (since the first agent would have to wait 24 hours before being able to call the Lead again).
No Answer Timeout — This setting controls how long the dialer system will let a recipient's phone ring without answering. Once a call hits the No Answer Timeout limit, the dialer server will automatically disconnect the call.
For your information:
Caller ID — Specifies what will appear on a recipient's phone as the originating number, for any calls originating from this Initiative. If a number is not specified, or the Use agent station check box is selected, the system will use each agent's individual station phone number for the Caller ID, as listed on their Employee Information page.
Also, be aware that calls that originate elsewhere (like Click-to-Call within the CRM) will show a different Caller ID.
Prioritize Phone Fields—The second Initiative setup page is very simple; choose which of the phone number fields in your Lead Layout can potentially be dialed, and in what order.
Unless you have a compelling reason not to, we recommend always using the default "Phone" field as the primary dialing option, but feel free to add any of the secondary phone fields to the list.
After adding the fields you want, you can drag-and-drop the list order to suit your needs.
The third section is where you create your time blocks, and each block's associated database queries. If this is a new initiative, there won't be any visible information. If you're editing an existing initiative, you should see the existing setup.
The first step is to establish the Time Ranges. As mentioned earlier, the time range(s) should coincide with when your reps are actually making calls, not with the location of the records being dialed (the queries themselves control which locations / time zones are being targeted).
Click Add Time Range to add a block of time to the Initiative. For purposes of this training, set the start range to 8:00 AM, and the end range to 8:00 PM.
As soon as you add the time range, the system will immediately pop up the Query Builder screen.
For this training, change the name of the query to "Eastern Time Only - All Day."
Next, (as shown below) you can choose a value for the Limit Calls to field. This field determines which users get to call the results of the query. This is the same as the Limit Calls To setting on the Dialer Initiative Information page, but is instead specific to individual queries. Choosing settings other than "Initiative Settings" from this dropdown will override the Limit Calls to setting on Dialer Initiative Information page. By taking advantage of this, you are able to have different queries within utilized different Limit Calls To settings if you so choose.
You can choose from these settings:
Queries use two components to generate the call queue—Filters and Sorting rules. Filters control which Leads appear in the queue; sorting rules control what order they appear. This is a key distinction, especially for new Sysadmins, to better manage Initiatives—"Are my users getting the right records to call, and are they getting them in the correct order?"
Start by adding a Filter to the query
Notice you can use any data field you want as a query filter, but most Sysadmins tend to focus on just a few key options.
In the dropdown, choose the field on which you want the filter to be based. In this case, select "Time Zone" as the filter field.
Once the field filter is chosen, the next step is to set our logical options, or Boolean Operators. The First option is the IS/IS NOT option checkbox. Most of the time you'll use the IS option, so leave the checkmark blank.
Next, we need to decide if we want to limit our choice to just one option, a select set of options, or everything at once. This is represented by the Equal To, One Of, or Set to Any Value options in the dropdown.
In this case, we are only going to set one option, Eastern Time, so choose the (=) equal to.
Then in the last dropdown, we need to select Eastern Standard Time (America/New York).
So to sum up so far: we've instructed the query for this Dialer Initiative, that between the hours of 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM, we only want to call Leads located in the Eastern time zone. However, that's still fairly broad in scope, so we might want to add a couple more filters, and a sorting rule or two before we move on.
Click the Add Filter button again, and select Lead Status as the controlling field.
Now in our Boolean operators, select One of in the dropdown.
Let's assume that we wanted to call all Leads in Eastern time zone (because that's the filter we set previously), but only those whose Lead Status was not set (i.e., blank), or still marked as New. To do this, click Not Set in the dropdown menu so that it's highlighted. Then, while holding down the CTRL key, select New as a second option for our filter.
Great! We've narrowed down our entire database of Leads to only those that match the specified Time Zones and Lead Statuses.
For our third filter, we're going to limit the Leads in the queue to only those who have been dialed less than three (3) times (i.e., they've been called 0, 1, or 2 times). Click Add Filter once again, and select Dial Attempts as the controlling field.
