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Lee Gladish
Lee Gladish
Co-founder
1 month ago

Should B2B Cold Calling Be In Your Sales Playbook [Expert Interviews]



Experts Reply — Welcome to the fourth feature in our new series, where we invite a panel of leading industry experts to answer Reply customers’ most burning questions relating to growing their businesses.

With more and more B2B companies using cold emails as part of their outbound sales strategy and enjoying the associated growth that this channel brings — when tools such as the Reply app are used, along with quality prospect lists and remarkable email messaging — Many folks in sales are questioning the relevance of cold calling in the modern sales playbook.

So, this week we’ve reached out and asked some of the world’s leading sales experts the following question:

“Should B2B cold calling be part of the modern tech sales playbook?”


I’m delighted to say eight of the world’s leading authorities on sales cold calling generously donated their time, and responded with their thoughts and wisdom.

Grant CardoneBest-Selling AuthorMike ScherFrontline SellingHeidi FortesSales AcceleratorJoel GoldsteinMr. Checkout DistributorsLeanne Hoagland-SmithADVANCED SYSTEMSMichael PedoneSalesBuzz.comLucas HamonOrange Pegs MediaAdam HonigSpiro Technologies

Ready? Let’s hear straight from the Experts…

Grant Cardone

Grant Cardone, Best-Selling Author, International Speaker, CEO of 4 Private Co’s, Real Estate Holdings of $400M, Founder of GCTV, Grant Cardone Sales University, Cardone Training Technologies and Cardone Acquisitions.
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Should B2B cold calling be part of the modern tech sales playbook?

100% — You need to use every vehicle possible.

You want to cover someone up. The golden rule of prospecting is never rely on one form of communication.

Cold calls, warm calls, email, video follow up, texting, audio messages, social media…

EVERYTHING should be your method. 10X your prospecting.

Mike Scher

Mike Scher is the CEO and Co-founder of FRONTLINE Selling. Under Mike’s leadership, FRONTLINE Selling has become the leader in Prospecting Optimization solutions to help sales people get more first appointments with prospects genuinely interested in speaking to them, dramatically increasing sales results. Mike led the development of the company’s Staccato methodology and technology including a study of 1.8 million outreach efforts removing the guesswork salespeople go through about who to contact, when, how, and how often. Prior to founding FRONTLINE Selling, Mike spent 18 years in enterprise software sales. Most of that time was spent at JDEdwards where Mike was a frequent Presidents Club winner.
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Should B2B cold calling be part of the modern tech sales playbook?

It absolutely has to be included. Demand generation is critical and the phone is the most efficient path to connecting with prospects.

Social media and other sales acceleration technology can, and should be, part of the overall sales approach, but cold calling cannot be ignored.

While the widely-spread statistics appear grim, poorly executed cold calling is typically responsible for the lackluster outcomes.

Cold calling has to be done well to be effective, so a structured approach and process should be a required component of any playbook.

When I say a structured process, I mean everything from research protocols and voicemail construction to email subject lines and definitions around frequency and interval of touch points.

The process is a critical component of successful cold calling that is all-too-often overlooked.


“Cold calling is hard — there is no getting around that”


But including an on-going training in the playbook allows managers to continually address challenges, course-correct the wrong behaviors and reinforce the right ones.

With the bounty of ever-increasing marketing and sales messages flooding the inboxes and mobile devices of customers, I predict we will see a gradual shift back to a more personalized sales process.

Those with a well-established, successful cold calling engine will be well ahead of their competitors and poised for success.

Heidi Fortes

Heidi Fortes is CEO and founder of Sales Accelerator, a firm for startups looking to accelerate sales efforts and build sustainable sales organizations. Heidi has honed her technology sales expertise at fortune 500 companies in technology as well as in Silicon Valley. She is an advocate for women in sales and equality, in the ever changing technology landscape.
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Should B2B cold calling be part of the modern tech sales playbook?

Yes. Cold calls are not dead, there are just more options. The magic happens when a balance is struck between email, cold calls and other avenues to formulate an equation for outbound success.

Email will never replace picking up the phone and engaging with a prospect human-to-human. However, cold calling should be one of many sales tactics employed to build a healthy pipe.

A successful outbound effort happens when a skilled sales leader understands their buyers and can make an informed guess on how they prefer to buy – their buying behaviour.

If that is understood it become less of a debate on the effectiveness of cold calling and more about optimizing the outbound strategy to leverage different tactics (cold calls, email, ads etc.) to achieve a formula for success.

Joel Goldstein

Joel Goldstein is the “go-to” person when trying to place a new product into retail. Focused on the retail sector, he is able to advise you where your product will be best received. Joel is a national keynote speaker and the author of “The Ultimate Distribution Guide” a best-selling book on Amazon.com. He has contributed to Entrepreneur, Forbes, Inc. and regularly is used as a retail industry expert on Fox News. With over 10 years of experience working with Mr. Checkout, Joel is the right person to place your products in retail nationwide whether that be independent stores or big box chain retailers.
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Should B2B cold calling be part of the modern tech sales playbook?

In my experience speaking to 30-40 entrepreneurs per week, the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who can pick up the phone and speak to anybody on the other end like they are best friends.

Being able to create an instant rapport with somebody who knew just met is one of the most essential skills in sales.

Following in close second, is the ability to listen and articulate how your product or service can fit the client’s needs.

