Many B2B marketing professionals like to believe that B2B cold calling is dead. However, that is a common misconception that can seriously hurt your efforts. Every B2B company from the ones that are in the Fortune 500 bracket to ambitious start-ups employ cold calling strategies. If you think about it, haven’t we all received a call from someone trying to sell something to us at some time?
The process of cold calling includes unsolicited phone calls or visits made to prospective customers. Such calls aim at getting them to purchase your products or services. Traditionally, this is a process that occurs in the early stages of the selling process. When done right, cold calling can bring in a boost for sales. However, when not done tactfully, cold calling can be disastrous for your sales efforts. In the long run, untactful B2B cold calling will start affecting the bottom line of your B2B company.
Read on to learn ten tips and tricks to help you turn B2B cold calling into opportunities for growth.
1 – Investing in the right CRM
A CRM system is a strategy employed by B2B companies to analyse and streamline the process of customer relationships. When it comes to B2B cold calling, it is necessary that you have the right data about the lead you’re contacting. CRMs work through software that helps you collect, organise and manage information about leads, prospects, and customers. In this way, a CRM system enables you to understand the person you aim at contacting.
Without an efficient CRM system, your B2B marketing team will not be able to make calls efficiently. When it comes to B2B cold calling, information is power. This information is not possible to access at the right time, in an organised or accessible manner unless you are operating with the right CRM. CRM software is the gold standard in B2B marketing and sales operations. By investing in a CRM that is right for you, you will have prospect data at your fingertips. With the right CRM, you also have access to behavioral data that helps your team communicate effectively with the lead.
Additionally, a CRM system can help you automate parts of the cold calling process. This makes it important to invest in regular CRM appending services.
2 – Prepare before you call
The importance of preparing for a B2B cold calling session is often underestimated by many. Around 42% of sales reps feel like they don’t have all the right information before they make a sales call. While implementing a comprehensive CRM system can certainly help in crossing this hurdle, it is not enough.
For a successful telemarketing endeavor, it is necessary that the sales rep can add value to the lead or prospect. Supplemented by the CRM data, the caller should also have in-depth knowledge about the industry. They should even understand what needs might arise for the candidate who is within that industry. By having an idea about what challenges they may be facing, the sales rep can align their product or services to alleviate those challenges or problems.
Preparation before calling a lead should include all these points. By doing this, you set clear expectations for the outcome of a call. This acts as a guide for your B2B cold calling efforts.
3 – Personalizing your B2B Cold Calling Strategy
In today’s technology-fuelled, highly competitive world, there are many players in every industry vying for the attention of customers. In such a scenario, it is not uncommon that the prospect you’re targeting expects to be treated very well, with a customised experience.
When it comes to B2B cold calling,g the element of personalisation is powerful. Personalization can help convert the cold call into a warm conversation. This type of communication helps build trust and nurture your lead. When the right CRM system backs you, your reps will have the personal information about the prospect they are contacting. This information should be used to personalise calls to help add value to this interaction and help bring more customers to you. For example, if your prospect is in a city that recently had a parade or bad weather, this can be mentioned. By mentioning this detail, you make the prospect feel warmer towards your efforts of contacting them. Personalising your outreach is a critical step in converting leads.
4 – Incorporate Auto-Dialling Tools
The perfect CRM for each business is slightly different. However, there are a few tools that can be used commonly to increase efficiency. When it comes to B2B cold calling, it is all a numbers game. Not just B2B cold calling, but any telemarketing activity requires you to sift through a large number of prospects. By sifting through these huge numbers, you get to the few who are interested in your services. Eventually, with the right actions, you will have them onboard as paying customers.
In this case, the more you make calls, the more are the chances of hitting sales. This is where an auto-dialing tool comes in handy. Such an apparatus can create lists of phone numbers with ease. It also helps in automating the process of dialing these numbers. What this means is that the reps won’t have to put in the phone numbers manually. This function reduces the chances of wrong numbers and also saves a lot of their valuable time.
5 – Don’t Sound Pushy (Or Like a Telemarketer)
While B2B cold calling activities do fall under the umbrella of telemarketing, nobody wants to deal with telemarketers. Telemarketers are traditionally considered pushy. So, the last thing you want to do is sound like a telemarketer.
Backed by in-depth knowledge thanks to an up-to-date and clean CRM, you already have the basis for creating a dynamic call. However, if you rely on scripts or spiels to keep you going, the success rate or conversion rate won’t be very high. Phrases like “How are you today..” or “I am calling from XYZ…” as conversations starters are tell-tale signs of scripted calls. Instead, go for a different approach. Start by asking them if this is an excellent time to talk. If you have the option of personalising this opening line, do it! It makes you sound like an actual, real, human being and not just a drone on the other side of the phone, looking to sell. By being engaging yet professional, you give your prospect the opportunity to be open about his challenges.