Now notice that for this filter, we have quite a few more Boolean operators than for our Time Zone and Lead Status filters. This is because unlike Time Zone and Lead Status, which have a finite number of options, the Dial Attempts field could theoretically be any number (obviously no one is going to get called 2,500 times or anything, but as far as the dialer server knows, the number could be anything).
In this particular case, we could use either of two options: Less Than, or Between. For simplicity, we'll set the Dial Attempts filter to "Less than 3." In other situations, the "between" option might have been more appropriate; for example, "Less than 6" and "Between 2 and 5" are clearly not the same. In this case though, "Less than 3" and "Between 0 and 2" would accomplish the same thing.
At this point, your hypothetical query filters are set and ready. However, we're going to assume you want to sort the Leads to be called as well.
Click Add Sort to add a sorting rule.
Just like our filters, the first step is to choose the controlling field. We've already filtered our leads according to the number of dial attempts made; now we're going to sort them as well, because we want the Leads with the fewest number of dial attempts to get called first.
Select Dial Attempts as the controlling field for our sort. Now we need to choose the direction of the sort.
Most of the time, understanding "ascending" and "descending" order is pretty straightforward; "sort by ascending" means that records with the smallest values get called first, those with the highest values get called last. Descending order reverses that.
The only time this gets tricky is with dates. Remember: Dates sorted by Ascending order puts those with the smallest "chronological" value (read: oldest) first in the display. Dates sorted by Descending puts the largest "chronological" value (the most recent) first.
In our sample Initiative we're going to set Dial Attempts to Ascending order, meaning those with the fewest attempts get called first.
However, we're also going to add a second sorting rule of Created Date, and set it to descending so that it will list the newest leads within each subset of dial attempts.
With our two sorting rules combined, we're now going to call the Leads with the fewest number dial attempts, that are the newest in the system, first.
Keep this page defaults on.
If you have questions about this page contact a support rep.
Keep this page defaults on.
If you have questions about this page contact a support rep.
Select your layout for this initiative. Your layouts are set up via the Manage Layout Groups.
Dialer Initiatives come in two "flavors": static, and dynamic. Each type of initiative serves a similar purpose—to increase calling productivity and effectiveness—but work along different paradigms and strategies.
Static Initiatives are the simpler of the two, and are created from within the Leads object tab in the CRM. They typically designed to be surgical in nature—take a relatively small (a maximum of 300-400 records) cross-section of the database, put them into a single, sequential list to ensure that every one gets called, and do it rapidly.
Once created, the records contained within a Static Initiative never change. If a user finds out later that they missed some records that needed to be included in the Static Initiative, they'll have to disband their current list and construct a new one to account for it.
Dynamic Initiatives, on the other hand, are created directly in the Dialer Initiatives tool link in the Admin tab. They're considered "dynamic" because the names within them are constantly changing and updating. Every hour, the database cross-checks the criteria for names to be included in the Initiative. When the checkpoint happens, new records may be added to the queue to be called, and some records will be removed or discarded from the queue, based on previous activity.
Strategically, Dynamic Initiatives are designed for broad, holistic contacting and marketing strategies. They are meant to better integrate sales and marketing best practices into the prospecting process, helping sales reps and managers see more meaningful results from their work, while increasing the level of professionalism.
Both types of initiatives have parameters that can be edited to help users do their work—interface elements, the record layout, callback and security parameters, etc. However, when originally created, both types use a default set of parameters specified within the Default Initiative tool.
To save time, once you're more familiar with basic initiative concepts, we recommend going in and establishing the default initiative settings to fit your process going forward. Obviously you can go back and change Initiative settings after they get created, but a good set of default settings will help you save time.
This is particularly important if you're regularly using Static Initiatives. Most Static Initiatives are created by end users—and as a rule they don't have access to the Dialer Initiative admin tools. Thus, if the default initiative settings aren't well-designed, a basic user can't access the Dialer Initiatives tool to make changes.
Again, once you feel more comfortable with Initiative basics, go in and establish the default settings.
Some wonder if "stacking" additional time blocks, or additional queries in a single time block, changes things. The answer is, "Not really."
