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A day in the life of a sales prospecting team has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. With the rise of technology, traditional smile-and-dial cold calling campaigns aren’t as effective as they used to be. Near to 70 percent of the buyer’s journey now takes place online, without even so much as making any contact with sales reps. It’s the era where the client is king, and he is more empowered than ever to make his own purchasing decisions.

In this context, organizations have scaled back their use of traditional cold calling. For all you outsiders to the sales world, cold calling is the process where a sales rep will dial numbers and try to contact people with whom they had no prior interaction, trying to offer to sell products or services.

If it sounds like a nuisance to you, as someone who’s probably dealt with telemarketers before – imagine how the sales rep is feeling. It’s an awkward effort and probably not a dream career.

When Hubspot declared cold calling dead, they quoted stats that show less than 1% of cold calls result in meetings. That’s a sour statistic.

The most effective sales prospecting teams today use data science and technology.

In fact, what most successful sales prospecting teams do now isn’t really “cold calling” at all, even though many still use the term out of habit.

A Better Way to ‘Cold Call’

The new approach to sales prospecting is far more strategic and targeted. This creates a better experience for both the salesperson and the buyer. Today’s top sales prospecting teams use data science to predict the best prospects and to prescribe when and how to contact them.

As such, many successful sales teams are already using data science and analytics. In fact, 79% of sales teams currently use or are planning to use on sales analytics technology, according to the 2016 State of Sales Report from Salesforce.

Intelligent sales software can collect data and analyze it to uncover patterns that help both managers and sales reps increase their performance. It can help them use ‘the’ cold calling techniques that really work and create positive experiences.

Top sales prospecting teams combine these actionable insights with powerful sales acceleration technologies, including prescriptive dialers, email and engagement tracking and gamification platforms to dramatically improve visibility, productivity and effectiveness – ultimately increasing revenue by as much as 30% in as little as 90 days

Traditional Cold Calling Is a Waste of Time

As a sales leader, the most valuable thing you have is your team’s time. In some companies we’ve studied, reps spend 40% of their time just looking for someone to cold call. What if you could optimize your reps’ workday to ensure they were prospecting and performing at the highest possible level at any given moment?

Well, buckle in, because you’re about to see what this kind of day looks like in action.

In this post we’ll see how we can marry sales prospecting best practices with breakthrough sales acceleration technology to increase performance. In some cases, we’ve seen increases in prospecting pipeline by up to 4 times. We’ll offer some cold calling tips and outline the cold calling process in five simple steps. Let’s dive in!

1. The Science of Lead Scoring, Prioritization and Sales Prospecting

Before you change the way your team contacts leads, you should first ask yourself this very basic question: Is your prospecting team working the right leads? Furthermore, could you be wasting time manually building lists for your reps to dial?

Do you have lists with your best leads that connect your reps with the right people at the right time? Without vital analytics, you could be missing out on effectively building the right leads for your business. You might be sabotaged by your own lead scoring process.

Sales prospecting is all about quickly generating qualified opportunities and ultimately revenue. Lead scoring has long been a part of the sales prospecting process, but it has a bad reputation on the sales floor.

Why?

Simply put, marketing-based lead scoring systems have typically never added much value when it comes to sales.

NeuralView, InsideSales.com’s lead scoring and prioritization application, however, provides a different approach designed for salespeople, by salespeople.

With NeuralView you can know more, do more and sell more by applying proven sales prospecting best practices to the right leads at the right time.

2. The Next Step: Understanding the Need for a Prescriptive Dialer

The rise of remote selling technologies fully equips sales teams to run successful sales prospecting campaigns without on-site visits. Once you have scored and prioritized your leads, you’ll want to make sure you are cold calling them in the most efficient way.

As reps rely on telephone, email and remote presentations to communicate with customers more than ever before, their efforts should be more precise, eliminating the cold calling model of the past and accelerating sales with intelligent technology.

