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Cold Calling - How To Make It Work

by Trish Bertuzzi on Fri, Dec 28, 2007

Always a raging debate...cold calling...does it work or is it a waste of time?  Well, that all depends on how good you are at it! 

Cold calling is a science and not an art form.  Lobbing an occasional call out to a prospect with a message that is all about you will never work.  Executing a systematic campaign that conveys a sense of urgency and communicates your value proposition in actionable sound bites will get you a 20% response rate.  Oh, I can hear the screams now...20%???  Yes, you should be able to connect with your prospect at a rate of 20%.

What you do once you make that connection is up to you.  We have seen reps that have the ability to launch the sales process in a meaningful way once they have a prospect on the phone and we have also seen reps that are so unprepared they allow the prospect to say "no" before they even get started. 

What are the key ingredients to successful cold calling?

1. Focus only on those prospects that fit your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).  Take the time to define what your sweet spot looks like and then build a target list of companies that fit those parameters.  Don't assume that just because a company is in your database they fit your ICP! 

2. Execute a process that includes 4 touches in 10 business days.  Call, call, email, call.  Don't fall into the trap of becoming an Inside Sales Rep that communicates primarily via email.  Yes, I know people respond to you more via email but that is because they can blow you off easier.  You can't control the sales process if you don't have the ability to ask relevant questions, handle objections and position yourself against the competition.  You don't need a pen pal, you need a qualified prospect.
 
3. Always leave compelling voice mail messages of less than 90 words.
 
4. Emails should be text only, contain only 1 link and be as short as possible (for reading on a BlackBerry/PDA/SmartPhone). Also, emails should have no attachments and must contain a call to action.

5. For your final call, let the prospect know it is your final call.

Also, bear in mind that just because the prospect does not respond immediately does not mean that your message was not absorbed. If they fit your ICP, put them through this process again in 6 months.

Feel free to post any questions you may have.  Or, if you have great voice mail messages or emails you would like to share, feel free to post them.  We want to learn from each other!

Topics: sales process, sales tips, cold calling, metrics

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