Cold Calling 101: Top 5 Benefits and How to Prepare

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 3.50.59 PMWe know SDRs put in a ton of time and effort chasing down leads so, “I’ll have to pass this on to someone higher up,” is a statement we’re all a little too familiar with.

If you get this response, it’s because of one common mistake: you haven’t properly researched the potential customer beforehand. Knowing the needs and skill levels of a potential customer is key when making a cold call.

You save a lot of time and effort when you know in advance whether or not a prospect is worth meeting. Think all that research isn’t worth it?

5 Benefits of Cold Calling

  1. Identify targets: Cold calls help you learn who handles the problem your business solves for at a prospective company. This is what we use mapping calls for. The goal of the call is simply to speak to a human and learn one piece of information: who manages the issue your company solves?
  2. Gain insight: Why your response rates low? By using campaign messaging calls, you can often figure out why you’re not getting the response you intended. If a cold email campaign isn’t returning replies, your best option may be to call a sample of the recipients (at least 40) and ask why they didn’t respond. Their explanations can give you a great deal of insight: maybe you’re reaching the wrong people or perhaps your messaging was confusing or irrelevant. Either way, you can pinpoint the problem and take steps to move past it.
  3. Master your craft: It can take a while to become confident and comfortable speaking to prospects over the phone while delivering your value proposition in a compelling way. The best way to practice is not on your reps’ first “Are We A Fit” call though, it’s on cold calls. New reps should make 250+ cold calls before moving on to AWAF calls. By this point, we think they’ll be ready.
  4. Appear human: You’re not just a series of keystrokes; you’re a real human being! Polite voicemails show your prospect that you’re an actual person too; this is one of the best ways to increase reply rates to emails.
  5. Increase conversions: Pick up the phone and call every prospect as soon as you receive a reply! When you have a prospect’s  attention and are top of mind, an immediate call is often the best time to capture interest, qualify/disqualify a prospect, find the decision-maker,or book a demo, leading you one step closer to that sale.

Cold-Calling FAQs

– How can I better prepare? What info should I look up? It’s always better to be over-prepared. Research not only the company, but the contact you’re reaching out too as well.

– Should I take any notes? Yes! You want to remember all the key details so you can  outline clear next steps later. Even better: record the call to ensure you capture everything. Listening to the recorded calls also helps show how you can improve on future calls. Just be sure to let the person know you’re recording.

– Is this the right time to review high-level objectives? Are you just finding the correct contact? Or do you already have them on the line? Depending on what type of call you’re on, you’ll have to determine the level of detail you go into.

– What is the ultimate goal of the call? Have a goal and stick to it. If you leave without achieving it, you’ll likely have to spend a lot of time tracking the person down again.

– What do I hope to know when I hang up? Much like having a goal, go into the call knowing exactly what you need to have when you hang up. Maybe it’s clear next steps, maybe it’s a verbal “yes”—either way, know what you need and don’t hang up without it.

3-Step Prep

  1. Arrange an agreeable time to chat. Get the prospect’s permission to have a conversation with them and make an appointment.
  2. Outline the conversation. Brainstorm the paths you’re going to take to reach each goal. Include things like conversation openers and responses to possible objections you might hear.
  3. Research your potential lead. Nothing too strenuous, just a quick search to get an overview of who you are calling.

Key Questions To Ask On A Cold Call

Research? Check. Prep? Check. Now, how are you going to keep your prospect interested? Here are some questions to help you tell whether a prospect is interested and worth a follow up:

– What role do you play in the decision-making process?

– We’ve been noticing that a current trend or problem in your industry is _____. How has your company responded to this?

– Are you satisfied with your current service provider?

– What features of XYZ’s product/service appeal to you?

– What do you wish you could add or change? Under what circumstances would you be willing to buy/switch products?

– Can I set up an appointment with you so we can discuss _____ ?

– How does your company make the decision to buy?

– What can I do to make your job easier?

– Who else in your company should I be following up with?

We work in a competitive business market and salespeople have to develop skills that open up new opportunities for growth and connection. Preparation and practice are the keys to cold calling success and keeping the above in mind, cold calls that once seemed daunting can become effortless.


Mapping Calls vs. “Are We a Fit Calls”: Key Differences

We’ve seen SDRs spend a lot of time chasing prospects that will never buy. You can quickly determine with whom you should be speaking and whether or not your business is a good match for a prospect through mapping and “Are we a fit?” calls.. These two call strategies will enable you to successfully generate qualified, prospective clients for your business.

Mapping Calls

Otherwise known as discovery calls, mapping calls are exploratory in nature. They’re great for both building and creating contact lists, as well as training new sales reps of which are vital to your sales processes. A mapping call is  also the perfect time to practice phone conversation skills and to refine elevator pitches. Because this type of call forces you to explain your product or business in the most concise and simple way, there’s no room for jargon in successful mapping calls—they’re truly short and sweet.

