While building a successful cold calling strategy may sound daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Developing a well-thought-out cold calling strategy can help you and your sales team forecast business growth and maximize your ROI.
In this blog, we’ll cover the following topics:
Cold calling is an outbound lead generation tactic in the B2B sales process where business development representatives (BDRs) or sales development representatives (SDRs) call prospective businesses and pitch their company’s product or service.
Cold calling aims to introduce your business, establish you as a trusted product or service provider in the industry, and set a sales appointment between the prospect and one of your account executives. During this appointment, your account executive presents a pitch deck customized to the prospect’s wants and needs, then they strive to close business and generate more revenue for your company.
While businesses use many methods to get new sales opportunities, cold calling is still one of the most effective approaches to lead generation. Cold calling empowers BDRs and SDRs to speak one-on-one with decision-makers to learn more about what they have in place regarding a particular product or service and how your company could help them relieve pain points and meet their needs.
For example, let’s say you’re an HVAC company looking to generate more ongoing preventative maintenance services. An SDR can cold call a prospective business and ask a decision-maker what they have in place to maintain their facility’s heating and cooling systems. Even if they already have an HVAC provider, the SDR can show the prospect how your HVAC company could be a better fit for their system needs. And if they’re not at a point to negotiate their current HVAC contract, the SDR can ask when they negotiate their budget and reach back out when the timing makes the most sense.
Like any lead generation strategy, you should have a streamlined cold calling process in place. With a cold calling process, you have more opportunities to convert prospects into leads and leads into customers. To have a successful B2B cold calling strategy, it’s important that your sales development teams:
- Determine what your ideal customer profile (ICP) looks like
- Qualify leads based on your predetermined ICP
- Nurture qualified prospects until they’re ready to buy
If you’re not getting the results you want from your cold calling efforts, it’s crucial that you analyze your strategy and identify where there are gaps in your process. Once you explore where there may be room for improvement, you can make adjustments as needed to maximize your approach to business growth.
Cold calling gets a bad rap, and that’s often because businesses don’t know how to create a cold calling process that yields sustainable and predictable results. If you want to build a cold calling process that presents results, it’s essential that your sales and marketing teams do the following.
Understand Your Target Market and Their Buyer Personas
Like any sales or marketing strategy, understanding your target market is key to having a successful cold calling program. Understanding your target market ranges from identifying your most prominent decision-makers to what communication methods they’re using and when the best times are to call them.
- Identifying decision-makers: Sales operations analysts build prospect lists based on your company’s predetermined ideal customer profile and implement them into your sales pipeline. However, it’s important that SDRs cold call to verify who the decision-maker is to ensure they’re connecting with the right person and they have the opportunity to close business.
- Methods of communication: Reaching decision-makers isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. While you may have a single target market, there are often different buyer personas within this audience. Therefore, you must use communication channels that align with their typical buyer personas to reach the right prospects at the right time.
- Best time to cold call: Everyone has different work schedules, so some days it’s easier to reach some decision-makers than others. Research shows that decision-makers are more likely to answer sales calls on Wednesdays and Thursdays because their busy week starts to wind down. However, it’s also essential for SDRs to take time to reflect and consider when they typically get the most contact from prospective businesses.
Maximize Productivity With Sales Tools and Technologies
As lead generation strategies continue to evolve, sales tools and technologies are also advancing. Many sales tools and technologies on the market today enable sales teams to communicate with prospects and reach sales goals effectively.
If you’re still using post-its or spreadsheets to track your cold calling efforts, it may be time to look into implementing a customer relationship management platform (CRM) into your lead generation efforts. Without a reliable CRM platform, sales processes can be easily disorganized. CRM platforms are built to ensure successful cold calling procedures and easily integrate with other sales tools and technologies.
While CRM platforms are ideal for efficiently integrating sales tools and technologies, they offer a variety of other benefits as well. A reliable CRM system encourages your sales team to:
- Prioritize hot leads: A CRM platform empowers SDR teams to prioritize their hottest leads or leads toward the end of their buying cycle. Without a system to prioritize hot leads, prospects often get lost in the pipeline with less pressing leads.
- Send email campaigns: Email campaigns are crucial to an effective cold calling strategy. Integrating a CRM with your sales efforts lets you periodically send email drip campaigns. A CRM can also help create email templates to help BDRs and SDRs send more relevant and personable content to the prospect.
