B2B cold calling in 2023 requires more skill and strategy than ever before. Considering that cold call conversion rates are currently hovering around 2%. But, done well, it still creates an impactful opportunity to connect with potential sales prospects in a focused way. This allows you to deliver a specific solution to their problem.
If you’re an executive looking to enhance your sales team’s cold calling strategy or a representative who’s ready to sharpen your skills — this guide will give you a comprehensive look at cold calling best practices and guidance on how to improve your B2B cold-calling for sales success.
22 Tips To Improve B2B Cold Calling
A successful sales call begins before you even pick up the phone. To connect with potential sales prospects later, you need to understand the broad audience you’re talking to and the individual you have on the phone.
1. Define Your Target Prospects
Research your target prospects to understand their industry and the most relevant pain points. Even if you think you know your audience well and talk to customers daily, this information is worth distilling, noting clearly, and refreshing yourself before you begin a batch of cold calls.
2. Genuinely Get to Know Who You’re Calling
To further personalize your approach and establish credibility, educate yourself in detail for each call. Cold calls are going out to people who haven’t expressed interest in your company or solution. But you can counterbalance some unfamiliarity by showing that you’ve done your homework and care about the company you’re calling. Find out how big a company is, what their product service offerings are, who key decision-makers are in their company, and start thinking about how your solution would uniquely support them.
3. Leverage Social, But Don’t Spam
Cold-calling strategies that ignore the power of social media for pre-call engagement are sure to fall flat in an online world. Warm up potential sales prospects by connecting with them on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter. Look for the channels your prospect is most active on, and engage with them there. While connecting, watch for pertinent information about your prospect’s priorities and interests.
Avoid this cold-calling mistake → Don’t spam, be social. When you engage with prospects, act like a real human interacting with another real human or company. Spamming a prospect with likes on their posts or leaving thoughtless comments will damage your connection. This can ruin your chances of warming up a cold prospect.
4. Give Each Prospect an Unparalleled Pitch
Take your research from ‘Stage 1’ and start to apply this information to your positioning and pitch. Note the benefits of your solution that will be most relevant to your prospect. Highlight ways that your company aligns with their way of doing business, their values, and their goals.
5. Forecast Objections So You Can Weather Them Later
Again leaning on the information you have about your prospect, anticipate their objections to purchasing your solution. Prepare your responses to those objections so you can confidently address them. Over time, you’ll build a bank of objections and responses so you’ll never miss a quality sales opportunity because of a lackluster response to a prospect’s objection.
6. Open Your Call With a Strategic Intro
You’ll have less than 30 seconds to make your first impression on a prospect and begin what could potentially be a successful sales call. It’s best to assume you have only a few seconds to make a compelling opening invitation and start the conversation. Create a statement that explains the clear benefit of your solution in a way that is attention-grabbing and piques curiosity.
Avoid this cold-calling mistake → Don’t rush your call prep. Any call worth making is worth planning for. There’s nothing worse than getting a qualified prospect on the phone and losing them because you stumbled over your introduction.
7. Put Connection First
If you were able to connect with the person on a social media platform — or that is where you found the lead — mention this on your call. You might add this mention before or after your opening statement. Make sure that what you bring up in conversation is relevant to your solution. Show your client that you took the time to get to know them before getting on the call.
8. Make Your Interruption Worth It
No one’s sitting around waiting for sales calls, so acknowledge your potential sales prospect’s busy schedule. Follow up your acknowledgment with a clear statement of how much time you need today. Whether that’s three or fifteen minutes, sharing this upfront shows respect. Prospects will feel more comfortable getting on the phone with you for follow-ups and won’t feel ‘roped in’ to a call they didn’t ask for when they can agree to the time commitment.
9. Keep it Colloquial
Conversational language will flow easily when you’re not using a sales script. Remember that the more natural, confident, and clear your speech is, the easier it is for your prospect to trust you. Building rapport through authentic interactions is the way to go.
10. Uplift Your Prospect With Positivity
Throughout your conversation, look for opportunities to affirm, acknowledge, and validate your prospect. Words that convey your enthusiasm for helping the prospect and show your optimistic outlook will help show that your service is genuine and solution-focused.