The only real change is that if you have multiple stacked queries running in the same block, you have to prioritize them. You must dial through all of the resulting leads in the first query before you will access the secondary query, and so on. If you never reach the end of a list of names in one stacked query, you'll never see any of the other Leads in the other queries. If it's important to reach all of the leads in ALL of your queries, you'll need to program that into your current Initiative, or you may need to create an entirely separate Initiative to account for it.
If you want to create multiple queries that are similar in nature, you can use the Clone button to create a copy of an existing query. Then simply edit the elements that differ.
Cloned queries connect and function with the query preview tool once added and saved to the time block.
Earlier we mentioned the Default Initiative Settings, accessible from the Dialer Initiatives link in the Admin tab. Unless a Sysadmin goes in and updates a Static Initiative after it's created, all of the Static Initiative's settings—layout, action buttons, tic sheet, etc.—are controlled by the Default Settings.
Once again, if Static Initiatives are going to be a big part of your user calling strategy, you'll want to go in and establish a solid, core set of Initiative Defaults.
Because those settings directly mirror those contained within a Dynamic Initiative, we aren't going to discuss those settings at this time. As we transition into the section on Dynamic Initiatives, pay attention to the various options and settings. Once you grasp the basic components, you should be able to go back later and create a good set of initiative defaults.
If the wrong leads appear to be coming into the dialer:
Not able to get a connection to the agent leg:
The most important element in creating effective Dynamic Initiatives is the search queries that control which names will appear in the queue.
By association, creating the right queries hinges on having a clear, effective strategy in place, and then executing it. If needed, review the database section of the help guide, and practice running advanced searches. Have your process flow chart handy, and keep in mind how the principles of data ownership, field types, and Boolean logic affect the database.
A "query" is just a fancy way of saying, "Searching through a database and finding a set of records based on specific criteria." You can create simple queries with only one or two criteria, or sophisticated queries with multiple criteria that all interact with each other—time of day, location of the record being called, the current record status, the number of times it has already been dialed, source of the Lead, or anything else you decide.
One key concept to keep in mind: queries are always tied to a specific block of time within your Initiative. Each time block could be envisioned as "the times agents' butts are actually in their seats making calls." If you create an Initiative with a single time block from 11 AM to 4 PM, then those are the times agents should be on the initiative making calls. If you have two blocks of time, from 8 AM to 11 AM, and from 2 PM to 5 PM, then from 11 to 2, agents couldn't make calls from the Initiative.
Breaking down Initiatives into time blocks and queries means makes it simple to establish calling strategies that update on the fly throughout the workday. For instance, from 8 AM to 11 AM you might want to call leads in New York, then from 11 AM to 2 PM you might want to call Chicago, then from 2 PM to 8 PM you might want to call nation-wide.
Even if you don't typically break down your call strategies by time (meaning, you just call anything you've got all day long), you'll still need to set up an Initiative time block—it'll just be a single, long block for the entire day.
It’s always controlled by the dialer query for that block of time. You could load those same queries into an Advanced Lead Search in the LMP to get an idea of the leads that will pull up.
Yes. To make this happen, create a time block with two or more stacked queries in the individual time block. The dialer will run the first query’s block of leads first, then move down to the second priority query, and so on.
You’ll need to change the sorting rule, or the time between calls to prevent leads from getting recycled so rapidly.
Every 60 minutes, on the hour or shortly thereafter.
Yes. Use the “Limit Calls to Own Contacts” option in Dialer Initiative section #1.
In the reports area (discussed later in this document), look for lead disposition reports (reports tracking the lead statuses) and the dialer impression counts. These reports will show the total number of dials per agent, as well as their effectiveness based on the disposition of each call.
Your users are forgetting to take ownership of the lead / contact when they speak to a decision maker. You’ll either need to train them to do so, or pre-assign ownership of the leads to ensure the reports are accurate. If you're even more ambitious, build an ResponseLoop that automatically assigns ownership based on which agent first works on the lead.
You’ll need to provide a way for your callers to go back and call on these leads. This typically involves either giving them access to the Leads tab in the InsideSales.com CRM system, or creating another dialer initiative that is specifically targeting leads marked to those dispositions.
This can be caused by several factors:
Over the years, we've found that most organizations focus on four to six key query criteria: