VoIP is hard. Plain and simple. There are so many factors involved in making a stable network able to handle the load of high frequency VoIP sales dialing. From network bandwidth to microwaving pizza we have seen issues of all shapes and sizes.
SalesLoft launched our dialer almost 3 years ago, and we’ve observed more usage and seen more hiccups than many vendors. Since we are going all in every day to make sure our clients are successful, we’ve learned more than most.
In fact, one of our founders is a former telecom engineer at Verizon. He then founded a voice software company and has been moving voice packets around for a decade. You’d be well within fair to identify us as VoIP nerds.
Here is the all too common symptom: “Sometimes my calls sound crappy and/or drop while I’m talking to someone..”
What’s actually happening? Even though you may have an expensive business-class network, VoIP tests the limits of your network unlike anything else. Blazing-fast internet speed isn’t enough nor an accurate indication of the “quality” of your network.
Your network may have periods of Jitter, Latency, and Packet Loss and you’d never know it until you start making VoIP calls.
What can you do about it? Creating a high-quality, reliable VoIP experience is an investment. But it’s an investment you only have to make once and will immediately pay dividends.
The truth is, you have to take it seriously and face the challenges head on. Based on our experience with customers making 40k+ dials per day with our platform, here are the areas you need to address in descending order of importance:
1) Network Equipment
Again, fast internet doesn’t mean “quality” internet. This problem area is often the greatest challenge you’ll face, but absolutely the most important.
When you place a VoIP call, the call’s “packets” will pass through access points, routers, and switches before they ever leave your office. You and your IT Network team will have to diligently work together to test, evaluate, and upgrade (if necessary) the hardware at each of these bottlenecks.
This task is daunting, for sure, but it’s an absolutely necessary step to upgrading your team to a modern sales environment. Your network quality should be as excellent as every other core part of your sales engagement process.
Buy your IT team dinner and do whatever it takes to make this happen. 🙂 We are here to help as well!
2) Prioritize VoIP on your Network
Your network has a ton of traffic going through it. However, not all traffic on your network is treated equally. Because VoIP is more sensitive to internet quality, your call traffic needs to be prioritized above all other types of internet traffic on your network, ahem Spotify.
We found that more often than not our customers network was not prioritized appropriately for VoIP. Don’t panic, your IT team can help you here. Even better news, it only has to be done once.
Your IT team has the ability to set up this prioritization (known in the VoIP world as “Quality of Service”, or QoS). This only needs to be set up once, and it will protect your call quality when someone in the office decides to start a giant download that otherwise would throttle your network’s bandwidth.
Before and After Network Prioritization:
Don’t worry, we built our dialer to help alert you of any issues with your connection. SalesLoft’s Live Call Quality Sensor will let you know if you are experiencing issues with your connection.
Quite simply, don’t use it for calls. Unless your routers are configured to have 100% coverage in your office, you are bound to have drop off in certain areas. It’s super easy to diagnose. Just take this quick network test to determine how many active calls your network can support.
There are other factors at play here as well. When using WiFi – there are external sources of interference at any given time outside of your control. For instance, we saw one network that had a router in the area taking up 4 channels of bandwidth which interfered with the unrelated office’s WiFi.
Everything in your office can work on the network and VoIP will still suck if you haven’t set it up correctly. For instance, Zoom web conferencing or Google Hangouts might calibrate your video to low quality, whereas a VoIP upstream provider might just cut off your call.
Sales teams cannot afford to take this risk. The simplest solution is to not use it. What do you do now? Plug directly in. For $9.99 you can purchase an ethernet to USB adaptor and enable your team to plug straight in.
Headsets are like VoIP gremlins; they can cause all sorts of problems and no one ever suspects them. Ironically, some of the more expensive, feature-packed headsets are often the most likely to cause problems.
Among the issues we’ve encountered:
- One pair had an auto-shut-off feature (power-saving mode) when there was too long of a pause in the conversation
- Another pair oddly disabled the microphone when an unusually loud audio signal was detected (like when a rep placed the headset down on their desk)
- Every time a microwave was turned on in the office, a rep’s bluetooth headset would disconnect
Each of the above may seem, at first, like a problem with your VoIP service (“the prospect couldn’t hear me!“). However, audio issues like these are often due to a rep’s lack of familiarity with the eccentricities, or downright bugs of their headset.
We keep a number of different types of headphone / microphone solutions in our office to help track down (or rule out) any potential headset-related problems reps encounter. Contact support@SalesLoft.com for any questions about your headsets.
5) Inaccurate Phone Number Data
Two thirds of dialer problems reported to us by customers are related to calls not connecting..
The vast majority of these, though, are due to bad phone number data, including:
- Invalid number formatting (too many or too few digits)
- Valid numbers that aren’t in service
- Numbers where the carrier auto-disconnects without any audible notification
If your lead or contact data comes from online forms or doesn’t go through any validation or verification process, your reps may be spending more time disconnecting than connecting with prospects. That’s why we built phone number pre-validation into our dialer as well.
When a rep making calls and gets on a roll, it’s especially frustrating to see calls fail to connect. Often this frustration gets reported back as a VoIP problem, rather than what’s really at the root: bad numbers.
For many reps, their livelihoods can often depend on the quality and stability of their phone and voice system. Investing in your network and taking the necessary steps to enable your team with the right equipment can turn a frustrating VoIP experience into a reliable and scalable component of your successful sales organization.
SalesLoft is dedicated to ensuring every single customer has access to the most up-to-date information, processes, and strategies to be successful with their VoIP dialing goals. In fact, we have an entire team dedicated to it. No other organization in the world cares more about getting your sales dialer call quality right than SalesLoft.
SalesLoft’s sales dialer and voice expertise provide companies of all sizes a best-in-class VoIP experience. In addition to our state of the art VoIP capabilities and expertise, we empower our customers with best practices, education and customized strategies to achieve success.