10 Types of Dialing Technology, Explained

John Greene

April 5, 2024

7 min

Table of Contents

Phone dialing technology is a core tool in the sales industry, and your team has various options to consider. But not all dialing technology is created equal, so it pays to know more about each one before you invest in the tools your team will use.

Below are descriptions of 10 kinds of dialer software—including PhoneBurner’s power dialer—to help you understand their differences, limitations, and strengths. Choosing the right type of outbound dialer for your needs allows you to reach the right number of leads in the right way and sets the stage for your success.

Infographic for Power Dialer

1. Power Dialer (PhoneBurner)

Power dialers like PhoneBurner allow your reps to rapidly dial through custom lists of contacts at an efficient rate (PhoneBurner can help a sales rep reach up to 80 contacts per hour). The software lets your rep quickly dial leads, one after another, while streamlining repetitive and time-consuming tasks based on agent input.

Pros

  • Maximizes the number of high-quality live conversations
  • Prospects are instantly connected with live agents and do not know technology is being used
  • No awkward “telemarketer delay” or beep
  • Agent can streamline workflows with one-click voicemails, emails, or SMS messages

PhoneBurner also offers unique features for sales teams—like live call coaching, reports and leaderboards, automatic lead distribution and integrations with over 200 different CRM systems.

Cons

  • Although fast, power dialers may not produce the sheer call volume of some other options
  • Less efficient for reaching contacts when no conversation is required—for example, a school district calling parents to let them know about closures during a snow day

What It's Best For

Sales teams that need to make outbound calls or follow up efficiently while preserving high-quality interactions with prospects.

Infographic for Auto Dialer

2. Auto-Dialer

Auto-dialers call numbers from a pre-selected list, either playing a pre-recorded message or transferring the call to a live agent when answered.

Pros

  • Extremely high volume of calls per hour
  • Eliminates manual dialing and waiting

Cons

  • Leads dislike automated calls and messages
  • Relies on voice-detection technology that  results in a beeping sound or “telemarketer delay” that gives the recipient a window to hang up
  • Limited features for navigating complex calling scenarios

What It's Best For

Large-scale campaigns where direct agent interaction is not essential, like public emergency broadcasts.

3. Predictive Dialer

Predictive dialing software automatically calls multiple numbers at once and uses algorithms to predict live answers so they can be connected with agents. However, these systems can make mistakes and drop calls, which can lead to lost revenue and regulatory penalties for organizations.

Pros

  • Promotes a high volume of calls
  • Allows agents to take a more hands-off approach

Cons

  • Creates a delay after each live answer while the system transfers the call, increasing hang-up risk
  • Can result in a live answer when no agent is available, leading to abandoned calls
  • Too many dropped or abandoned calls can lead to hefty fines 

What It's Best For

High-volume calling applications where quality of interaction is less of a concern—debt collectors and public survey calls are popular examples.

4. Progressive Dialer

Progressive dialers pull from a pool of leads, and move one-by-one as agents indicate they are available. Unlike predictive dialers, which use an algorithm to modulate call volume, the progressive dialing software only places a call when an agent indicates they are ready.

Pros

  • Lower risk of dropped or abandoned calls than progressive dialers
  • Reduces dialing errors compared to manual dialing

Cons

  • Requires more manual input than predictive dialers, auto dialers, and power dialers
  • Can decrease overall agent productivity due to pauses between calls

What It's Best For

Ideal for customer service and other situations where personalized interactions are more important than speed.

Infographic for Preview Dialer

5. Preview Dialer

A preview dialer presents detailed information about the contact before dialing, allowing agents to decide whether to call or skip to the next contact.

Pros

  • Gives agents control over call selection
  • Enables informed and tailored conversations
  • Gives agents time to prepare or research before high-value calls

Cons

  • Limits the number of calls made
  • Can decrease overall productivity if agents are not efficient about lead research
  • Less efficient than a power dialer with a built-in CRM or available integrations

What It's Best For

Suited for some sales environments where personalized approaches are critical for success.

