B2B cold calling is one of the most common sales techniques. It is also one of the least beloved by business development representatives. However, as you will find out in this article, B2B cold calling is still one of the most successful techniques that helps businesses generate millions of dollars.
Cold calling is especially important for B2B businesses. B2C businesses are oriented towards broader audience and marketing channels such as TV ads and social media, which generate a lot of sales opportunities and deals for them.
On the other hand, B2B sales takes longer than B2C, and B2B salesmen know they have to build personal relationships with their potential buyers. What better tool to connect than a phone call, which represents a direct communication much harder to ignore and avoid than emails?
As one would expect, there are ways to make B2B cold calling more effective. In this article, you will find out what are the B2B cold calling basics, tips and myths that business development representatives should not believe.
One of the most common misconceptions is that B2B cold calling is no longer effective. However, according to research, companies that believed that and stopped with this practice experienced 42% less growth than those who believed otherwise.
What Is B2B Cold Calling
If you’re new to B2B sales, you might wonder what exactly B2B cold calling is. In short, it is a sales technique that consists of calling potential customers over the phone. The catch is – the potential customers have never expressed any interest in the products or services that are offered.
This is why B2B cold calling has the adjective “cold” in it – you go into the call presuming that the person on the other side maybe has not even heard of your company or its product. Moreover, you may not know much about this person at all – and the call could turn out to be a complete waste of time.
Does Your Company Need B2B Cold Calling?
If you are just beginning to develop your sales or you are simply looking to add a boost to your ongoing efforts, B2B cold calling might be a good idea. However, you can establish if it is a good fit by assessing your current sales efforts.
In essence, you need to know that B2B cold calling can be a prosperous technique – but only if done right. Find out what your competitors are doing. Are they reaching the same buyer persona you’re targeting with cold calling? Are you missing out?
So, how do you generate leads? Do you rely on social selling, or does your inbound marketing strategy bring you valuable leads? Have you been doing B2B cold calling so far, but without significant success?
Even if you rely on social selling and inbound marketing, your best chance to connect to a persona is over the phone. So why wouldn’t you also use the available technology to target prospects and then establish more personal connection with B2B cold calling?
As B2B cold calling can be a big profit driver for companies, many opt for sales outsourcing and put this delicate part of a sales process into the hands of professionals. After all – it can turn out to become your most valuable sales source.
- Find out more about call center prices and what they entail to decide if outsourcing sales is a good idea for your company’s needs.
B2B Cold Calling Basics
As any other technique, B2B cold calling relies on a couple of simple principles. The B2B cold calling basics are not hard to master, but they are a bit harder to perfect. Moreover, some of the main staples of B2B cold calling call for certain inherent characteristics of business development representatives, like resilience.
Follow these B2B cold calling practices to build a healthy foundation for your following sales process.
Before engaging in a call, you must do your research. You must know some basic information about the person you are calling – but the more you know, the better. Before you start B2B cold calling prospects, make sure that the person you are calling fits, even loosely, into your buyer persona profile.
Therefore, try to find out this person’s job responsibilities and interests. Moreover, use LinkedIn to find out more about the prospect.
Without a B2B cold calling script, your business development representatives could get lost. Having a call script in place during B2B cold calling prevents the caller from getting confused and not knowing what to say.
Naturally, after a while, you will not need a call script anymore. However, it is really useful at the beginning of your project or B2B cold calling in general.
One thing that a call script should surely entail is how to handle objections. In B2B cold calling, objections are very common. One of the most common things prospects say is that they are not interested and that they don’t have time to talk.
Look for best handling objections practices or have a team workshop before you start B2B cold calling process to get the best ideas.
Schedule time to call
B2B cold calling is just one of sales techniques that is used in B2B. As B2B salesmen have busy schedule, planning time for B2B cold calling activities helps them go through with their plan and focus.
Best practices on B2B cold calling mention around 4 hours set aside daily for these activities. Any more, and it will become tiring; any less, it will take you too long to reach everybody on that calling list you have.
This cannot be overstated: in B2B cold calling, sales development representatives need to build resilience. Sometimes, the overwhelming rejection can cause them to lose motivation and productivity or leave them thinking that B2B cold calling is not effective.
On the contrary! The secret is to power through, build resilience and employ other useful B2B cold calling techniques.
Update information in your CRM
In order to be data-driven, you need good data. Therefore, you need to update information on your prospects in your CRM, preferably during B2B cold calling. By adding new information on your prospects, you will help to build internal knowledge on your buyer personas.
It cannot be stressed enough: making notes is crucial during B2B cold calling. It will help you update information in your CRM without a hassle. Moreover, it will make you a better listener! Make it a priority to listen what your prospects are saying instead of following your script blindly. After all, the best calls are those in which you speak as little as possible.