By using a dialer powered by predictive analytics, sales teams can increase their sales by 30% or more.

Your sales prospecting process must include these crucial components:

  • Rules-based call lists that target specific industries, titles, time zones, etc.
  • Data intelligence seamlessly injected into workflow
  • Automated voicemail and email
  • Automated tracking and recording
  • Click-to-call functionality from a CRM
  • Automatic data capture to CRM
  • Ability to call from local numbers

This approach gives you the ability to know more, do more and ultimately sell more.

3. Finding the Right Prescriptive Dialer

Finding a prescriptive dialer that does everything you need can be a challenge. Since we know a thing or two about it, let’s take a look at the InsideSales.com PowerDialer in relation to a few of the criteria we’ve outlined above.

Automatically Capture Data to CRM

Management wants reps to gather more data, but sales reps are notoriously allergic to things that take their time.

In some ways, they are right. Do you want them to spend 10 minutes writing up notes on a 5-minute call? Could they be setting another appointment if they were back on the phone?

A power dialer automatically captures all of the meta data surrounding each cold call your reps make.

Having this information – number of rings until pickup, time of day a call is answered, day of week a contact is reached, etc. – make the analytics function more intelligent and accurate. What’s more, you can record calls and store them along with the lead record. This way, it is easy for a rep to access the most accurate records relevant to the lead instantly.

Automatic data capture to CRM lets reps make more cold calls, which is what they really want to do.

Automated Workflow

If reps make more cold calls and talk to more people, they make more sales. Simple, right? Sales automation allows reps and managers to do more by reducing the time it takes to make calls, leave voicemails and send email messages.

Let’s say reps manually enter numbers from a list before making a cold call and that it takes about 10 seconds per number. That may not seem like much, but if a rep makes 52 calls a day, those 10 seconds turn into more than 8 minutes. In a month, that becomes 3 hours.

InsideSales.com PowerDialer is built on click-to-call technology. Reps make cold calls, send SMS messages, schedule future call-backs and leave pre-recorded voicemails all with a simple click of their cursor.

Many reps avoid leaving voicemails because the time it takes to leave a message creates a huge time sink. Not to mention, after about 30 voicemails, enthusiasm and energy aren’t at their peak. Automated voicemails mean consistent, quality messages that take only seconds to leave.

Managers can also guide reps by crafting email templates they can share with their team. To send an email prior to a cold call, reps can simply select that option from the dialer, and choose which template they’d like. No more cutting-and-pasting or rewriting emails.

Call Prioritization

While the more-calls-equals-more-sales model holds true, it’s not just about dialing more numbers, it’s about dialing the right numbers.

PowerDialer, when enhanced with NeuralView, prioritizes lists so reps focus their time on the prospects who are most likely to pick up the phone and begin their buying journey.

You can measure prioritization in two ways:

  • Likelihood to contact
  • Likelihood to close

You may have prospects in your lists who are very likely to purchase from you. But if your reps make a cold call when those prospects happen to be out of the office, and only make one or two contact attempts, you lose an excellent opportunity.

The PowerDialer will solve this problem. The application analyzes information about a prospect in the context of trillions of external data points related to the sales process, and then assigns each prospect a score out of 100. The higher the number, the more likely they are to close.

Additionally, PowerDialer powered by NeuralView shuffles prospects to the top of a rep’s list according to the likelihood that they will answer their phone at any given moment.

This prioritization is refreshed hourly.

LocalPresence

When your phone rings and the call is from a toll-free number, how likely are you to answer it?

What if the call is from a local number?

Contact rates increase by 38% when reps are using a local phone number. Additionally, operating with local numbers creates a virtual presence in any market.

Of course, owning large amounts of local numbers your reps can call through is expensive. One way around this is to let someone else carry the bill.

InsideSales.com owns local numbers from all across the country. Customers operate through InsideSales.com’s proprietary numbers when they use PowerDialer with LocalPresence.