- Track productivity: From the number of dials made to emails sent, a CRM program tracks sales team productivity. This allows sales managers to track SDR metrics and make sure they’re completing tasks efficiently and accurately.
- Streamline communication: CRMs streamline communication and conversations with prospects from one sales rep to another. After a pitch, an SDR can take note of the discussion and refer back to it when it’s time to follow up with the prospect.
- Learn new sales techniques: CRMs are an excellent platform for SDRs to learn from other sales team members. With a CRM platform, sales reps can listen to each other’s calls and pitches to learn from each other and provide feedback on their approach.
Include Email Marketing in Your Cold Calling Strategy
Sending follow-up emails after a cold call allows SDRs to leave the prospect with more information to review on their own time. This information could include website information, social media profiles, a list of products and services, case studies, contact information, and more. Here are a few tips on how to send an effective sales email after pitching a prospect:
- Include an engaging subject line: A subject line should be brief and get to the point. It would be helpful to include the prospect’s name or insight into the conversation.
- Start with a strong opening line: Avoid starting with “Hi, my name is…” and introduce the conversation with the wants and needs of the prospect.
- Include relevant copy about their interests: This copy should include information the prospect was interested in learning more about. Don’t introduce new value statements they didn’t ask about or seemed interested in.
- Add a call to action in the closing copy: The copy mentioned above should be a brief overview of the topics discussed on the call. A call to action should be implemented afterward, so they have the opportunity to ask for more details.
- End with a professional signature: Sales reps should never send an email without a professional signature. The signature should include relevant contact information so they can reach you through various means, whether by phone or email.
Routinely Train Your Sales Team on Cold Calling Best Practices
Cold calling best practices are always changing, which means the cold calling techniques of your sales reps should also change. Continuous cold call training is essential to ensure your strategy stays up-to-date with current sales trends. This enables you to get the most benefit from your lead generation program and empowers SDRs to grow in their sales expertise.
Want the latest insight into cold calling best practices? Download our exclusive guide here to learn how our high-performing SDRs consistently engage qualified prospects in our sales pipelines!
Research the Latest B2B Cold Calling Success Rates
No matter how good a sales team is, they’ll be told “no” more often than they’ll be told “yes,” and that will never change in the sales industry. However, it’s crucial to measure cold calling success rates to determine your ROI.
Across all industries, on average, for every 250 calls, only five will result in a sales meeting. However, these cold-calling statistics differ from industry to industry. In addition, it’s important to consider that these calls are a combination of cold and warm calls to prospects. More often than not, these appointments set with prospects are from follow-up warm calls. By calling warm leads in the sales pipeline, an SDR has a 30% increase in securing a sales appointment.
If you’re not in the ballpark of hitting these success rates, take time to reevaluate your cold call strategy and uncover opportunities for improvement. A sales team can efficiently gather metrics through various dashboards and reports on CRM platforms.
Many outbound SDR teams struggle with cold calling. More often than not, that’s because they don’t know how to do it to their advantage, leaving high-quality sales opportunities in the dust. If you want your outbound SDRs or BDRs to make successful cold calls, it’s vital that they:
Prioritize Learning, Not Making a Sale
If you’re looking for the single best cold calling tip, here it is: actively listen to the prospect. SDRs are more than salespeople—they’re relationship builders. One of the most crucial components of sales is understanding that you’re looking to build a relationship with prospective businesses rather than pushing to make a sale.
Actively listening to prospects empowers SDRs to provide prospects with value about what products or services your company has to offer them and how they benefit their everyday business functions. This helps build the relationship with the prospect and shows them how you could be a better fit for their business than their current solution.
As your SDRs call prospects, they must lead with the quality of conversion over how many calls they make. For example, if your SDRs make over 200 calls a day but end with zero appointments or warm leads, the work they’ve put in means little to nothing. However, if they call 80 prospects and end the day with a significant number of sales appointments or hot leads, they’re setting your account executives up for a successful sales appointment that’s likely to close business.
Ask Prospects Open-Ended Questions
Asking prospects open-ended questions is vital for keeping a conversation going and understanding what they’re looking for when hiring an outsourced product or service provider. When it comes down to it, there are three types of open-ended questions your SDRs can ask to learn more about their wants, needs, and pain points: problem, solution, and process questions.
Asking problem questions allows your SDR team to understand the prospect’s priorities and how they think of their problems. Examples of problem questions include:
- What are your top business priorities right now?
- How would you describe the problem you’re trying to solve?
