Avoid High-Risk Numbers in Your Sales Outreach

Article author
Sarah Malone


The most effective outreach strategies almost always include phone calls. Engaging your prospects in meaningful conversation is a core component of building quality pipeline and converting leads. However, if you want your outreach strategy to succeed, you must follow calling best practices even before you dial.

Knowing how to avoid high-risk numbers in your outreach is essential. Among other factors, it can help:

  • Increase call quality.
  • Prevent your number from being marked as spam.
  • Reduce your number of dropped calls.

Refer to the following sections for more information on high-risk numbers and the best practices you can follow to keep your dialing habits healthy.

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Identify High-Risk Numbers

High-risk numbers are the numbers you call with a higher probability of triggering low engagement, resulting in spam traps, and putting the health of your number at risk.

They typically include numbers such as:

  • Toll fraud risk numbers: These numbers encourage spam calls and are often part of fraud schemes where the owners receive revenue for every minute of the call.
  • Special service numbers: These numbers include premium, shared-cost, and other special service numbers. Owners often charge higher rates when the call connects.

If you dial these types of "premium", often fraudulent numbers in your outreach, you put the health and credibility of your number at risk, burn through phone credits, and experience a much lower call quality on the whole.

High-Risk Locations

There is no clear-cut list of countries you should avoid calling in your outreach. Most regions have at least some high-risk numbers. The level of risk in each location can also vary depending on which country you and your team are calling from.

Despite this, Apollo is committed to helping you keep your caller reputation safe and avoid high-risk numbers within your outreach. Apollo partners with the industry-leading, third-party provider Twilio to integrate voice calls in Apollo.

Through a sophisticated analysis mechanism, which leverages anti-fraud databases and millions of communication data points, Twilio consistently identifies and updates a list of high-risk number ranges. Apollo monitors this list and deactivates risky regions to help protect your account.

Unsupported countries badge

Low Engagement

Many varying factors influence the risk level of a number. Make sure you closely monitor your call performance and keep an eye on low engagement rates. If you notice any negative trends within specific regions, consider excluding said locations from your outreach entirely.

If your total addressable market is exclusive to a very narrow set of locations and excluding regions from your outreach is not an option, consider using a third-party validation tool to cross-check any numbers within locations where you've seen a low engagement rate.

The more you analyze your call data, take precautions, and adapt your strategy based on what is and isn't working for your team, the higher your engagement will be, and the less likely your numbers will fall victim to fraudulent spam traps.

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Identify High-Risk Numbers in Apollo

When Apollo identifies high-risk numbers, it informs you. This means that you can take action to exclude these numbers from your outreach and keep your calling reputation safe.

There are two scenarios in which Apollo warns you of high-risk numbers:

  1. Before purchasing the contact's number when prospecting. Warning modal
  2. Before attempting to call the number from the dialer. High-risk badge in direct dial modal

If you have already purchased the number, you can also see the high-risk badge:

Nobody Likes Spam!

Please keep in mind that the more high-risk numbers you call, the more likely your number will be marked as spam. Apollo strongly recommends you don't call high-risk numbers inside or outside of Apollo. Even if a number is enabled within the Apollo dialer, Apollo encourages you not to call the number unless it is absolutely necessary.

Apollo classifies high-risk numbers into 3 buckets:

  • Unsupported Country: To protect your caller reputation, Apollo disables any country prone to security issues, with a track record of high-risk numbers in the region, or with very high calling costs. You cannot call any contact from an unsupported country via the Apollo dialer. You can still view the number if you choose to spend one credit on it. However, Apollo does not recommend you reach out via phone call. Consider enrolling them into a messaging-only sequence instead. Unsupported country badge
  • Blocked: High-risk of fraud: If Apollo identifies a number as particularly high-risk, it does not enable the number for dialing. Although you can still view blocked numbers if you purchase them in Apollo, you cannot call them from the Apollo dialer. Consider enrolling them into a messaging-only sequence instead. High-risk blocked badge
  • High-risk of fraud: If Apollo suspects a number is high-risk, it notifies you but does not disable calling functionality. You can still view and call these numbers from the Apollo dialer if you purchase them. However, Apollo strongly recommends that you proceed with caution and only call the number if it is absolutely necessary. Apollo suggests you reach out via alternative channels, such as email or LinkedIn instead. Suspected high-risk of fraud badge
Dialing Like a Boss!

Ready to get dialing but looking for industry-leading calling tips to help you and your team strengthen your pipeline? Check out this video on perfecting the cold call for more guidance.

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Leverage Apollo Features to Improve Your Connection Rates

Analytics dashboard homepage

There are several actions you can take in Apollo to help increase call engagement rates and avoid spam traps:

  1. Avoid calling high-risk numbers: Apollo informs you when it identifies a high-risk number. Heed the advice and consider contacting the prospect via another channel instead. You can create messaging-only sequences and engage with these prospects via email and LinkedIn.
  2. Make VOIP calls: Once you've configured the dialer, make Voice Over IP calls instead of using your phone. If you encounter any issues, switch to a new number. Depending on your plan, you can request up to 5 new numbers per month in Apollo. If you're calling contacts in international regions, keep a close eye on performance per country and make changes to your strategy if you notice any negative trends.
  3. Follow best practices: Stay compliant and follow caller best practices to maintain a positive reputation. Create and use call purposes and call dispositions in Apollo to generate more precise data and filter your calls to more easily identify trends. Ensure you log all calls accurately and empower your team to follow suit.
  4. Leverage Apollo analytics: Keep an eye on your recent call activity from the control center, create custom dashboards and reports to monitor call performance, and tailor the data you gather according to your priorities. If you don't want to create a dashboard from scratch, you can also leverage the Apollo template: Call Engagement Performance to view and analyze call engagement in your team. If you spot anomalies, take action to adapt your strategy, increase engagement rates, and protect your caller reputation.

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Try It Out In Apollo

There's No Time Like the Present!

Feeling more confident about high-risk numbers and the steps you can take in Apollo to avoid those pesky digits in your sales outreach? Now it's time to get the ball rolling. Look out for that high-risk badge when you're prospecting in Apollo and avoid those numbers like the plague!

Or maybe you're in the mood for perusing more dialer documentation? Head to the Calls & Dialer section of the Apollo Knowledge Base and get up to speed on other best practices to keep your caller reputation safe.