25 tips for more effective cold calling
Read this blog for tips on how organizations can improve how their contact center agents make cold calls.
The Team at CallMiner
March 31, 2022
Sales processes have welcomed a sea of change in the last few years, culminating in a mad dash for digital dominance and personalization throughout 2021. The fervent use of AI to gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly chaotic market has spurred other organizations to up their ambitions as we head into 2022. From sales process automation to sales reps’ roles shifting in significant ways, it seems that sales as a business concern and multifaceted skill set will continue to evolve in coming years.
It seems clear that more and more sales professionals will embrace automation techniques to free up additional time for more personalized sales strategies, aligning their outreach with the goals and interests of their individual leads to a far greater extent than ever before. This is likely to be most evident where strictly non-sales activities are concerned, including data entry, research, etc. Most of all, emerging buyer interests and habits will need to be addressed to ensure success in the long run.
New buyer behavior has risen to the forefront in the wake of the pandemic, sparking a new wave of business practices to gain favor and momentum among them. McKinsey reports just how much of an influence recent events have had on buyers everywhere, leading them to not only shift their purchasing habits, but the very beliefs that drive them.
Each of the following behaviors will need to be evaluated by sales professionals to ensure they are focusing on the same things their leads are.
Leveraging conversation intelligence software and sales intelligence software, such as the CallMiner platform, enables organizations to sentiment analysis for customers and prospects and gain valuable unsolicited feedback from every interaction.
By learning about these, you can sleuth out the motivators behind your buyer's purchasing decisions and leverage customer data to find better ways to serve them.
To help with some the heavy lifting in this area, we have compiled a few of the best examples and tips on the topic of setting sales goals below. Take your time with each of these to determine where in your current sales process they can be implemented for maximum effect.
1. Leverage conversation analytics to gain valuable customer insights and improve sales effectiveness. “Even the most mundane customer and prospect conversations can be a goldmine of insights. A prospect’s tone, word choice and responses to your questions can reveal their emotions and motivations during sales calls. But herein lies the challenge: Your team doesn’t have the time to manually monitor and review every single inbound and outbound sales conversation that get recorded, even if you have analytics tools and data analysts within your organization. Conversation analytics can help enterprise sales and BDR teams automatically analyze these interactions at scale using artificial intelligence (AI) – in real-time or post-interaction – to help shorten sales cycles and drive more wins.” - The Closer’s Ultimate Guide to Sales Conversation Analytics, CallMiner; Twitter: @CallMiner
2. Make sure your sales reps know their product and their audience. "Having a well-informed sales team is absolutely essential for the sales experience and actually driving more sales." - Francesca Nicasio, 10 Tips to Help You Meet (and Beat) Your Retail Sales Targets, Vend; Twitter: @vendhq, @francescaSN
3. Sometimes, elbow grease is the missing ingredient. "The salespeople who hit their target are those who work harder and push further, whereas the ones who struggle to hit sales targets are those who end up pointing their fingers and blaming other factors." - Daniel Disney, How To Hit Your Sales Target With ONE Week Left!, Sales Hacker; Twitter: @SalesHacker
4. Sales goals should be personal, sales-call related, account focused or territorial. "There are four different levels of goals that salespeople must establish to maximize sales effectiveness: personal goals-what one wants to accomplish relative to oneself; sales call goals-the priorities that are set out to be accomplished during a specific call; account goals-the objectives relative to each individual account; territory goals-what is to be accomplished for the overall territory." - Ingram Professional Selling Module Summary, Cengage Learning South-Western; Twitter: @CengageLearning
5. Weekly goals can get results as readily as long-term ones. "For the reps selling a product with a short sales cycle, where the decision from a prospect is almost immediate in terms of whether they’re going to buy or not, break your larger goal down into smaller, more specific weekly goals." - Examples of SMART Goals for Sales Reps to Dominate 2020, Spotio; Twitter: @getspotio
6. Make your sales team aware of their importance in your organization’s plans. - "When they know why you set the goals you did, how you determined the incentive structure, and their team's progress toward larger goals, your sales team becomes part of the wider sales process at your organization." - Marina Fishman, , Copper; Twitter: @CopperInc
7. Smaller sales goals are great momentum builders. "Hold your reps accountable to smaller weekly or monthly goals, and you’ll increase the likelihood they’ll meet their bigger number. [...] Smaller goals let your reps build confidence with incremental wins." - Meg Prater, 9 Steps to Setting Smarter Sales Goals, HubSpot; Twitter: @HubSpot, @Meg_Prater
8. Make positive progress public, visible and highly rewarded. "Give Positive Reinforcement. When setting sales goals and encouraging your team to meet these goals, it's far more effective to reward good results than to punish negative results. [...] It is worthwhile to have a 75-inch TV in a visible area of your sales floor that has a countdown to quarterly and yearly sales goals." - Forbes Business Development Council, Achieve Sales Goals With These 14 Tips From Biz Dev Leaders, Forbes; Twitter: @Forbes
9. Structure your goals clearly and align them with your reps’ interests for best results. "To ensure that a bigger share of your sales team can reach or exceed their goals, make sure you: Create a single source of 'company truth' All sales teams typically have 'stars' that consistently perform well but with a consistent, well-structured goal setting and visual monitoring of performance, you can boost the overall performance level of the entire team and increase the share of sales reps that reach their goals. [...] One thing worth highlighting is that company goals are typically the sum of business area goals but never the sum of personal sales rep goals." - Hanna Leena, Maximize Sales in 2021: Top 5 Tips for Better Sales Goals — Dear Lucy, Dear Lucy; Twitter: @dearlucycloud