- What challenges have you faced in the past when trying to solve these problems?
- Is there anything else about the situation that worries or frustrates you?
- If there is a current supplier, what would make you consider an alternative?
Asking solution-focused questions help SDRs develop a customer-centric solution. Examples of solution questions include:
- What would an ideal solution look like for you?
- What are the must-have criteria for a solution?
- What are the nice-to-have criteria for your solution?
- What are the qualities you’re looking for in a solution provider?
Asking process questions empowers SDRs to understand the steps needed to set an appointment. Example process questions include:
- How will you go about making your buying decision?
- Who else may influence this decision?
- What additional information will you need to make a decision?
- What has worked or not worked for you in the past when making similar purchases?
Are Prepared for Any Sales Objection
No matter how good a sales rep is, there’s not a single SDR in the world that closes 100% of their prospects. Rejection is inherent to all sales activity, from prospecting to close. High-performing SDRs must learn to overcome rejection and use it to fuel their drive. Common objections that sales reps have to overcome include the following:
- “I don’t have the budget for that right now.”
- “I don’t know anything about your company.”
- “I don’t foresee this having a significant impact on my business.”
- “I have other things to prioritize.”
Do your SDRs need help overcoming sales objections? Check out our blog to learn how they can overcome sales objections and secure more (and higher-quality) sales appointments!
Follow Cold Call Scripts Sparingly
While cold call scripts are a great start to the conversation with a prospect, they should be used with caution. A cold call script should be used as if you’re an actor, not a robot. This makes sure that SDRs continue to actively listen to prospects while gathering all the information they need to secure an appointment.
While it’s vital not to follow a sales script word by word, it’s crucial to have a rough outline of what they plan on talking about. Here is a step-by-step guide for an effective cold calling script:
- Step 1: Introduce the company: First, an SDR must state their name and the company they’re representing with a short pause afterward to give them a chance to think about your business. Many cold callers want to jump into their sales pitch immediately, but this increases the risk of a decision-maker immediately hanging up.
- Step 2: Establish rapport: Through this, the goal is to get a prospect talking and opening up about their current product or service solution. This is when your SDRs ask open-ended questions to learn more about what they have in place.
- Step 3: Use a positioning statement: A positioning statement shows prospects that your company works with companies similar to theirs and their pain points, showing that your company understands their challenges. While making positioning statements, SDRs must focus on the prospect’s needs, not the features of what they’re selling.
Give Prospects a Reason to Call Back
Having a cold call voicemail strategy is crucial to turning leads into customers. If a prospect doesn’t pick up the phone, your SDRs must leave a voicemail message that gives them a reason to call back. Having a good voicemail script can be what turns a cold prospect into a hot lead. Here are some tips your SDRs can follow to leave an effective voicemail:
- Keep between 20-30 seconds: Keeping a voicemail between 20–30 seconds allows prospects to spark curiosity without demanding too much time.
- Speak slowly and clearly: Most cold callers tend to speak too fast when leaving a sales voicemail. To keep them engaged, SDRs must remember to talk as if they’re speaking directly with a decision-maker.
- Lead with relevant information: While it may seem practical for an SDR to state their name and the company they work for from the get-go, this is how a prospect knows it’s a sales voicemail. Therefore, they must lead with something relevant to the prospect, such as a thought-provoking question.
- Provide value in your voicemail message: The more value your SDRs provide in the voicemail, the more likely the prospect is to call back. However, like the point above, it’s vital that you keep it relevant to them, their pain points, and the industry they serve.
- Put away your customer service voice: Like any other sales call, SDRs must sound cool, calm, and collected. When leaving a voicemail, many sales reps put on their customer service persona. However, it’s crucial that they put the customer service voice away and mirror the tone of the prospect’s voice on their outbound message.
Cold calling doesn’t have to be an outbound lead generation tactic that SDR teams fear. While it may sound intimidating for many businesses, it provides significant results for growing small to medium-sized businesses. With the right approach in place, your business has the opportunity to build a successful cold calling strategy that yields sustainable and predictable results.
Building an internal cold calling process is complex and can negatively impact your company’s bottom line, which is why so many companies have turned to outsourcing their cold calling efforts. At Abstrakt Marketing Group, our SDR teams are consistently trained on the latest cold calling best practices, so we can present B2B companies with high-converting sales appointments. If you need help building and maintaining a cold calling process that presents a ROI, contact the business growth efforts at Abstrakt!