This feature help reps cold call more people. It also grants managers greater insight into information regarding geo-targeted tracking metrics. If teams begin to notice a higher contact or conversion rate with people in Texas, they may want to prioritize all prospects from that area.

Immediate Response

The Internet has left us all with shorter attention span and less patience. This why mmediate response to a lead call can make or break your deals. A sales rep is 100 times more likely to get a prospect on the phone if the initial call is made within five minutes from the time the prospect submitted the web form, versus 30 minutes later, according to the 2013 Lead Response Report from InsideSales.com.

According to the same study, the average first call response time of all companies that responded by phone was 40 hours and 56 minutes. Moreover, of the companies reviewed, 60 percent eventually responded to the leads submitted compared with just 27 percent last year.

4. Executing the New Cold Call

Once you’ve got all the right technology in place, you’ll still need to make sure your sales team understands how to make cold calls effectively and efficiently so the qualified leads can turn into sales. Here’s a few cold calling scripts and tips to help:

The Cold Call Template From Michael Pedone

Hi {Prospect’s Name}, this is {Your Name} with {Your Company}.

I’m calling because I have an idea on how to possibly help you avoid {specifics of common pain} and wanted to see if it would make sense for us to have a quick conversation to find out more. I can be reached at {Your Number}.

Again, my name is {Your Name} with {Your Company} at {Your Number}.

Thanks, {Prospect’s Name}.

The Referral Template From Michael Pedone

Hi {Prospect’s Name}, this is {Your Name} with {Your Company}.

I was speaking with {Referral Name} over at {Referral’s Company Name} regarding how we helped him/her reduce {common pain/concern} and he/she mentioned that I should give you a call to get your opinion on this strategy. I can be reached at {Your Number}.

Again, my name is {Your Name} with {Your Company} at {Your Number}.

Thanks, {Prospect’s Name}.

The Competition Template From Michael Pedone

Hi {Prospect’s Name}, this is {Your Name} with {Your Company}.

We recently helped {Competitor 1}, {Competitor 2} and {Competitor 3} avoid {common pain} while at the same time {desired benefit} and wanted to see if this might be something you would possibly be interested in knowing a little more about as well. I can be reached at {Your Number}.

Again, my name is {Your Name} with {Your Company} at {Your Number}.

5. Don’t Forget Email

Sales prospecting is no longer a one-channel approach. Reps can’t expect to use phones exclusively and still be successful. Email is the most effective means of contacting prospects both in the office and outside of work. A whopping 87% of executives self-report as likely to respond to email.

However, it may surprise you to learn that many reps remain ineffective when it comes to email prospecting.

Email tracking technology can change that.

Traditional email prospecting only provides useful information when a prospect responds. Until then, reps and managers don’t have a lot of information.

Sales email tracking shows reps and managers whether or not prospects are reading emails and engaging with content.

Every email sent is an opportunity to place a marker with a prospect. The marker can then track engagement from that point forward.

With the InsideSales.com Vision application, reps know in real time:

  1. When someone opened an email
  2. Which of your prospects clicked a link
  3. When a prospect visits their website and how long prospects viewed specific pages
  4. Which attachments are most successful based on downloads
  5. If an email was forwarded, and to whom
  6. Which content is most effective

Consider the benefits of tracking this information in real-time. Just like with Immediate Response, you could swiftly respond to buying signals and with integrated telephony. Your quick response will result in greater conversions.

Managers can see what kinds of emails and offers lead to better engagement. With that information, you can design future templates for improved results.

The Cold Calling Techniques of the Future

All in all, sales teams can engage prospects and convert them into customers with better cold calling tactics. By adding sales acceleration technology to your prospecting process, you can shorten the sales cycle and drive revenue growth.

Cold calling and sales prospecting often seem like  intimidating tasks, but with the right technology and the right team, you can consistently crush your numbers.

For more specifics about Vision and some sample email templates, download our free ebook here.