Sales Excellence Series - Cold Calling
Why do I Cold Call?
When do I Cold Call?
- The first viable vendor to reach a decision maker and successfully present, has a 74% closing ratio [Source: HubSpot]
- Best Times To Cold Call. 4:00 – 5:00 is best. The 2nd best time is 8:00 – 10:00. The worst times to cold call are 11:00am and 2:00pm. [Source: InsideSales.com and Kellogg School of Business]
- Best Days To Cold Call. Thursday is the best day to prospect. Wednesday is the 2nd best day. Tuesday is the worst day (and you probably thought it was Monday). [Source: InsideSales.com]
- Dials/Contacts Ratio, In 2007 it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it takes 8 attempts. [Source: TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group]
- Number of Attempts. The average salesperson gives up after only 2 attempts to reach a prospect. Lesson: be persistent. [Source: Sirius Decisions]
- Decision Makers. In a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions. Lesson: cold call multiple people in each account. [Source: Gartner Group]
- Data gathered and analyzed from a diverse set of sources indicates that it takes SDR's on average:
- 1 to 3 cycles to re-engage an inactive customer
- 1 to 5 cycles to engage a prospect who is in the buying window and is familiar with you and your brand
- 3 to 10 cycles to engage a prospect who has a high degree of familiarity with you or your brand
- 5 to 12 cycles to engage a warm, inbound lead
- 5 to 20 cycles to engage a prospect who has some familiarity with you or your brand20-50 cycles to engage a cold prospect who does not know you or your brand
How do I Cold Call?
In your very successful future, you might email me a $100 Amazon Gift Card (lol) for sharing the following: Implemented properly, cold calling is the most cost-effective method of finding new business, one of the best ways of delivering a sales message and a direct source for understanding the wants and needs of the prospective buyers in a market and the activities of competitors.
Use a dark and ominous tone, get your prospects attention by using their name, “Hi, NAME.” Haha - just kidding!
- Use a warm and welcoming tone, get your prospects attention by using their name, “Hi, NAME.”
- Notice I didn’t say, “Hi, ____, how are you today?” as it gives your prospect a chance to jump in and disrupt your flow by responding back, “…I’m super busy right now and can’t talk.” Cold calls are all about being assertive and taking control.
- Identify yourself. “My name is Dane with Poise Inc.” This is pretty straightforward — you need to tell them who you are.
- Tell them why you’re calling. “The reason I’m calling is I'd like to get some time on your calendar.” Getting right to brass-tacks demonstrates that you’re a professional. It also respects their schedule, just because they answered the phone doesn’t mean they have 30 minutes to give you. So save the small talk for your follow-up calls after you’ve already built the relationship and don’t oversell.
- Build a bridge. This statement connects the reason you’re calling with why they should care. “I just noticed on your site that you’re hiring 10 new sales reps this quarter. Several companies in the SaaS/Software space are already using Poise to improve sales success. For example, leveraging our working interview strategies to clearly identify top candidates or implementing our sales enablement programs to improve overall sales operations. ”
Get their attention and qualify. Here are some example qualifying questions - choose the questions that best align to your cold call during your pre-call planning (-Source: HubSpot)
- What's the business problem you're seeking to fix with this offering? Change isn't easy, and businesses don't undertake system overhauls and new implementations just for the fun of it. If there's no real problem the prospect is trying to solve, there's no real reason for them to buy. Establish business pain (either from a known issue, or from a problem the prospect wasn't even aware of) before diving into other questions.
- What's prompting you to do something about it now? Prospects who have recently experienced a significant trigger event, such as a change in leadership, market shift, legal problem, or major company development, will have more incentive to address the issue now rather than later.
- What has prevented you from trying to solve the problem until now? Do other priorities keep taking precedent? Is there a bend in the path to a solution? Learning what has historically blocked the way to fixing this problem can help the salesperson understand where it falls on the list of priorities, as well as alert them to potential pitfalls.
- Have you tried to solve this problem in the past? If so, why didn't that solution work? Alternatively, it could be that the prospect has attempted a solution before, but for whatever reason, that patch didn't stick. Digging into the past could reveal that what you thought was a perfect fit isn't actually so great -- or that your prospect needs what you sell ASAP.
