Expert shares three way to overcome the big cold calling challenge.
By Zorian Rotenberg, InsightSquared
The success of a sales team can lead to growth and expansion, or major setback. And in the world of sales, cold calling presents one major challenge: establishing the initial connection with a potential buyer who is a total stranger.
Outbound sales teams spend all day attempting to connect with people who don’t know who they are or what their company does. Potential clients will only begin to listen when provided a little more context or background, but very rarely is additional context given prior to the cold-call. Salespeople who are equipped with the appropriate background knowledge and who connect with prospects who have had access to content before they hop on the phone are best prepared to overcome cold calling’s inherent hurdles.
Making it past these challenges should be a team effort. Each team member should be equipped with the tools and skills they need to turn cold calling into warm leads. To bridge the gap between prospects and successful sales, follow these three strategies to master cold calling:
Make Content Smarter. Any content featured on your website should have meaning beyond filling space with word counts. By creating content that appeals directly to your ideal, targeted customers, you can utilize analytics to track downloads of specific offers and other prospects with similar titles and positions with the same content.
For example, if you’re selling to sales managers or c-level executives, your marketing team should create cold calling content that appeals to that specific audience. Tracking and measuring data from “smart” content allows your company to customize your typical customer profile, and gives your sales representatives one huge advantage: they now have a background on a typical new prospect each time they pick up the phone.
Educate, Educate, Educate. Rarely do cold calls last long enough for sales reps to properly convey the company’s product offerings. If the prospect’s attention is short-lived, the salespersons runs risk of ending the conversation in a “click,” with no hope of future business. By educating the person on the other line as much as possible before the call actually occurs, he or she is more likely to listen to everything the sales representative has to say.
To educate prospective clients create cold calling content that is interesting, educational and searchable.
Use Content to Your Advantage During Cold Calling.
By creating “smart” content, sales reps begin their cold calling prep miles ahead of traditional sales reps. The added context and background lets salespeople dive into the prospect’s specific interests from the get-go. When content downloads are properly tracked, content data helps sales reps decipher between qualified customers and those who aren’t a great fit. Leverage the data tracked by “smart content” to know as much about the customer as possible. The more you know, the more catered and successful your sales pitch will be.
Sales representatives are no longer the first point of content in the majority of new business cases, yet cold calling has remained a consistent practice. Potential clientele will do research online before hopping on the phone, and will likely formulate their opinion based on what they find on your website.
Embrace this new sales process by making information about your company’s products and services as accessible as possible by search tools like Google and Yahoo. Put your strongest sales foot forward by making cold calling more effective—which will in time maximize the number of leads that turn a profit.
About the Author
Zorian has been on management teams of several high-growth global software companies, ranging between $8 Million to $100 Million in sales, all growing over 100% annually. He also was the CEO at StarWind Software, responsible for worldwide sales with customers in over 50 countries. He has contributed to The WSJ Accelerators Blog, Chief Sales Officer Insights, Top Sales World, Salesforce.com blog, Revenue Marketing Podcast, DemandGen Marketing Report, OpenView Labs blog, and iMedia among others. Zorian has a degree in Finance and with minors in Applied Mathematics and in Computer Science from Lehigh University and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School. Visit http://www.insightsquared.com/ to learn more about the author and his work.