For many call centers, there’s a simple way to assess performance: with a quick look at Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).
However, for as important as that single metric is for outbound sales and lead gen teams, it’s not always easy to understand why it might be running a little high.
Convoso’s CEO and Co-Founder Nima Hakimi joined Jason Cutter, a consultant, trainer, and author focused on helping sales operations achieve scale to discuss this issue in a recent workshop. During the discussion—which you can watch in full below—the pair broke down the top five (and a half) reasons why your CPA might be too high.
Don’t have time to watch the complete event? We’ve got a quick summary of the key takeaways for you to browse below.
Poor List Management
All too many lead gen and outbound sales teams rely on an outdated, oversimplified approach to acquisition. When you boil it down, they’re basically buying lists and leads, dumping them into their systems, and dialing while hoping for the best.
This “buy, buy, buy, dial, dial, dial” approach might have worked for some in the past. But these days, Nima Hakimi says that’s no longer going to cut it. “You can’t just keep dialing a lead 30, 40, 50 times. You’ll get calls blocked and flagged, all kinds of bad things will happen.”
“You have to look at list management at a micro level,” says Hakimi. That means taking into account three specific components of your true CPA:
- The cost of your agents, including their wages and the time they spend on the phone vs. idle.
- The total cost of your dialer, including minutes, license, etc.
- The cost of your leads.
“Being able to break [these three costs] down at the list level is very important,” says Hakimi. Convoso’s cloud-based contact center software offers this information within its essential List Conversion Report, giving managers the ability to understand their true CPA and list performance down to an hour-by-hour and agent-by-agent basis.
Using this real-time call center reporting data, they can turn certain lists on and off, while also making sure that the right calls get routed to the right agents. “If you do this on a daily basis, you will see better results,” says Hakimi.
Lack of Intelligent Lead Routing
If you don’t know who your lead is or where they came from, it can be difficult to know where to route them. “The more info you have the better,” says Hakimi.
“For example, if you know the source of the lead, you can create rules [in Convoso] that filter that lead to specific agents that are part of a specific campaign.” Ultimately, this helps ensure that the agents best equipped to handle a given customer are the ones who get connected and get a chance to convert. “When certain reps are doing well, you want to keep feeding that hot hand,” says Cutter. “You need to make sure you have the technology in place to do that.” Plus, this data can help agents deliver a more personalized experience.
Of course, lead source is just the tip of the iceberg. Using Convoso’s advanced lead filtering capability, you can create rules for skills-based routing using any field value you have at your disposal, giving you the ability, for instance, to connect costly high-intent leads only with your top performing agents—or only route calls from certain states to agents with the correct licensure.
All together, this adds up to greater sales efficiency and a lower cost-per-acquisition.
Disconnect Between Marketing and Sales
Some level of disconnect between marketing and sales teams is basically unavoidable. “This is always a challenge. I would say every organization has this challenge,” says Hakimi. “Marketing may provide the leads and Sales will complain about the quality. Or Marketing will say Sales isn’t doing a good enough job with those leads.”
No matter who says what though, what’s most important to driving down your CPA is having the data available and reporting capabilities to go off of what the numbers have to say—not marketing and sales teams.
Once again, the right technology can play a key role in building effective communication between teams. Hakimi suggests relying on a dialer that can not only deliver reports on the right metrics, but also send out those reports to key marketing and sales stakeholders at preset intervals.
Meanwhile, though, Cutter discussed the importance of building consensus on what should be included in those shared reports. Too often, he says, marketing and sales teams are siloed and relying on different call center KPIs. To ensure that they’re working toward the same goals —including lowering their business’s CPA— KPIs and measurement processes should be developed collaboratively across teams.
Selling Effectiveness and Agent Training
These same silos can also hamper overall sales effectiveness. “A lot of times sales is picking up a conversation that’s already been started in a prospect’s head [by the marketing team] and the agent literally doesn’t know how to continue that. And if there’s a disconnect, people are not going to trust [your business].”
Related to this disconnect, according to Cutter, is how agents are frequently trained (or not trained) to tailor their approach based on where a lead is sourced. Cutter says that he routinely encounters teams whose agents deliver disjointed sales experiences because they’re not trained to change things up.
“I constantly see organizations where it’s one-size-fits-all,” he says, “That agent, no matter what the screen says, is going to say the same thing—and they don’t care because they’re not paying for the leads. But this will destroy your CPA.”
Part of the responsibility for shoring up this knowledge gap, according to Cutter, falls on managers. But teams’ dialers can also play a role in supporting agents who might lack comprehensive training for the time being. For instance, Hakimi says that dynamic scripting capabilities can equip agents with the right message for different lead sources on every call. Likewise, intelligent routing rules can make sure that agents only connect with leads that they’ve been trained to handle in the first place.
Poor Caller ID Reputation
Not everything that drives up CPA happens after a call connects, of course. One of the biggest causes of higher costs today are rampant issues of call blocking and flagging.
Nima Hakimi says there’s no single solution for these issues. Instead, lead gen and outbound sales call centers need to embrace a range of best practices and strategies to protect their caller ID reputations and boost contact rates. This includes:
- Monitoring call volume by area. Hakimi recommends, if possible, limiting calls to 50 per area code, per carrier, per day.
- Register your number with analytics companies that report call data to carriers.
- Rely on omnichannel contact center solutions. The more channels you’re able to rely on, the more you can limit your call volumes and lower your chances of blocked and flagged numbers.
Tune into the full workshop video above to hear Cutter and Hakimi discuss reason number 5-1/2 for call centers’ high cost per acquisition rates. To close out the session, the experts dig into a range of “contact rate killers” that indirectly inflate your true CPA.
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