I once worked for a boss (he’s a common type) who required that the company inside sales team should each make a weekly quota of cold calls, but rolled his eyes when they asked for training.
To him, cold calling seemed like a simple proposition: get a list of leads from marketing, call them one-by-one, and when someone answers give them a scripted pitch. Right?
There was a reason his sales team hated making those cold calls. They didn’t work. They turned off the very prospects that should have been carefully contacted and nurtured afterwards. The boss asked for a box to be checked: cold calls. How many meetings, and how many sales happened this way? You can guess.
Cold Calling is a Professional Sales Skill
All inside sales representatives need cold calling skills in their repertoire.
Whether your sales team is a large one with designated SDRs, BDRs, Account Executives, and specialists – or a small one of only one or two people doing full cycle sales – cold calling can be an effective outbound selling strategy. So, how to do it the right way?
Before You Call Anyone, Hone Your List
- Target your ICPs - Making a lot of calls or sending a lot of emails makes no sense if you haven’t started with a good target list in the first place. Know your Ideal Customer Profile.
- Then, Expand Your Target List - Your ICP might be narrow, so keep in mind that the best route to find the actual decision maker might be by contacting other stakeholders at your target company first. If you prospect a wide array of potential decision makers, you will end up with the actual decision maker(s); and remember, today more than 70% of B2B purchase decisions are made by teams. Conversations with stakeholders who might use your product are never a waste of time. They can tell you their pain points, give you information about their company you can’t access anywhere else, let you know where you stand regarding your competition, and potentially refer you to their boss because you’ve built a relationship.
- Use Fresh Data - Bad data = Bad results. People change jobs. Companies get acquired. Spend the necessary time to double-check your list, update your CRM, and remove old data.
Add A Cadence To Your Cold Calling Plan
Multi-Channel to Maximize Your Cold Calling – A calling-only approach doesn’t work anymore. An email-only approach won’t work for long. Same for social media outreach. Combine all channels to systematically use phone calls, emails, and social touches so that they complement each other. Otherwise, you risk not reaching a decision maker simply because you chose the wrong channel.
How to do this strategically? Incorporate a Cadence, which allows you to plan your outbound communications sales strategy so that once the dialing starts, your team will always know what to do next. After the first call, an email – already drafted and ready to personalize – comes next. Include a video. Another call. Build the relationship.
- Send Some Personalized Emails - Cadence emails are great, and some emails should be templates. However, it is worth customizing some of your emails. Personalize the first email in your cadence or emails to high value targets.
- Use Video - If you don’t use a tool like Vidyard, you are missing out on an opportunity to become more human in the eyes of your prospect. A prospect is unlikely to forget a compelling video. Have it ready in your cadence.
- Use Calendar Tech - Scheduling a time for a meeting can be challenging and awkward. Tools like Chili Piper and Calendly are a must for your emails. Give your prospects a feeling of control by offering them a variety of times for a meeting or access to your calendar.
A Counter-Intuitive Piece of Advice:
Limit Your Pre-Call Research - In our B2B world, it typically takes 24+ cold call dials to get one live person to pick up and speak to you. If you spend 5 minutes doing immediate pre-call research on every call, that’s potentially 110 minutes of research time for a single prospect conversation. If you have a large addressable market, you just can’t afford to waste time researching one prospect when you could be talking to another.
Upload your prospect list into your Dialing software, such as Koncert’s powerful AI Parallel Dialer. Don’t waste time making manual dials on a phone that doesn’t sync with your CRM. In a single dialing session, reach out to more than 150 prospects, which will average 12 answered calls. Your time is spent selling, not dialing.
But wait – doesn’t that mean that the one person who picks up will be confronted with a salesperson fumbling around, not prepared? No. We’ll get to this in a moment.
There are a lot of competitors in the Dialing technology space now. Here are a few key functionalities and elements to consider before committing your sales team to one:
Now You’re Ready: Start Dialing
Success in cold calling often comes down to attitude. People know when you’re reading from a script. Enter a dialing session with enthusiasm for what you’re going to learn once a person answers your call. That’s right. Expect to learn. Of course, your goal is to get a meeting to demo your product.
When you and that prospect first encounter each other on the phone call, don’t try to wow them with how deep you’ve already gone into their LinkedIn profile, even though the profile, or your CRM info, will pop up on your screen the instant they answer (if you are using Koncert). Ask them if it’s an OK time to chat and then ask them about their job, their needs, and their pain points.
- Demonstrate a “How Can I Help” Attitude - If a prospect gets the sense that you genuinely want to help them, they will be more likely to schedule a meeting. If they sense you just want to schedule a meeting with anyone, they will be more likely to pass.
- Sound Confident - Believe in what you are saying and know you can help. The prospect will sense that, and they will be more likely to invest their precious time with you and your team.
- Sell the Meeting - Any decent prospect who picks up an unsolicited call will not listen to your product pitch in an engaged way. Instead, sell the prospect on scheduling a meeting so they can discover a solution to a problem you believe they likely have.
- Use Curiosity - Even if the prospect asks, keep your answers about your specific solution short. Instead, build curiosity so the prospect will want to schedule a meeting to learn more.
- Speak Slowly - Many reps typically speak too fast when talking to prospects. Going too fast is a signal that you don’t believe in what you are saying and that you don’t think it is worth the prospect’s time. Go slow. If you are new to prospecting and think you are going too slow, go slower.
- Respect the Prospect’s Time - Send an implicit message to your prospect that you respect their time. If you drone on talking about features and functionality (even if they ask), they will tune out. Remember, when you called, they were in the middle of something else. Respect their time and schedule a meeting!
- Understand the First “No” - Any decision maker worth their salt will brush off your first attempt to schedule a meeting. Prospects want you to convince them a meeting will be a good investment of their time. Go ahead and convince them and schedule the meeting.
- Stop When You Get The “Yes" - If you know you have the right decision maker, and they are willing to schedule a meeting – do that and end the call with thanks. Resist the temptation to keep selling your solution. The point of the cold call is to sell the meeting. You’re done.
Follow Up Your Cold Call Dialing Session
- Send a LinkedIn Request - If you are not trying to connect with important prospects on LinkedIn, you are not serious about prospecting. If they are important, don’t send a generic request. Customize it for the best results.
- Do Not Continue the Pitch - nothing is more irritating than accepting a LinkedIn connection request and then immediately being hit with a sales pitch. Resist.
- Listen to Your Call Recordings - Want to get better at your craft? Listen to your call recordings and imagine you were the prospect who was just interrupted. Are you impressed? Do you have room for improvement? Be sure to use a Dialing software that includes call recording and coaching capabilities.
Choose A Dialing Software Designed for Your Needs
In spite of bosses who imagine it’s simple, cold calling is a hard-won skill. The more you speak to prospects, the better you will become. So, use a dialing platform to have more conversations.
Whatever your sales workflow, Koncert offers a variety of dialers to improve efficiency. And, Koncert dialers all come bundled with Cadence software built in. Koncert is the only dialer software that is endorsed by both Salesforce and Hubspot and included on their app exchanges; salespeople do not need to leave their CRM to start or work within a dialing session.
Koncert has been in the Dialing and Sales Engagement business for more than 10 years and our platforms are stable and proven. Try a demo today and see how your cold calling program can start showing outstanding ROI.