Best B2B Cold Calling Tips
Business development representatives that are new to their roles might be surprised to find out these B2B cold calling tips and tricks. Why? Because these tricks are so simple in nature. Yet, it takes some experience with B2B cold calling to perfect it and for them to become a part of your routine.
Moreover, research shows that 82% of buyers have booked meetings with salespeople after a series of contacts that started with cold calling. This speaks volumes about the importance of being persistent and mastering the art of B2B cold calling.
Here are some of the most important B2B cold calling tips.
Prepare a strong opening line
Have you ever heard of the saying “First impressions matter the most”? In case of B2B cold calling, this is very true. Moreover, having a strong opening line can make you feel more secure as a caller and open the conversation into several directions.
Research shows that almost 31% of salespeople start their calls by asking “Is this a good time?”. What do you think about this as an opener?
As mentioned before, listening is one of the most important skills a business development representative can have. Contrary to the popular belief, B2B cold calling and B2B sales in general are about offering prospects value by resolving their issues. But, to resolve issues, you first have to find out what they are and how they affect your prospects.
Don’t push it
One of the most perpetuated myths are the ones about pushy salesmen and their effectiveness. In general, 50% of prospects think that salespeople are too pushy. The pushing tactic might work in B2C sales, although it is once again not the best way to approach building of customer relationships. However, in B2B cold calling, it is also valuable to drop the prospect.
After all, it is better to keep your prospects’ positive impact about you and your company since they might need your product or services later on.
Ask the right questions
Asking the right questions is absolutely essential in B2B cold calling. You are limited in time, and so are your prospects. Therefore, sit down with your team, experiment and research about the best types of questions. Also, check SPIN selling questions.
Mind your tone and posture
Are you aware of the fact that prospects can detect if you’re smiling over the phone? Not only that, but tone and voice can make a lot of difference during B2B cold calling. No one wants to feel like just another number on your list, so make sure to stay positive and respectful.
Research shows that an average number of calls you need to make in order to secure a sale is 6. Moreover, the list you are using for B2B cold calling is a list of prospects that match your buyer persona. Therefore, if somebody misses your call – call them again! If somebody proposes a raincheck, follow up. Also, follow up with leads you haven’t clearly established next steps in order to do so.
Don’t follow the script blindly
A B2B cold calling script comes in handy, especially if you are a beginner. However, after a while it becomes redundant as you will probably memorize it by heart. Allow yourself to experiment and, for example, see which open-ended questions end up leading to your prospects talking the most about their issues.
Establish clear next steps
For the effectiveness of your B2B cold calling and the whole sales process, you need to establish clear next steps with your prospects. Are you scheduling another call, or is the prospect sending you a contact from another person that’s a better fit? Are you scheduling a meeting or sending over more materials? Know where you stand every step of your B2B sales process.
Most Popular B2B Cold Calling Myths
B2B cold calling has been around for a while. Since sales as a discipline has changed, especially in the last 15 years or so, it is right to ask yourself if the same tactics still work.
The myth of ineffectiveness of B2B cold calling is one of the most popular ones related to this topic. However, there are other misconceptions about B2B cold calling. Here are most influential ones.
Cold calling is outdated and ineffective
Let’s face it: we live in the age where sales is not what it used to be. Sales practices evolved over time and now include a wide variety of tactics across multiple of channels. However, all the sales practices that come to your mind are probably B2C ones.
B2B sales are very different than B2C in several aspects. This is why in B2B, cold calling is still an effective tactic. No one says that it should be the only approach you utilize, but it is a great way to get acquainted with your market and brush up your sales skills. Moreover, it is one of the best ways to get valuable leads.
More calls equals more sales – quality and quantity
As is often said in sales – business development representatives must live on the intersection of quality and quantity. In other words, they must be mindful of both in order to achieve the best results.
In B2B cold calling, more calls does not equal more sales! Quality of those calls is equally important. However, all salesmen should have established quotas they should reach within an 8 hour period.
Cold calling is easy
In its essence, B2B cold calling is easy. On the other hand, it is a very repetitive task that requires a lot of patience, motivation and self-discipline – which are not traits that everyone possesses. From that perspective, cold calling is not easy.
Moreover, B2B cold calling requires having a certain set of skills that are acquired by a lot of practice. This is another reason why cold calling is actually harder than people believe.
People hate cold calling
By people, we mean prospects. The popular myth is that they hate B2B cold calling! However, research shows that 57% of C-level executives, 51% of directors and 47% of managers want to be contacted over phone as buyers.
Business development representatives are knowledgeable specialists that know how to talk to professionals, and professionals are not aversive to B2B salesmen unless they are pushy. After all, many professionals found out about products and services they use over a cold call – so they can only expect for more of their needs to be met through the same tactic.