Revisiting the fundamentals of proven practices for B2B cold calling is a great way to get back on track if your numbers, or those of your team, are falling.
I find that the basics can sometimes get lost amongst new ideas or “shortcuts” and revisiting them can get a caller, or a campaign, back on track.
In part one of my insider’s guide to B2B cold calling, I reviewed the importance of an excellent prospect list and proven methods for targeting and accessing decision-makers. Below I will discuss how much research is necessary, the benefits of timing, and effective voicemails.
These practices are time-tested and have proven very successful for me over decades in the business, both on a personal level and for those who work for me.
The Right Amount of Research
It’s necessary to do adequate research about a prospect before making the call. Successful B2B callers will have a solid understanding of the industry into which they are calling, as well as any terms and nuances particular to that area of business.
Moreover, as discussed in part one, a targeted list that is in good order, so calls are being made to the right people within an organization, is paramount.
Research is necessary, and I certainly don’t advocate picking up the phone until you have become familiar with your client’s business solution, and the prospects that you are calling.
However, time spent researching is time spent not making calls. The goal of a B2B caller is to get in front of the decision makers or key evaluators at the prospective organizations. It can only be accomplished by consistently picking up the phone and making the calls.
Hours of research will not uncover opportunities; to do that requires a conversation.
Getting in front of a decision maker, asking the questions that will uncover their business pains, and listening to their responses will reveal the most valuable information and result in qualified leads.
Leave an Effective Voicemail
Some will argue that it’s a waste of time to leave voicemails, arguing that no one will ever return your call. I began my sales career in 1984, and have been a principal at JMS Elite for over 15 years, and I have much evidence to the contrary.
Half of our leads come from people who do return the call.
If you’ve bothered to make the call, it makes sense to leave a message; then there is at least a small chance that you will get a response, or that your message may get passed on to others within the organization.
There is another opportunity that comes from leaving an effective voicemail. Leaving your name and a brief message has a building effect that can be very positive. Leaving 2-3 messages with multiple people in the same organization significantly increases your chances of penetrating that organization.
Not leaving a message is a wasted opportunity, but remember that it is vital that the message you leave is an effective one. Keep it short and succinct, and don’t attempt to fit in a features and benefits presentation.
Attempt a message that gives the listener enough to entice them to either return the call or pass it along.
Timing is Everything
When tasked with a prospect list that contains a large number of companies there are a few timing techniques that can help.
Repeated calls made in a tighter time frame can be more effective and produce better results than those spaced farther apart.
For instance – you are working through a list that contains 1000 companies. Your time is better spent if, after calling the first 200, you go back to the top of the list and call the first 200 a second time. Then start on 201-400, then go to the top of the list again and revisit 1-400.
This technique allows you to make contact with prospects more often, and make multiple attempts in a shorter time frame. In my experience, this practice overall will get you better results than if you call from top to bottom and then start over.
Too much time between phone calls means your name and solution won’t be top of mind. You may benefit from name recognition and have a better chance of making a connection when the calls are made closer together
Even with the many changes in marketing and sales that have taken place since the beginning of my career, these are the basic best practices that have proven successful and stood the test of time. I hope you find them helpful.