This guest post is by Sujan Patel.
Cold calling can be a thankless job, especially for new salespeople who are just starting out. But the truth is that it’s one of the most efficient ways for your business to capture new prospects. It’s worth the time spent to get it right.
If you’re in charge of training a new salesperson on cold calling, focus less on specific tactics and more on the fundamentals that make cold outreach successful. Here are eight principles that that new salespeople should keep in mind as they’re getting up-to-speed.
1. Develop a Good Cold Calling Mindset
The mindset makes the cold call. If you go into a call thinking about how much money you’re going to make when you close the deal, prospects are going to feel your intent. It’s a common mistake, though, so help your trainees try to remember that they’re calling to help a prospect and to make their life better by solving a problem they’re experiencing.
A great way to change a salesperson’s mindset is to give them a reason to believe in the value of the product or service you’re selling. Prospects know when salespeople aren’t really passionate about what they’re pitching. Help your trainees find this enthusiasm and make sure it comes across in their calls.
2. Set Objectives and Targets in Advance
Spoiler alert: the goal of cold calling isn’t to make sales.
Despite what many new salespeople believe, your biggest objective is simply to make contact with a prospect, qualify them as a potential lead, and set up another meeting where you can pitch your products or services in greater depth.
With that differentiation in mind, your trainees should be encouraged to set objectives and targets for their cold calling efforts. For example, their goals might be to get 100 prospects on the phone and to convert 20% of those into one-on-one meetings.
Other objectives you might want your new sales reps to focus on include:
- Testing the demand for your services and products
- Improving how you communicate the service or product’s value
- Learning the amount customers are ready to pay for what you offer
- Identifying prospects with the greatest need for your service or product
Once you’ve defined your objectives, you can train your new hires to identify prospects who are most likely to be receptive to their message. Have them try to determine which companies have the greatest need for your offerings (and who are therefore more likely to give a positive response). You’ll also want to have them research prospects thoroughly to uncover as much as possible about what they do, what their core values are, and what their potential needs might be.
3. Build an Awareness of the Larger Market
Good salespeople know as much about their markets as they do their prospects. Train your new sales reps to build their awareness of industry news or of macro-level trends that might be affecting prospects’ business.
For example, imagine that one of your trainees hops on a call with a prospective manufacturing client, but isn’t aware that the sector is experiencing a downturn. Maybe their lack of knowledge won’t affect the outcome of their cold outreach, but they’re still going to be at a disadvantage compared to salespeople who tailor their pitches by taking this market trend into account.
4. Understand the Modern Buyer
The modern-day buyer has changed tremendously. Across nearly all industries, buyers are spending more time online exploring, finding information, consuming insights, and collaborating with like-minded individuals. This impact is especially notable in the SaaS world, where buyers are doing more of the “heavy lifting” of sales by educating themselves through free trials and freemium access levels.
Your trainees’ cold calling approach needs to reflect these new omnichannel behaviors. Train them to expect that prospects will already be familiar with your offering, and that they may have already researched it on their own. Cold calling can quickly turn into fully-fledged sales presentations in these instances, and salespeople must be prepared to seamlessly transition from one conversation to the next.
5. Lead with Value
The sales reps that offer the greatest value to prospects are going to be more likely to close deals. It’s simple. Would you rather work with someone who makes your life easier, or with someone who only seems interested in pitching you on a product?
Buyers are looking for information online. So if all your trainees are doing is calling on prospects with sales pitches, they’re going to lag behind those salespeople who are building relationships based on value.
Teach your new reps to share helpful articles, to offer to jump on training calls, or to connect prospects with others they could benefit from - even as part of their cold calling efforts. The long-term results of this value-driven approach can be staggering.
6. Create a Cadence
How exactly you want your salespeople to conduct their cold calling will probably depend to some degree on your company. But one tool that’s almost universally valuable is a sales cadence, which involves a set series of sales activities, carried out in the same order.
Every cadence will look different, but the beauty of these systems is that they can be measured and managed. Train your salespeople to work off a defined cadence routine or methodology from day one so that they can maximize their effectiveness by tracking their performance over time.
7. Write Cold Call Scripts
Once your trainees understand their role in your larger market, how they provide value to customers, and how they’ll be contacting prospects, encourage them to write scripts for every step in their cadence that involves cold calling.
For many new salespeople, scripts take much of the fear out of cold calling - since they no longer have to worry about what they’ll say, it’s much less scary to pick up the phone. Give them any scripts you use to work off of, or encourage them to look at existing templates for inspiration.
At a minimum, they should create scripts for each cadence steps, scripts for leaving voicemails if they aren’t able to connect directly, and scripts built around different benefits and objections.
8. Invest in a Professional Sales Training Program
There’s a lot of value in passing down your own sales wisdom to new reps. But the key to long-term improvement is continuous learning and growth. That’s where professional sales training programs come into play.
A good sales training program can cut your new trainees’ learning curves significantly by teaching them evidence-based best practices. Just be sure to do your research. Though there are many such offerings available, their quality varies widely. Work with reputable programs or seek recommendations from other salespeople in your network.
What other tips would you add to this list? Share your best advice for training new salespeople on cold calling by leaving a note below.
Author - Sujan Patel is a partner at Ramp Ventures& co-founder Mailshake. He has over 15 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.