If you work in technology, manufacturing, medtech or other B2B sectors, you know how difficult it can be to identify and engage busy decision-makers. VPs and C-suite stakeholders rarely make it easy to acquire their contact info; if you’re calling into healthcare, the doctor is typically out.
It’s why sales prospecting and cold calling campaigns may routinely require five or more call attempts before an actual sales-focused conversation occurs.
For inexperienced inside sales reps and business development professionals, this lack of response can be frustrating. Some individuals channel it into more practice. They learn new skills and persevere. Far more, however, give up working new lists after a handful of call attempts and instead spend their time on warmer opportunities.
The problem this creates for the organization is a lackluster pipeline of leads at the early stages of the sales funnel. The CRM system, sales database or marketing automation platform also suffer. Without cold calling and sales prospecting, there’s little information to drive targeted and personalized digital marketing campaigns, which reduces your ROI on these programs.
Benefits of cold calling and sales prospecting
B2B cold calling and sales prospecting efforts provide a number of advantages for both the marketing and sales teams.
These benefits include:
- Identifying contact information for decision-makers, influencers, end-users and others involved in the purchasing process.
- Beefing up marketing efforts with new opt-in email addresses.
- Arming the in-house sales team or your distributor network with market intelligence on competitors, buying cycles, budgets and other important details.
- Keeping your high-powered sales reps on track with a steady stream of qualified leads and appointments.
- Developing a pipeline of cooler leads for the marketing team to nurture with digital campaigns and content marketing.
- Creating a strong brand impression with your target audience.
7 ways to improve your cold calling
At Volkart May, we bring 30 years of experience to our cold calling and sales prospecting efforts. That includes a robust process, best-of-breed technology and extensive training that makes our callers insightful, conversational and effective.
We use these best practices every day to maximize the results of our sales prospecting, lead generation and cold calling campaigns.
1. Know your audience
Winning cold calling starts with the right approach, and that should center on your target customer. The more you can personalize your message to the type of buyers you want to reach, the stronger your campaign will be.
Specifics are far more useful than a generic, one-size-fits-all pitch. For example, if you sell a product or service across the agriculture, food service, retail and technology sectors, figure out what’s common and what’s different across those varied segments. Look at decision-maker titles, audience pain points and the specific vocabulary your target buyers will use, then weave those into your outbound calling.
2. Use professionals
Effective sales prospecting and cold calling takes a specific set of skills. Not every sales person will excel at it. At Volkart May, we believe your internal sales team’s time is better spent making a sale than finding one.
Outsourcing to a professional B2B call center frees your team for what they do best: product demos, in-depth discussions and most importantly, closing deals. Our conversationalists, on the other hand, live to cold call. Every day, they represent leading national brands. They excel at tracking down information, navigating through corporate phone trees, building rapport with gatekeepers and ultimately, making a positive introduction for a client’s brand.
Working with an outsourced call center also lets you manage your workload and budget. It’s fast and easy to scale the volume of calls up or down based on seasonality, new product introductions or other factors—without the time and expense of hiring and training new FTEs.
3. Apply the power of conversation
Who likes a robocall? No one. That’s why we never, ever use them. In fact, our outbound calling professionals don’t even use a typical telemarketing script, which creates a flat, impersonal and often frustrating experience for the prospect on the other end of the.
Instead, we keep the message on track with a detailed call guide. We leverage customizable prompts in our powerful technology platform. We provide extensive roleplay and training to our callers. And, we avoid a hard-sell pitch. Listening and asking the right questions are more important. The more natural the conversation flows between the outbound caller and potential buyer, the stronger the results.
4. Have an offer
An offer anchors your sales prospecting outreach with a concrete reason for the call. Look for something that has value to your target buyer and that matches their place in the sales cycle; in this case, very early. Even if you don’t reach the ultimate decision-maker on the first call attempt, an offer can help obtain their contact information from assistants, colleagues or gatekeepers.
Examples of good B2B and medtech offers include invitations to webinars or events, informational reports, helpful articles and case studies from current customers. Here at Volkart May, we used this report on cold calling during COVID-19 as an offer to boost response during our own prospecting campaign.
5. Follow up
No matter how exceptional your callers, a good number of dials will end with no response. Be sure to reload these numbers in your calling queue for additional call attempts, but don’t give up there. Look for ways to break through the day-to-day clutter with a brand touchpoint in a different channel. The easiest way to do do this is to leave an inside sales voicemail. Another option, if you have the individual’s email, is to send an email then continue cold calling to make in-person contact. In both cases, be specific and to the point, with clear direction on how to reach you.
6. Set metrics
Measuring caller performance and overall campaign results are critical. After all, you can’t manage what you can’t count. At Volkart May, we use sophisticated call tracking software to monitor a variety of campaign variables. Even without this type of platform, you can improve your cold calling and sales prospecting effectiveness by tracking and monitoring activity in a database or spreadsheet.
Every caller should have goals for the day, including target call attempts and completed calls. The quality of your list will also play a role in your success, so tracking wrong numbers, companies that have gone out of business and similar details is valuable to gauge overall efficiency. We monitor a new calling program every day, making slight modifications as needed to achieve peak performance. We also work one-on-one with individual callers to improve their confidence and results.
7. Be tenacious
Lastly, recognize that cold calling and sales prospecting is a skill, and it can be hard work. For every great lead a caller generates, there will others that do not advance in the sales process. Look for ways to motivate your team and create a fun and collaborative atmosphere. Show support on a daily basis and celebrate success. Above all, be tenacious and keep a positive attitude. The next great call could be the one you’re dialing right now!