The main goal of a mapping call is to essentially ‘map out’ a company and get an internal referral. However, when you go into the mapping call, have the expectation of setting up a meeting; for which a referral is the sole purpose.  Keep in mind you are not selling anything, but rather investigating, researching people, and trying to find a potential fit. Operating without an agenda or applying pressure will allow you to build trust and rapport with a prospect. Though it may at first feel counterintuitive, this strategy ends up landing you more meetings than you might expect.

One tactic on a mapping call:act like you’re lost and looking for help—call high into a company’s main phone line and ask for the president or executive team members. Tell them why you are calling and ask permission to chat. If you start with “Are we a fit?” questions, your chances of getting the desired contact information are higher.

In the event that nothing comes of the call, don’t give up. Try again another day. Reach out to another person or anyone else you have gained information about and continue to follow up.

For a more in-depth dive into mapping calls, watch this video: Predictable Revenue: “Mapping Calls” Guide (aka TTTRP Calls).

Are We A Fit (AWAF) Calls

AWAF“Are we a fit?” calls are qualification calls used for disqualifying prospects early on in the process and thereby saving both parties valuable time. They are also helpful  for building trust with prospects and educating them on the value of your products or services.

The main goal of AWAF calls is to determine quickly, at a high level, whether a new prospect is a fit of not. One tip: when on these calls, listen more than you speak. This will help you build trust and establish a positive relationship. Similar to mapping calls, you are also not selling anything—you are questioning and guiding the conversation to the next step in the sales process (granted there is a fit).

As far as timing, these calls can be as quick as five minutes but should not exceed 30 minutes. In terms of what you’re looking for, make sure you spend time talking to someone with authority. If they aren’t the right person, make sure you get to the right person that has power to make a decision. There also should be a need or pain point that you’re trying to solve. Once you have a prospect that’s the right fit, proceed with either of the following: Move the prospect on to a demo, or hand-off said prospect to another person (like an account executive).

Both mapping and AWAF calls are effective tools to successfully finding qualified  leads  for your business. With enough practice and perseverance, you’ll be able to turn your prospects into your customers quickly and confidently or find out that you’re not a good match and move on—it’s a win-win.

How to Craft and When to Send a Breakup Email

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 12.48.51 PMJust when you thought you felt a spark, now you’re not hearing back from a warm prospect. Was it something you said? Are they just not that into you? If you’re struggling to engage a prospect, it may be time to let them know that you’re walking away from them—in email terms anyway.

Also known as ‘breaking up via email’, this practice is much more acceptable in business than it is in real life. The breakup email, when used strategically, is one of the most effective ways to get the attention of a prospect who isn’t responding.

Example: high school. What was the best way to capture your crush’s attention? By not paying attention to them… at all. The moment your crush (or in this case, your prospective client) notices that you’re no longer pursuing them, they’ll scramble to win you back.

Why breakup emails work:

Breakup emails trigger an emotion —but only if the lead cared about you in the first place. If he never truly intended to work with you, he’ll ignore the email and you can both move on. If he does want to pursue a partnership but hasn’t taken action yet, a breakup email will likely trigger the reaction you’re looking for and help move him along the pipeline.

Think about it this way: with an inbound sales approach, each email you send offers valuable knowledge to your client, no matter their level of commitment. When you stop offering emails with value, the prospect may begin to realize exactly what he’s missing. Katharine Derum, a senior sales manager at HubSpot, says her team sees a 33% response rate on breakup emails, but only if that email is in a sequence that suggests the client cares about the relationship.

When to send a breakup email:

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 12.42.16 PMYou’ll know it’s time to send a breakup email when you’ve made a solid attempt to contact a lead that’s elicited little to no response. You don’t want to send it too early! Before throwing in the towel and crafting a more direct note, tap other forms of contact (phone, LinkedIn, VM) as a final effort.

One thing to keep in mind is that your cadence should reflect the value of the account. If you really want to land it, try a more personalized approach before sending a breakup email. Your tone should also reflect the client’s activities; if she’s constantly clicking links or forwarding your note, don’t sent a breakup email. Send her something more personalized or call.

How to craft a breakup email

  • Politely remind the prospect that you’ve been trying to reach them. Explain why you’re contacting them (the value you want to offer) and what your call to action is (what you want them to do).
  • Explain that you don’t want to pester them, and will not continue to contact them if you don’t hear back.
  • Tease them with value. Let them know that all of the valuable information you’ve been sending them will no longer be sent to their inbox.
  • Be direct. Make it clear that you’ll stop all communication with the prospect unless he takes action. This will prompt him to add you to their to-do list or give you a signal that he’s not worth investing more time in.

Though they may sound harsh, breakup emails are an effective strategy to win back the attention of a potential prospect. This type of message highlights the value you’ve provided and helps prospects realize that they need to take action in order to continue to build the relationship. If they don’t respond— it’s not you, it’s them.