Ever watch game shows that rely on split-second decisions? The sound of the clock counting down faster and faster, the furious attempts of the contestants to come up with the right answer—even now, it can make your brow sweat as you feel the pressure of the moment.
Those emotions and physical symptoms are all too real for many, especially when faced with making prospecting calls to new contacts. Even many tenured sales reps dislike cold calling and business development activities.
Breaking the ice and engaging a potential buyer in conversation takes skill and practice. But, the results are critical for medtech and B2B companies. It’s vital to conduct sales prospecting activities like cold calling and lead nurturing with potential buyers in your target market.
Four ways to break the ice and generate new leads
Here are four ways we recommend to get past the awkward phase and quickly engage potential B2B and healthcare buyers.
1. Explain the purpose of the call
It sounds obvious, but far too many sales representatives get caught up in introductions, when all the prospect really wants to know is why you’re calling. It’s smart to get right to the point. This sets the right tone for the relationship by showing that you respect your audience’s time. Ideally, it also piques their interest. Keep the momentum going by asking questions to show you understand (and care about) their business challenges, and to determine if your solution will be a good fit.
2. Mention previous interactions
If you’re contacting a prospect who has already reached out to your organization, a quick mention of this previous interaction can open the door to further conversation. This is one reason why it’s important to connect your sales database with the intelligence gathered from other marketing channels.
Has the decision-maker you’re calling attended an industry event? Downloaded an article from your website? Subscribed to your newsletter or attended a webinar? Recognizing these or other activities shows there’s a legitimate reason for your call and can make prospects more receptive to a follow-up conversation. If you’ve received their name through a specialized list or referral source, you can build credibility and connection through that association as well.
3. Speak directly to their needs
A sales call affords something that digital channels do not: an immediate, two-way conversation. While you can’t control the timing of your call, which your decision-maker may initially perceive as disruptive, you can make sure you’re prepared and genuine in your approach.
Instead of “pitching” your audience with the features and benefits of your solution, start by gaining their trust. Show you know one or two common pain points for their industry, and give them a change to personalize the conversation with their own needs or challenges. In early calls, listening and gathering information is just as important as “selling” your own solution.
4. Offer something of value
Lastly, don’t come to a sales prospecting call empty-handed. Cold calling and early-funnel activity is unlikely to convert immediately to a sale. Instead, be able to offer your prospects something of value on the call. This will help them advance in the sales cycle and give you a reason to schedule another conversation in the future.
Educational materials are ideal for new prospects and early leads. Videos, eBooks, guides and case studies help show real-world application of your solution. Invitations to webinars, events and demos are another smart option.
Add sales calling capacity and expertise to your team
Another way to handle sales prospecting and early funnel engagement with your target audience is through a dedicated team of outbound calling professionals. Lead generation and appointment-setting firms like Volkart May specialize in these (and other) important business development activities.
Outsourcing some or all of your cold calling and lead generation adds capacity and keeps your internal team focused on closing deals. It’s a great way to ensure prospects at all stages of your sales cycle receive optimal attention.
We work with companies large and small—including major healthcare, medtech and B2B brands—to identify new leads and sales-ready buyers. Even first-time campaigns produce, on average, 10:1 ROI for our clients.