- What happens if you do nothing about the problem? If the answer is "well, not much," the prospect doesn't have a pressing need. At this point, the salesperson should either disqualify the lead, or explain to them the danger that lies ahead if the problem goes unresolved (only if they truly believe this).
- Do you have a budget allocated for this project? If not, when do you expect that you will? Money isn't everything, but it certainly has bearing on whether or not a prospect is worth pursuing -- so make sure you qualify on budget sooner rather than later. The specific number doesn't matter as much as the fact that your offering's price and the prospect's ability to pay are within the same ballpark. For instance, if your product costs $1 million and the prospect can only afford $100, the sale isn't going to go through.
- How does the budget sign-off process work? This question can uncover additional financial decision makers that need to be looped in sooner rather than later.
- What are you currently spending on this issue? If the prospect already has a competitive solution in place, the salesperson can get a benchmark of how much they're used to spending. And with a firm number, the salesperson can then ask if the prospect would be comfortable going higher.
- Here's how former HubSpot Sales VP Pete Caputa phrases this question in his sales qualification calls: "We've established that your goal is X and that you're spending Y now to try and achieve X. But it's not working. In order to hire us, you will need to invest Z. Since Z is pretty similar to Y and you're more confident that our solution will get you to your goal, do you believe it makes sense to invest Z to hire us?"
- How would the decision process work with an offering like this? What would be your role in the process, and the roles of others on the decision team? Is the person you're talking to the decision maker? Or is the decision maker someone else? Make sure you understand the dynamics of the buying committee and who has authority over what. For example, while one stakeholder could be the "ultimate" signer, another might be the financial approver.
- Has your company ever considered/used a product like this before? If so, what happened? The best way to make sure you don't repeat history is to study it. Compare your buyer's expectations and perceptions of "good" and "bad" to your offering. If there's a significant mismatch, it's best to disqualify the prospect now before you spend any more time on the deal.
- What hurdles could crop up and derail this project? Too many potential potholes might not make the deal worth pursuing.
- What challenges do you think you'll come up against with the plan I've laid out? Do you think you'll struggle with Z or Y? When is a prospect who has the requisite need, authority, and money to buy as well as the correct solution timeline not a good prospect? When they won't be able to execute the plan you've laid out. While some offerings require more elbow grease than others, every new product or service requires some effort on the prospect's part to get it up and running. And if the prospect is unwilling to put in the work, they're not going to get results. Find this out early so you're not dealing with an unhappy customer later.
- What other solutions are you evaluating? In some cases, an additional vendor is brought in after a prospect has already decided on another in the name of due diligence or to put price pressure on the incumbent provider. Listen carefully to the prospect's answer to assess whether their engagement with you isn't totally authentic.
- What does success look like to you, both in terms of qualitative and quantitative results? Whether a prospect becomes a happy customer or a detractor largely depends on their expectations. If their definition of success does not line up with what your offering can provide, it might be time to disqualify.
- What does solving this problem mean to you personally? What do you stand to gain if the issue was solved? What do you stand to lose if it goes unresolved? An internal champion can often be more effective at corralling the buying committee around a particular product or service than the salesperson herself. The more skin the prospect has in the game, the more likely they are to be a helpful advocate.
- Based on what you've seen so far, do you think our offering could be a viable solution for your problem Peppering mini agreements or commitments throughout the buying process -- even in the qualification call -- can lay the groundwork for the ultimate agreement at the end.
- When do you need a solution in place by? If there's a firm date the problem absolutely needs to be fixed by, the salesperson can then work backward to determine a signing date.
- Do you agree that the next step is X by Y date? When would be a good time on or around that date to schedule a call or meeting? This isn't so much a qualification question as a sales best practice. Every sales interaction should end with a next step tied to a date. If the buyer is truly committed to moving forward, they won't have any trouble agreeing to a second meeting or call. Interest: secured. Prospect: Qualified.
- Ask for what you want and stop talking, AKA, leverage the Power of the Pause. “Being respectful of your time, I thought the best place to start is to schedule a meeting to learn about your sales operation and talent goals. Do you have time Wednesday or Thursday afternoon around 10AM?” Ask for the appointment - stop talking.
- Ultimately, your goal is to set meetings with prospects and turn them over to your AE team.
We like to see SDR's generate 2-3 Qualified Sales Leads daily but quotas will vary. Study it - implement it - crush it!