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Dial Rate
One of the biggest differences between consumer telemarketing and B2B telemarketing, and between consumer telemarketers (especially those that staff the typical $25/hour call center,) and B2B professionals, is the dial rate. Consumer telemarketers are used to having literally millions of prospects to target, so burning through a list and hoping to find someone dumb enough to take the call is okay. It's just a numbers game. But a business program may only have a couple of hundred, or at best, a couple of thousand, legitimate prospects to call. If you burn through the list and don't get any leads, you're out of luck. You've failed. So is having a high dial rate good? Or is making high quality calls, and getting good results from the limited list you have available, better?

Here's an example that's worth remembering: If your goal is to get appointments with the CFOs of the Fortune 100, and you dial all 100 (in, say, four hours,) and you don't get any leads, you can't go back and ask for another list. There's only 100 companies in the Fortune 100. While you may a couple of thousands legitimate prospects instead of only 100, having a high dial rate leads directly to failure in the B2B world.

Also, despite what most sales managers say, B2B sales is not simply a "numbers game." Sure, it's a commonly-used motivator, and there is some merit to it; but we all know sales people who have lots of activity with no results. Telemarketing firms that brag about their high dial rate are doing the same thing. Their approach is that if you can't get good results, at least show that you're working hard, i.e. that you have the lowest cost-per-dial. Or, like they say about tying knots, if you can't make good calls, at least make a lot of them.

To put together a successful program, you have to balance the dial rate with other factors. For example, how many people do you have to talk to to get to the decision maker? One dial, for example, may result in your talking to a receptionist, who passes you off to an executive assistant, who passes you off to voice mail, where you leave a good quality message, and then back out to the receptionist again, who puts you through to a manager, who finally tells you how to reach the decision maker. That's one dial that may have taken 20 minutes to get through. You also have to consider how long a good conversation might take. How many needs or applications can you realistically uncover in a one or two minute call? On the other hand, how many needs and problems (that would justify buying your product or service,) can you uncover, and how much rapport and value can you build, in a 15 minute dialog? Two of those, plus documenting the conversations, and your hour is done.