How To Cold Call Your Way Up To A $1.6m Pipeline

Is cold calling dead? We don’t think so, so we decided to put it to the test using a predictive dialer. See the results here!

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In this article:

  1. Introduction
  2. Is Cold Calling Dead?
  3. Cold Calling Lead Generation: Predictive Sales Technology
  4. Why Modern Sales Reps Are Neglecting Cold Calling Techniques
  5. How to Encourage Sales Reps to Learn How to Cold Call Better
  6. Cold Calling Is NOT Dead
  7. Conclusion

The Cold Calling Experiment – Building Up Your Sales Leads


Why cold calling still works—this was the subject of a heated debate we had with Mario Martinez from Vengreso.

During our webinar, we discussed which method is better to build a quality pipeline fast: cold calling vs digital prospecting via social media, email, or LinkedIn. Things got a little heated, so we decided to put our cold calling to the test.

We wanted to see how many appointments and how many pipelines we could generate by cold-calling using a predictive dialer.

We had our sales development representatives call thousands of leads. They spoke to cold prospects and gave them an idea of what XANT is all about.

For this week, we drew the line to see the results.

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Is Cold Calling Dead?

Cold calling has always been an intimidating method of working a lead.

You basically pick up the phone and call a prospect to deliver a sales pitch about your service or product. The prospect has never heard of your company and doesn’t know who you are or what you do.

It’s what ‘old-school’ sales reps do and what new, digitally-savvy marketers would say is a waste of time and a sure-fire way to annoy your leads.

We think cold calling is NOT dead, and it still has better results than contacting prospects via social media, or email, or anything else, so we put our theory to the test.

It might seem like a lot, but the truth is, their efforts were rewarded times ten:

  • Our sales reps had 632 meaningful conversations with prospects. This means 5.08% of all cold calls turn into meaningful conversations, which is a great rate and certainly better than email, which sits at 1-3%.
  • They set 64 appointments with their leads, and 70% of appointments held.
  • Out of the appointments that held, about 50% turned into opportunities

…and this is how they built $1.68 million in sales pipeline over five days!

This has been an amazing experiment to show the power of cold-calling in the age of digital sales and marketing campaigns.

The phone still works, and here at XANT, we are big proponents of picking up the phone and calling your leads.

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RELATED: Cold Calling Secrets: How To Eliminate Fear, Failure, And Rejection

Cold Calling Lead Generation: Predictive Sales Technology

Now, something can be said about our cold calling strategy.

You can’t just pick up the phone and blindly call people. Our team used an Artificial Intelligence-powered sales dialer, which means they had a smart lead scoring system to guide them to the best leads only.

Cold Calling 101 – The basics you need to cold call properly:

  • A list should be clean, well-targeted, and accurate before you begin cold-calling.
  • Sales reps need to know your sales pitch by heart and avoid stumbling when talking to decision-makers.
  • You need an awesome predictive dialer system for lead scoring that allows sales reps to get to the most valuable leads first, rather than gut-guessing who their targets should be.
  • Make sure your dialer can suggest the correct phone numbers for targets, using predictive functions.
  • Have a LocalPresence system that displays a local phone number, increasing your chances of prospects answering the phone.
  • Make sure you have a click-to-call system so your reps don’t manually dial a phone number. This one is a no-brainer, and the technology has been around for a while, so there’s no reason not to use it.

Cold calling has changed since the age of the Rolodex. Make sure your tech stack can keep up with the needs of modern salespeople.

Why Modern Sales Reps Are Neglecting Cold Calling Techniques

There are many reasons why sales reps are hesitant about picking up the phone to get their leads. Here are three of them:

1. Cold Calling Has No Shortcuts

Cold calling is a numbers game. Only about 5% of the calls sales reps make are going to lead to a productive conversation, which is why reps have to make more calls.

The level of hard work required to get results is the reason why people think it’s an ineffective way of connecting with leads. Still, the numbers show that cold calling is still a pretty effective way of getting leads, so it’s worth it.

Unfortunately, these results don’t come easy. Plus, it doesn’t help that people think of cold calls as nuisance calls.

Nonetheless, if a sales rep is serious about reaching potential customers, cold calling is the way to go. It definitely shouldn’t be left out of the conversation.

2. They Think Cold Calling Is Ineffective

Another reason why sales reps might not be using cold sales calls to reach their potential clients is they think it’s ineffective in producing results.

Cold calling success is more likely to happen than other means of cold contact with leads. If you want to motivate reps to start cold calling, you’ll have to convince them it brings results.

3. They Don’t Have a Solid Cold Call List

Sales reps need to figure out how to make their own client base for sales prospecting. This part is important when it comes to developing stronger calling techniques.

A possible reason why sales reps aren’t actively cold calling is they may not know who are the right people to contact. Poor prospecting and development of cold call lists can affect the results of your cold calling efforts negatively.

This is why it’s a must that you develop a good cold call list to supplement any calling techniques you have.

How to Encourage Sales Reps to Learn How to Cold Call Better

1. Develop and Optimize Your Cold Calling Scripts

Your calling scripts should be solid enough to be used for different types of calls without appearing too stiff or robotic. It should also be able to adapt to any situation easily enough.

Remind sales reps that sales scripts are just a roadmap to guide you where your call is supposed to go, but they shouldn’t rely on it too much. Sales scripts are also meant to be checked and optimized regularly.

2. Remember to Try and Get to the Decision Makers

Another thing to remind reps is to avoid wasting time and effort by making sure they’re talking to the decision-maker of a company. These are the people who can give a yes or no on whether or not they can purchase your product or service.

3. Master How to Deal with Cold Calling Rejection

Given the low 5% rate of cold calls that lead to success, knowing how to deal with rejection is an important skill for sales reps to develop. It can be disheartening, but sales leaders can train them on how to handle rejection and keep pushing forward.

One way you can do this is to incorporate rejections into the sales scripts, so they’ll be prepared to handle them once they come.

Cold Calling Is NOT Dead

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Some sales reps think that digital sales are now the new big thing and that cold calling is dead. But after seeing the results of this experiment, I just don’t buy it.

Don’t ever contact leads directly on social media, thinking you have no shot of getting to them over the phone. You are wrong, and if done right, the phone still works today.

Cold calling is the single most effective sales strategy you have today to build a pipeline without complex marketing strategies that take weeks to put together or without creating content.

Granted, sales reps have to put in a lot of work to make sure it is successful.

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I have news for you — nobody is ever thrilled to receive a phone call from cold callers.

Even using a predictive sales technology stack, our numbers show you need to make 19.7 calls before you land ONE meaningful conversation with a prospect. To set just one appointment for a meeting with an account executive, SDRs need to ramp up 194.6 calls.

Cold calling is hard work, and you can see why sales professionals are quick to shy away from the phone and say, “it just doesn’t work anymore.”

It’s your job to show them why they needed your cold calling solution yesterday and how it solves their problems. We’ll be starting a social selling experiment soon to see how results compare to this one, so stay tuned for more!

What do you think about cold calling and how effective it is? Let us know in the comments section below.

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How We Built $1.6m In Pipeline Just By Cold Calling

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 22, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy. 

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