6. Click-to-Call

Click-to-call technology simplifies the calling process for reps by integrating with CRMs that don’t already have this feature. Users simply click on a phone number to initiate each call. This system eliminates the need for manually entering phone numbers—much like a power dialer. However, most power dialers also feature CRM integration and come with other features that give them more versatility.

Pros

  • Boosts CRM efficiency by allowing direct calls from the same interface
  • Reduces dialing errors compared to manual dialing

Cons

  • Not designed for high-volume calling needs
  • Does not provide the additional features of power dialers that offer CRM integration
  • Can contribute to call reluctance

What It's Best For

Ideal for organizations prioritizing CRM integration and ease of use over high call volumes, like customer service teams and small sales operations.

Infographic for Voice Broadcasting

7. Voice Broadcasting

Voice broadcasting technology, also known as “robo calling”, ​​sends a pre-recorded message to thousands of recipients at once. This option is ideal for campaigns that don’t require agents to speak to the intended recipients, but is significantly less effective for sales teams that need to have conversations with leads.

Pros

  • Effective for large-scale message distribution
  • Minimizes the need for extensive manpower

Cons

  • Potential for being perceived as impersonal or intrusive
  • Limited interactive capability with recipients

What It's Best For:

Excellent for scenarios requiring broad message distribution without the need for direct interaction—like political campaigns, reminders for upcoming events, or new product alerts.

8. Press 1 Dialer

These dialers send a pre-recorded message to recipients of a phone call that allows them to engage by pressing a key (usually '1') to connect to a live agent. This means leads need to opt-in before speaking with a representative.

Pros

  • Leads pre-qualify themselves before speaking to live agents
  • Offers better engagement than voice broadcasting

Cons:

  • Gives agents no way to win over leads who aren’t initially interested
  • Completely dependent on the recipient's willingness to engage

What It's Best For

Marketing or informational campaigns where recipients may desire quick access to more information or live assistance.

9. IVR Dialer

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Dialers play pre-recorded options for the person on the line to choose from. Depending on their responses, they may either be guided to a live agent or directed through a list of fully automated steps (which can be useful for surveys).

Pros

  • Offers efficient call routing and self-service for inbound callers
  • Reduces the need for live agents on every call

Cons:

  • Can lead to customer frustration if not intuitively designed
  • Not ideal for outbound sales as multiple recorded messages can easily fatigue prospects

What It's Best For

Inbound calls to customer support centers requiring efficient call management and routing capabilities.

10. VOIP Dialer/Softphone

This software allows callers to connect with phone lines using software instead of a physical phone. Known also as a softphone, these systems make it so that callers only need a headset and a computer with an internet connection to place calls.

While sometimes offered as a standalone product, a VOIP dialer or softphone is more often just one feature of a more robust dialing system. Inside sales teams using PhoneBurner’s power dialer have the ability to connect using any phone or our softphone. Better yet, they have the flexibility to place calls using a library of numbers including our vPhone numbers, which are essentially virtual numbers that offer voicemail and routing capabilities. This provides the main advantages of both a softphone and a traditional telephone in a single user-friendly feature.

Pros

  • Highly flexible and mobile, not tied to physical phone lines
  • Often more cost-effective than traditional telephony

Cons

  • Not usually a standalone product
  • Standalone versions lack the features of other dialing technology listed above

What It's Best For

Teams using a VOIP dialer or softphone as part of a more comprehensive power dialing system.

Screenshot of PhoneBurner Power Dialer

Try PhoneBurner to Have More Quality Conversations with Prospects

Other options may have their uses for specific applications, but we stand behind our power dialer as the best way for outbound sales teams to connect with leads in meaningful ways.

With 2 dialing modes, including “power” and “pause and preview” PhoneBurner gives teams the ability to scale speed up or down depending on the amount of preparation needed before a call – while always maintaining a high-quality, 1-to-1 connection that is seamless to the call recipient.

PhoneBurner offers an ideal balance of fast dialing, superior call quality, and efficient post-call follow-up actions so that your reps can prospect efficiently and drive better results. Try PhoneBurner for free here, and discover the difference it makes for yourself.

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