Being able to render the person on the other side of the phone unable to speak because you’ve inundated them with every statistic and fact about your company is a quick way to lose the sale.

Find a way to structure your script in a way that asks intriguing questions and allows the client to realize that there is a need for the product or service you’re providing.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a clarity strategist with a knack for identifying the real people and process problems keeping SMBs from sustainable sales and business growth. She coaches, writes and speaks about closing the gap between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals for forward thinking leaders.
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Should B2B cold calling be part of the modern tech sales playbook?

Successful cold calling does work for tech leaders provided:

  • There is clarity specific to the definition of cold calling
  • An ideal customer profile including demographics and psychographics has been identified (taken from the written strategic thinking plan)
  • The ideal customer or customers have been researched
  • There is a trigger event or market urgency for the cold call
  • A process exists to make multiple contacts


Years ago I read a cold calling strategy developed by Robert Middleton where the salesperson sent a relevant article (preferably one he or she wrote) weekly for 4 weeks.

The fifth week the cold call prospect received a word processed one page letter with more information about the salesperson along with a time and date the salesperson would call the prospect.

Upon calling if the gatekeeper asked the question:


“Was Mr. or Ms. so and so expecting your call?”


The salesperson can respond with an ethical yes.

Several of my mastermind colleagues employed this “cold calling” strategy and first time meetings met with 25% to 80% overall success rate.

Cold calling can also start with a handwritten note congratulating someone on a local, regional or national achievement.

Google alerts and LinkedIn are great resources.

This from my own personal experience has resulted in a 50% call back by the intended recipient.

As with any marketing/prospecting strategy, crystal clear clarity is required unless the firm enjoys the Captain Wing It role of spraying its actions all over the place and then praying something will stick.

Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone, CEO at SalesBuzz.com — Where they teach salespeople how to reach decision makers on the phone and close new business!
Linkedin

Should B2B cold calling be part of the modern tech sales playbook?

The definition of cold calling is:


“Contacting any prospect that is NOT currently raising their hand”.


So the real question is, should B2B sales people till prospect in the tech field?

You have two choices… either the marketing strategy in place does it’s job of providing fresh, warm inbound leads that sales people contact, qualify, present and close, OR sales people will have to add “prospecting” to their to do list as well.

You can also use the SDR/BDR model where you have less experienced sales reps do the prospecting and the Account Execs do the presenting/closing.

The bigger challenge I see with this type of question is that most of the people that weigh in on a topic have no clue what actual cold calling is.

For example, you may see them advocate that cold-calling is “dead”, and then tell you to use LinkedIn to reach out to a prospect instead.

Nothing wrong with that strategy — I use it myself at times — but it’s still a “cold call” in the sense because the prospect wasn’t “raising their hand” to begin with.

And most sales reps make the same mistake in their “social selling” approach that they did when they used to pick up the phone.

And that’s a big reason why they are still failing to hit their numbers.

Lucas Hamon

Lucas Hamon has over 10 years of successful B2B sales experience working for, and with, a wide array of industries, such as software, consulting, business & tax advisory, staffing, start-ups, high-tech manufacturing, and financial services. Today, as CEO, he oversees operations and continues to lead all sales initiatives for his inbound marketing agency, Orange Pegs Media.
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Should B2B cold calling be part of the modern tech sales playbook?

Yes and no.

Cold calling as we’ve come to know and loathe it has no place in business anymore in my opinion, especially in the modern tech environment where your prospects are expecting cutting edge solutions.

After all, there is NOTHING “cutting edge” about buying a lead list and having your high-turnover biz dev team throw everything they can at it in hopes that something sticks.

I spent 10 years pounding the phones myself, and it wasn’t volume that contributed to my success, but rather, it was finding the less-beaten path that put me in the front of the pack.

There was a big chunk of time where that path was in social media, particularly LinkedIn. But even THAT has changed, as it’s being over-run by people who are using it to cold call, while packaging it as “social selling”.


“Yes, cold calling still does and will continue to work to an extent”.


That’s why people still do it.

However, it continues to get harder and harder, and there are better options out there, including some that have long-term residual value.

For one, businesses can invest in inbound marketing, and turn their websites into lead generation machines.

They can also find monitoring tools that help uncover other businesses that are looking at your website, so when you do decide to reach out first, you at least have an idea that they are interested in services like yours.

And if you’re savvy enough to track down the people who look like they would be the probable visitors based on title and responsibilities, you can use that knowledge of them searching your site to spark a conversation.

In this case, there is JUST enough cold to make it okay in my opinion.

Adam Honig

Adam Honig is the co-founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a natural sales leader with a mission to help salespeople make more money using artificial intelligence — or any sort of intelligence for that matter. Adam has been a founder of four companies which resulted in two triumphant IPOs and two legendary mergers.
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Should B2B cold calling be part of the modern tech sales playbook?

As a general rule, everything should be on the table. For goodness sake, I have clients who use high end direct mail to generate great returns.

Everything should be tested, measured and determined how well it’s working against other alternatives.

That being said, stone cold calling — without any campaigning behind it — is unlikely to beat other methods.

Well written cold emails, social outreach or other modern campaigning techniques have been proven to improve ROI and response rates.

We recently published a blog Tips on Warming Up Your Cold Calls that gives some pointers on how to make your cold calls a bit less chilly.

For more sales tips, download our eBook, The 44 Best Sales Tips Ever.

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Should B2B cold calling be part of the modern tech sales playbook?

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