All in all, don’t pitch prematurely. First, listen to what your prospect is trying to say. Once you’ve established a bond, only then should you delve into pitching.
6 – Don’t Harp On Features, Talk about Benefits
Once you have set a good conversation with your prospect and figured out what they need, don’t just jump in to talk about your product’s or service’s features. Nobody likes feeling like you are hard selling to them. They love choosing to buy. Instead of trying to hard-sell, talk about how your product can help solve a problem or challenge they are facing.
By talking about the benefits of your product or service, you help your prospect generate a hook for purchasing. Don’t make them feel like it’s all about the product or service. Make the candidate feel like it’s all about them. What this means is that you should address the individuality of their problem. Once you do this, delve into the specifics of how your product can fix that problem.
7 – Comprehensive Statistics and Data
Arm yourself with some impressive statistics about how your product or service helped a similar organisation as your prospects. Without this, you’re woefully unprepared for B2B cold calling. In the case of the B2B market, buying is different. The B2B purchase process is more time-consuming and requires a lot more nurturing than the B2C industry. The reason for this is that the products or services cost more and are used more frequently than consumer goods.
In such a scenario, when you offer decision makers comprehensive statistics or numbers, it serves as a trust-building activity. It shows them how your product or service can tangibly help them.
8 – Offer them Free Content
Content is King. The phrase may not have formerly referred to this context, but it is very applicable in the case of B2B cold calling. When it comes to the first call to a new prospect, the aim of the phone call is not limited to selling your product or service. This first call is an opportunity to build a relationship with the prospect.
One interesting way of becoming a trustworthy partner for your prospect is to provide them with free content. This free content could include a video series, eBook or case study that is relevant to them and their industry. However, make sure this also talks about your organisation or industry (albeit in a subliminal manner). By offering them such content, they don’t look at you as a pushy telemarketer, but as a trusted source.
9 – Have a Script to Use as a Guide
As I mentioned in point number 5, scripts should not guide you in a B2B cold-calling attempt. The key reason for this is that you don’t want to sound impersonal or unconcerned about your prospect’s needs. However, not having a conversation layout is equally dangerous. If you don’t have a script that includes all the key points you want to talk about with your prospect, you may end up missing key elements. You might miss on aspects that might have been imperative to discuss.
The best thing to do is to create a list with bullet points that include all the things you need to talk about over the call. This way, you ensure that you say all the things you needed to communicate to your prospect, but you don’t sound pushy or robotic in any manner. Without a script or a list to guide you, you may be unable to have a well-rounded conversation. There may be gaps in your communication. This flawed communication can severely affect the conversion ratio.
10 – Incorporate Post-Call Automation
It must be evident by now that B2B cold calling requires your reps to contact an extensive database of prospects to land a sale. This process of calling and contacting is quite a challenging activity. However, there are a few things to help this process become more comfortable. One such thing includes automation of operations that follow a call with a prospect.
Usually, after the end of each call, a few follow-up procedures follow the rest of the conversation. Additionally, a call can’t be considered complete till this is done. Right from sending an email, reading material to scheduling tasks or meetings, these follow up activities tend to take up your valuable time. Your sales team is bound to spend as much time on these follow up activities as they are on the call itself. Not only is this counter-productive, but it also takes away from time that they would have instead invested in making more calls.
With a comprehensive post-call automation tool, all follow-up administrative tasks are on auto-mode, and this frees up your sales reps from the responsibility of having to carry out these tasks manually. The time they save on these tasks can go to contacting even more prospects. An investment like this can bring back considerable returns in the long run.
The Bottom Line
In today’s highly competitive B2B industry, it goes without saying that competition is fierce. Relying on traditional methods to gain more prospects is not enough. When it comes to B2B marketing efforts, data, especially well-researched, relevant and correct prospect data is an asset worth its weight in gold.
While there are many organisations and vendors out there who supply databases to B2B companies, not many of them come with a guarantee or backing of verification of information. If you centre your B2B cold calling activities on data obtained from such lists, it will end in mediocre success at best. The main reason for this is that most data vendors use automated data mining services to maintain their databases and thanks to the natural occurrence of data-decay, by the time you get hold of these lists, they are outdated and riddled with bad data. Cold calls made to such contacts are infamous for yielding results that are mediocre at best.