11. Invest Your Attention — And It’ll Pay You Dividends
In order to understand your prospect’s needs and challenges, you need to be equally engaged and receptive on your call. This means fully listening to your prospect when they’re answering your questions and sharing about themselves. Something they say during the call could influence the way you pitch your solution. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to tailor your conversation because you weren’t actively listening.
Avoid this cold-calling mistake → Don’t interject or cut off your prospect during your call. Use effective open-ended questions and encourage prospects to share their challenges.
12. The Entire Call is Part of the Pitch
Instead of thinking of your pitch being just the last quarter of your call, look at your entire call as part of your pitch. This shift in perspective will help you see opportunities for warming up your cold lead throughout your conversation so that when you make a clear offer, it doesn’t shock your prospect. They’ll be anticipating it and even asking for it.
13. Subtly Pitch With Social Proof
Incorporate social proof in your conversations by mentioning relevant industry recognition your company has received or partnerships you’re engaged in. This helps to establish credibility with your prospect.
14. Slide Into a Sale With Smooth Storytelling
Engage your prospects by sharing relevant success stories. Case studies and testimonials from notable clients illustrate how your solution has helped other businesses overcome similar challenges.
15. Give Value a Front Seat, Put Features in the Back
Instead of focusing on product features, expand your cold calling strategy to emphasize the value and benefits your solution offers. This includes addressing the pain points your prospects are likely experiencing.
16. Practice Proactive Objection Prevention
Before your call, you should have planned for possible objections and how to handle them. On your call, you can address these potential objections before they are even shared. Do this by proactively providing information and addressing concerns. Weave this information into your social proof and stories whenever possible to further strengthen your positioning and demonstrate real, applied expertise your prospect can trust.
17. Respect Your Prospects Boundaries
While a certain amount of professional persistence is required for successful sales via cold calling. You don’t want to push so far as to violate your prospect’s boundaries. Repeating this will not only ruin your chances of selling to your prospects but also damage your company’s reputation. When you encounter resistance or a potential sales prospect asks for more time to make their decision, be clear about how you will follow up while respecting their boundaries and preferences.
18. Always Review Lessons Learned After Each Call
When you have completed your call, it’s time to break down the lessons you learned to continue improving your cold-calling skills and results.
19. Let Every Lead Be a Learning Opportunity
Cold calling is a skill that only improves with practice. Practice can be messy and full of mistakes or it can be full of successes to celebrate. Either way, you can learn by seeking feedback, adapting your techniques, and staying updated with industry trends that can further inform your cold-calling approach.
20. Take a Third-Party Perspective on Your Calls
Take a step back from your call and try to analyze it from an objective outsider’s perspective. Look at only what was said, how you engaged on the call, and what the other person’s response was. The less personal you can make your review, the more powerful it will be. Take note of what made for successful sales calls and learn from unsuccessful ones to refine your strategy.
21. Know Where You’re At, Know Where You’re Going
Sales enablement tools and CRM systems will help you manage your metrics so you always know where you’re at and can set realistic stretch goals as you make progress. Stay organized and track everything you can in a clear and simple system so that your information is easy to access and apply to your future calls.
22. Raise Your Standards on Follow-Ups
Instead of sending generic follow-ups or ‘fire-hosing’ someone with information, take the time to personalize your follow-up emails or messages. Add a brief summary of your call and the next steps. Adding a few details that show this summary and the next steps for this prospect will help show your attentiveness and commitment to serving this prospect as a unique individual and company.
Avoid this cold-calling mistake → Follow up when and where you say you will. If you’ve previously connected with a prospect on social media, don’t use their comments section or DMs to spam them with additional, unsolicited follow-ups or information. Follow-ups are a chance for you to build trust and develop a relationship with your prospect.
Top-performing sales representatives use most of these techniques without even thinking about them — they’re simply second nature from years of practice. Our network of excellent B2B sales representatives and candidates are ready to help your company today with cold-calling mastery and sales skills at the ready. Click here to contact us today and make a plan for sales success.