The truth behind improving your cold calling (and cold emailing) is also a larger truth about sales in general — it’s not about volume, it’s about productivity.
The hard truth: “sales is a numbers game” is an outdated way of thinking. Regardless of the size of your sales team — two or 200 — you are still dealing with the ultimate finite resource: time.
Here’s how you can work smarter by working with the right data to improve your cold calling practices.
1. Don’t Rely on Your CRM and Purchased Lists
You can’t improve your cold calling connection rate or cold emailing open rate if you’re not reaching out to the right people with the right phone number and email address. The problem with the data in your CRM or a purchased contact list is that it’s constantly decaying. One study found that societal disruptions from COVID-19 caused customer data to decay faster than normal in the UK, pushing the annual rate above 37%. This means that a database of 10,000 contacts could have 3,000 outdated contacts by this time next year.
What’s the impact of bad data? Salespeople spend almost 20% of their time on researching prospects — time they could be spending generating revenue. You could increase a salesperson’s productivity simply by giving them highly accurate phone numbers and job titles.
When you look to expand your cold calling outreach efforts globally, be sure to work with a data partner you can trust for continuously refreshed, real-time data that is 100% privacy compliant. You don’t want to spend valuable dialing time navigating the ins and outs of each country or region’s data privacy minutiae on your own.
2. Understand Your Ideal Customer Profile — and Expand It
Something else that needs continuous updating? Your ideal customer profile. With the right data in hand, even a cold call can be a warm conversation if you can deliver a pitch that’s laser-focused on your prospect’s industry, needs, and timing.
Prioritizing your best-fit prospects for outreach through more accurate segmentation and new data points can help focus your efforts on the leads that are most likely to close.
Integrating new data points, like industry classification, buyer intent, or tech stack sophistication rating can deliver a more holistic picture of your ideal customer and uncover new opportunities. Advanced intelligence platforms like ZoomInfo can also identify lookalike prospects and industries, growing your total addressable market.
3. Amplify Your Prospecting with More Opportunities to Connect
Is cold calling still effective? Absolutely. More than two-thirds of buyers in one survey said they had taken cold calls in the previous year. However, the kind of data you use can greatly impact your cold calling effectiveness. With more people working remotely, if you only have access to email addresses and a desk line, you’re already behind.
Today’s sales development reps count on multiple touchpoints across multiple channels to reach their prospects — an average of 16 touches per rep according to a TOPO Sales Development Touch Report. By adding more accurate touchpoints to your cold calling (LinkedIn messages, an email, voicemail, and direct mail) you enhance the likelihood of getting through.
4. Align Your Planning and Forecasting to Your Cold Calling Efforts — and Vice Versa
The success of your cold calling and ability to gauge the likelihood of success should inform your pipeline planning and forecasting. But it goes both ways — an inaccurate forecast can have you spinning your wheels with prospects that aren’t converting.
Being able to get a bird’s eye view of your entire sales process with each prospect can inform the likelihood of closing, including deal risk cues, misqualified decision-makers, and worrisome language in meetings or emails. A more accurate forecast makes planning the next month’s or quarter’s cold calling efforts more accurate, enabling your sales team to make the right number of calls to the right people at the right time.