Even in today’s data-driven sales landscape, cold calling remains a fact of life for many sales professionals. But cold calling isn’t just a major investment of time and energy, it’s precious time that could be better spent connecting with warm leads — prospects who want to hear from you and are ready to spend.
Fortunately, today’s salespeople have a crucial advantage over their predecessors — an abundance of data. You might not have spoken to a cold prospect before, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared to forge a meaningful connection with them and help solve their problems.
While cold calls may be harder to work than pre-qualified leads that were carefully vetted by your marketing team, cold calling can be a rich source of pipeline for sales professionals who know how to think on their feet.
These three proven cold-calling tips will help you:
- Cold-call more productively
- Overcome objections effectively
- Maintain the momentum of difficult conversations
Cold Calling Tip #1: Use Auto-Dialers to Increase Call Productivity
Given that cold calling is practically inevitable in most sales environments, you should minimize wasted time by using an auto-dialer. As their name implies, auto-dialers are systems that automate outbound calling and can be configured to deliver targeted messages to multiple prospects.
With conventional cold-calling techniques, such as calling a main number instead of a direct extension, it takes an average of 17 dials and 22 minutes to reach a single prospect, according to data from Vorsight. But when calling prospects directly, the average drops to 12 dials and just five minutes to connect with a prospect.
Over time, these productivity gains can really add up, with direct dialing being roughly twice as effective — meaning twice the number of demos or bookings, and greater potential revenue.
Using an auto-dialer is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reclaim valuable time and preserve cognitive energy for sales conversations.
Cold Calling Tip #2: Warm Up Cold Calls with Deep Prospect Research
The more you know about a prospect before picking up the phone, the more likely you are to establish a meaningful connection with them during your first call. A flair for conversation and keen listening skills are key, but knowledge is power. The better you understand your prospects’ situation, the more effectively you’ll be able to sell your solution.
Using a reliable B2B data asset for preliminary prospect research is one of the most effective ways to make every cold call count. Yes, it’s an additional investment of time and energy, but it allows you to prepare thoughtful responses to overcome potential objections.
When crafting an introductory pitch for a new prospect, it’s crucial to remember that prospects are only human. Most people have limited time and attention spans, which means you’ve got to quickly demonstrate how you can help them.
When presenting your product or service, focus on the prospect’s core areas of value that you identified during your preliminary research. Supplement this with any relevant marketing documents or customer profiles your organization may use. Be attentive and listen carefully to what your prospect tells you, but try to center the conversation around the core value-adds your solution offers.
Emphasize results. Specific product functions may be exciting, but you’ll get farther by focusing on how individual features will make their life easier. You don’t have much time to establish a connection with your prospects, so respect them by getting to the point quickly and demonstrating how you can help them.
Don’t overlook technographic data
Before you can help your prospects solve their problems, you need to understand what isn’t working for them. For sales professionals in the software sector, this likely means gaining insights into the tools and technologies currently being used at a prospect’s organization.
Technology and software systems are mission-critical to many companies, which is why up-to-date technographic data is every salesperson’s secret weapon. Technographic data doesn’t just tell you what your prospects are using, it creates unique, actionable opportunities for you to discuss specifics, such as:
- The capabilities and limitations of their current software tools
- Budgetary considerations and constraints
- Quarterly and annual planning priorities
By learning more about the limitations of thier current technologies, you can go into cold calls primed with relevant information about how you can help your prospects solve their problems and achieve their goals.
Cold Calling Tip #3: Maintain Your Momentum with Alternative Touchpoints
You did your homework. You engaged with your prospect, demonstrated real value, and left the cold call feeling positive about its potential.
Then weeks go by with nothing but silence.
Sometimes, even the most positive sales conversations go nowhere. There are many factors that can derail even red-hot prospective deals, such as legal headaches, complex procurement protocols, and personnel moves. It’s important to mitigate this risk by pursuing alternative touchpoints at the conclusion of a cold call.
Rather than lose momentum by waiting weeks to send a bland, follow-up email, consider sending a LinkedIn connection request to prospects with whom you’ve just had a promising interaction. This creates an opportunity to not only expand your network, but also paves the way for a gentle social nudge if things go quiet.
Reaching out to the prospect’s manager is another way to reignite a stalled conversation, as is attempting to connect with someone else on their team.
If you choose to adopt this approach, frame your communication around how you can help their company. Reiterate why your original prospect found your offer compelling, and try to keep the focus of the conversation around their core values that you identified during your initial research.
Use a friendly, approachable tone, and give your prospects’ colleagues an out by reminding them you can always revisit the conversation at a later date if the timing isn’t right today. It’s better to keep a lead warm and leave a conversation open for another time, than it is to burn a prospect by being too forceful or insistent.
While mixing things up can be effective, be aware that this technique isn’t without risks. Contacting your prospect’s manager could be seen as an end-run around your original point of contact, which could sour the relationship and jeopardize the deal. It could also be perceived as pushy or aggressive, which can also harm the likelihood of closing the sale.
Cold Calls Happen. Make them Work for You
Cold calling can be intimidating, but it can also be a highly effective way of building pipeline if handled correctly.
Using auto-dialers to increase productivity, focusing on pertinent information, and being creative with your follow-ups can help you close more deals from cold calls. With these three techniques, you’ll spend less time performing administrative tasks and more time doing what you love — helping your prospects solve their problems.