on Oct 4 2015
For example, a coffee filter business purchases a list of thousands of emails and phone numbers for 60,000 possible coffee shops in the U.S. They drop all this information into VOIQ along with a short script like: “Hi, we have this coffee filter that’s ten times better and five times cheaper than what you currently have. Would you be interested in hearing more about this?” We take the list and the script and distribute those calls to hundreds of our call agents to qualify the leads from their own phones through the VOIQ app. Our professional VOIQ call agents work from home throughout the US.
Most scripts end in a yes or no question. If the caller gets a “yes” he / she marks the lead as warm in the VOIQ mobile app. The coffee filter company can then view all their hot leads and pick up the sale without wasting hours on cold clients that have zero interest. With VOIQ they vet 60,000 leads by simply sitting in front of their desktop with a credit card, uploading their list and script, and hitting ‘Go’.
Before VOIQ companies would parse their sales team in two: inexperienced individuals right out of school to qualify leads, and then the A-team to close the leads. Companies employ hundreds of novice salesmen right out of school to vet their cold prospect lists. These kids are inexperienced, expensive for the work, and the turnover rate is high - the HR costs are high. VOIQ allows companies to outsource this entire portion of their workforce. Instead of hiring 100 new cold-callers every year, they just use VOIQ and save all that money and headache.
Larger companies can afford outbound call centers. Call centers are old school, they require monthly minimums with zero flexibility. Firms are required to purchase 50,000 calls per month regardless of whether they actually need to vet any leads that month. You give them a campaign, they’ll come back to you a month later with poor results and worse analytics.
The best part about VOIQ is that we’re so flexible. Rather than charge flat monthly minimums, we scale up and down as companies need. We can launch 60,000 calls in one day, or start with 5,000 and optimize the script daily until launching 100,000 calls with the perfect line. There are no long-term contracts and no commitments. We’re completely transparent, every call is recorded and monitored in real-time via the VOIQ dashboard.
We’ve built a turnkey inside sales team. Rather than hire and manage an entire inside sales team, companies just sign up for VOIQ, send a script, and we immediately starting vetting leads.
Our initial customers are medium and large size enterprise companies that already know how to build a list of prospects but waste valuable sales resources vetting those leads. They don’t have established call centers like Coca-Cola might, but rather a small valuable sales team that shouldn’t spend half their time just vetting leads. Instead of wasting the A-team’s time, or hiring an entire team of rookie salesmen, they just sign up for VOIQ and pass us their list.
Once we prove the efficiency and quality of our system we’ll be able to target larger enterprise clients. The sales cycle is much longer, and we must establish that we can compete on quality with the old school call centers. But once we do there isn’t any reason we can’t handle customers as large as Coca-Cola. We’ll be the super flexible high-touch solution for companies and consultants to test new markets fast and efficiently without all the corporate red tape.
Stanford University was our first client and the first to turn away from an old school solution to use VOIQ. They were using a call center to survey 300,000 business owners in the U.S. that charged twice what we do and didn’t allow Stanford to optimize the script as results came in. With our platform, they’ve been optimizing the script for the past month with 15,000 calls at time to improve their conversion before they launch with a much larger segment. We were more flexible at half the cost.
We are going to follow a “Dropbox sales strategy”. Dropbox offered storage, a product that most companies already had, however, they made it easy for anyone to share documents among groups. Most large enterprises have their core telemarketing and customer service functions driven by an internal or external call center vendor. We are reaching out to the many sales and/or marketing leaders of the organization and offering them the flexibility to run, in minutes, scalable A/B tests of large call campaigns, straight from their desktop without having the need to allocate call center resources within or outside of their organization.
We eat our own dog food. We use VOIQ to vet our phone leads in tandem with another automated email software program. All warm leads are passed to our single account manager who handles demos of the product and onboards new clients.
Our sales efforts have been slim while perfecting the product, now that we’re ready to scale we’ll be ramping up our sales efforts. To do this we just hired one of the top growth hacking expert firms in SV to work with us in building out a rock star internal sales team over the next 4 months.
Our call agents are analogous to a subject line of an email campaign, while internal sales team are akin to the actual email content and the rest of the funnel. Our call agents aren’t selling the product, we’re just testing client interest – whether they “open the email” - with a quick yes or no question. If we get a “yes” that shows sufficient interest and we pass the lead along.
