Effective strategies for cold and warm calling

Amid all our digital sales communication (emails, social media and content), cold and warm calling remains a critical part of your overall outbound sales cadence.

Cold calling

The main purpose of the cold call is not to sell something, but rather to make a future appointment for a customer discovery or demo.

What to cover

In a typical cold approach, it’s important to:

  • Identify yourself, your role and who you represent
  • Have an opening statement or question
  • Describe the pain point
  • Deliver the value proposition
  • Provide references from pleased customers
  • Ask for an appointment

You can customize this sample cold call script to fit your needs:

Hi (name of prospect),

This is (your first name) with (company). You and I haven’t spoken before, but (we’ve/I’ve) been working with (e.g., colleagues in your industry) since (e.g., “our company started three years ago”).

One of the chief concerns I’ve been hearing lately from other (e.g., marketing executives) is their frustration with (the pain point).

We’ve been able to help our customers deal with these issues. For example, we have helped (e.g., one or two companies like yours) by (your value proposition), which has resulted in (e.g., a decrease in CRM costs of 15% on average).

I would like to have just 15 minutes of your time to see how you solve (e.g., more economical CRM systems) and how we could help you.

Do you have time later today?

The approach in the script above works because it connects with a pain point and resonates with the target customer’s need. It also provides social validation through references, which makes the customer more confident in you. The ask is small, and you are not looking for a sale, just a short amount of time and the chance to develop a personal relationship. Remember, the goal of the approach is not to sell the product but to book the next meeting.

How to develop your cold-calling lists

Having a large number of individuals to call is the other critical component of a successful cold-calling campaign, given the low ratio of meetings booked to calls made. Typically, out of 100 calls, two or three appointments are actually secured. The primary source of names to call is generally third-party lists, which have contact information for individuals and functions within the industry you are targeting. It’s also important to prioritize the individuals on that list by comparing them to current customers: To increase the meeting booking rate, identify those prospects who most look like your customers.

Prioritizing cold calling

Cold calling is probably not at the top of most people’s fun list, but it remains a critical component of today’s outbound programs. Cold calling in an organization is typically done by a sales development or business development rep and is their primary, full-time focus.

Warm calling

Where cold calling is based on reaching out to someone who has not heard of your company before, warm calling involves contacting those prospects who have expressed some interest in your company’s products or services.

What to cover

Cold calling is driven by a common script, but warm calling is driven by the information you already know about a potential customer’s interest. Before each call, research needs to be conducted about the prospect, based on what has been learned about them so far. This information is typically kept in the customer relationship management (CRM) system and contains all points of interaction with the customer, from prior conversations all the way through to the types of content they have downloaded from the website.

How to develop your warm-calling lists

While cold calling is an exercise in volume, the strategy in warm calling is prioritization. That means calling those customers who have the greatest chance of agreeing to a meeting, typically chosen based on a scoring system in the CRM. If a customer visits your site and downloads a piece of content, this is a good indication of interest, and a timely follow-up call may result in a booked meeting.

Gradual improvement

For both cold and warm calling, it is critical to learn and improve over time. One way to do so is to document everything that can be learned from customer interactions in the customer record in the CRM. Review this information regularly to update call scripts, content and other materials as more and more interactions occur. From this hard work, your ratio of calls to meetings booked will eventually improve.