Most small to medium size companies don’t even consider call vetting because it’s such a pain - hiring an internal sales team or finding a call center in India is daunting and incredibly expensive. While blasting 60,000 emails seems easy. Most businesses have to make do with one channel, email; call campaigns are too expensive and cumbersome to launch. But calls, as a channel produce great results, they’re higher touch and can’t be ignored as easily. Also most emails are lost data because an ignored email doesn’t answer any questions for a client – the problem might be the subject, the time of day, the template design, etc. Phone calls produce yes or no answers, and often follow up reasons. Even if we don’t warm a lead we’re collecting a bunch of data about their customer base on each and every call – no cold lead is ever a waste with VOIQ.
There are also many industries where email just doesn’t ever work to warm leads. Email never sticks in retail - in any sort of brick and mortar sales. Flowers shops, coffee shops, retailers are all closed over the phone and should be vetted in the same way. We’re not replacing the proven email process, we’re complimenting it with a second channel, a phone solution that is almost as cheap and produces great results.
On one hand we are destroying the global outbound call center market with the largest distributed network of call agents worldwide. Now any individual, in any business around the world can launch a call campaign straight from their desktop.
The market is split into 1) companies that have inside sales teams or outsourced call centers already and 2) the untapped market of companies that have never considered outbound call vetting because it’s been so expensive. The current market spends $20 billion on outbound calls, and we see another $30 billion in the untapped market.
We charge $0.99 per minute and pay our callers $0.30 per minute. The actual phone calls cost another $0.03. With current prices we already make 60-70% profit and plan to increase our prices by 50% to $1.50 soon. Companies are accustomed to paying $1-$3 just for contact information from LeadGenius. We can easily charge another $1.50 to qualify those phone leads.
We just signed a deal to partner with Salesforce to integrate with their CRM. In nine weeks we’ll be fully embedded in their software and available to over 90 thousand companies in the Salesforce ecosystem. Customers won’t even need to leave the Salesforce platform. We’ll qualify all their leads with a script they write directly into the software. They’ll use the familiar Salesforce dashboard to manage all our warm leads and view all our analytics.
We’ve doubled every month since launch. In July, we made 50,000 phone calls. Our prices started very low and our initial clients are all on grandfather contracts which keep their prices low. In July, we charged $0.89 per connected call to new clients and netted $12,000.
We just added a client in September that will bring in 25K – 50K calls every month, which doubled our volume again. It also takes customers 2-3 months to get comfortable and ramp up their numbers to full volume. We’re just getting to that point with many of our clients and expect to grow even faster in the next few months in advance of our Salesforce integration.
The average customer will net $24,000 profit after we pay our callers. Each new customer costs us $800 to acquire.
Early on we worked with a number of early stage customers and quickly found they weren’t our ideal client. The problem was they didn’t have the resources to generate a list of leads, and when they did it was only 500 leads long which isn’t nearly enough to produce impressive results.
While most of these customers fell off, as fellow early stage startups they were more than willing to give constructive feedback. Even though we were targeting the wrong customers, we improved the product a ton in those first few months and have since learned that our bread and butter are enterprise clients with the resources to generate long lead lists.
We’re fighting against the status quo of traditional call centers and internal sales teams. The largest call center is LiveOps. They implemented distributed call centers over ten years ago by supplying callers at home with everything they needed (computers, phones, etc.) to provide inbound customer support. They’ve evolved into a SaaS company for call centers. They now provide technology like speech recognition, transcription, and Salesforce style CRM software to make call centers more efficient and more affordable.
It’s not only call centers in India they’re targeting but rather in house call centers at American Express, IBM, HP, etc. It’s a great service for such large customers, but their minimums are enormous, the prices are double and they don’t provide any of the flexibility that we provide with outsourced call centers.
I like to think we’re LiveOps if it were to be founded 6 months ago as opposed to 15 years ago. We are lighter, faster, and more agile than everything else out there. LiveOps has become a huge slow moving dinosaur. While they’re entrenched at the moment, we’ll soon have a much more efficient and much cheaper solution. They won’t be able to catch us given that they’ve operated the same way for so long.
Supply isn’t a problem, and won’t be for a long time. We started hiring with Craigslist ads as an experiment and received 5,000 applications across four cities in one day. We’ve since heightened our expectations and only hire callers with at least 3-5 years experience in outbound sales. Every applicant submits a resume and video interview. They’re then reviewed in a Google Hangout, and run 30 calls on an internal VOIQ campaign before touching any client leads.
The pool of potential callers is immense. There are over 5 million Americans working in call centers and they all want a more flexible position which we provide at VOIQ.
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