10. Emphasize giving rather than taking and sleuth out procedural bottlenecks ahead of time. "Give Before You Take – To help increase your chances of getting the sale give first before you ask for it. [...] Look For Blockages – I was working with a sales team this month and spent time with each exec looking at what was stopping them getting sales." - Daniel Disney, 25 Tips To Hit Your Sales Targets, The Daily Sales; Twitter: @TheDailySales
11. Adopt an inbound sales strategy to empower your customers. "'Inbound sales transforms selling to match today’s empowered buyer — so sales reps can sell the way people buy,' writes Mark Roberge for HubSpot. [...] Since your sales process is based on the buyer’s journey, you’ll be able to tell if you have a sales-qualified lead before you pick up the phone." - 7 Pro Tips To Crush Your Sales Goals, Responsive Inbound Marketing; Twitter: @RspnsvInbndMktg
12. Target the right leads and lead into outreach with benefits to them. "In other words, you should nurture and invest your time and money into trying to convert: Prospects with enough money to purchase your product (B) Prospects who have the power to authorize the purchase (A) Prospects whose business problem your product can solve (N) Prospects who have the need for your product right now [...] Your prospects’ pain points should be your starting point; your value proposition will be effective only if you manage to explain how your product will solve these pain points because that’s what your prospects want to hear." - Shawn Finder, Tips for Consistently Crushing Your Sales Goals, Autoklose; Twitter: @autoklose
13. Align training processes with your established goals. "Tying this back to why you should set smarter sales goals and KPIs, setting stretch targets is a tactic often deployed by managers who want their team to reach for the stars, with appropriate rewards when they’re hit. [...] When you set smarter sales goals, or KPIs are agreed, there should be a clear plan around how training can go about helping your team achieve that." - Tips to set smarter sales goals for your team, BMS Performance; Twitter: @BMS_Performance
14. Approach the fourth quarter of each business period with respect for its importance to the completion of your sales goals. "The fourth quarter is not just a vital three-month period to optimize sales performance; it is the closing segment to reaching your annual sales objectives." - Noel Hooban, 4 Sales Tips To Help With a Successful Fourth Quarter, Internal Results; Twitter: @InternalResults
15. Accommodate seasonal sales dips and omnichannel strengths to get more sales. "Increase sales per channel (and test new channels) If you run an omnichannel retail business, setting sales goals to increase sales per channel is a great way to increase your overall revenue. [...] Weekly, you could aim to sell $5,000 worth of product, and on a daily basis you may choose to set individual sales goals for each associate to support your weekly and monthly goals. When setting quarterly goals, keep in mind for many retailers sales peaks and dips are seasonal." - Alexis Damen, Sales Goals: 12 Tips to Set and Achieve Your Retail Sales Objectives (2021), Shopify; Twitter: @Shopify
16. Focusing on existing clients and cross-selling instead of seeking out new leads can be a game changer. "With 70% of sales leaders saying that the length of the sales cycle for new customers is higher than pre-COVID-19 levels, focusing on existing clients is a less time-consuming path to achieving sales goals. [...] Both sales and marketing need to follow their buyers’ lead; they need to align strategies for winning business and reaching sales goals to the way buyers want to solve problems. [...] It’s a missed opportunity if service teams aren’t listening for cues and clues to bring in sales colleagues or jointly working with sales on cross- and upsell approaches on a client-by-client basis." - 5 ways to reach your sales goals this year, Korn Ferry; Twitter: @Korn_Ferry
17. Leverage sales analytics to gain visibility into pipeline health, improve forecasting, and set challenging yet achievable goals for your team. “With CallMiner Sales Conversation Analytics, enterprise and business development sales teams gain real-time and post-interaction intelligence in an easy-to-use, customizable dashboard. Building on existing capabilities found in CallMiner’s Analyze and Coach products, CallMiner Sales Conversation Analytics enables sales executives, directors and supervisors to identify and scale best practices, uncover and act on coaching opportunities, and gain visibility into pipeline health.” - We used our own product for Sales Conversation Analytics, CallMiner; Twitter: @CallMiner
18. Focus on agent attrition rates and make improving these a goal of its own. "SMART goals generally highlight a positive outcome, then give details on how you could achieve this. [...] SMART goal example: 'Increase the average employment time of a salesperson from 6 months to 3 years in the next 10 years by creating a new onboarding program and holding bi-annual performance reviews.'" - Kerry Provenzano, 12 Examples of SMART Goals for Sales Reps to Supercharge Sales, TextExpander; Twitter: @textexpander
19. Boosting win rates makes for a worthy goal that benefits every member of your team. "The finance department, sales team, and the executive team will all collaborate together in order to set sales goals that will foster the company’s growth. [...] If you want to bring the best out of your sales team, then increasing win rates is the best sales goal." - Deskera Content Team, 10 Sales Goal Examples for your Sales Team, Deskera; Twitter: @deskera
20. Set up a contingency plan for your sales reps in the event things take an unexpected turn. "When you develop your initial sales strategy, you should also create a plan that details what actions you will take if something goes wrong – for example, if you lose a key sales rep or you don't meet your sales goal. [...] If you are a new business owner or sales manager, the first and most important thing you must do to determine how you can improve sales is to develop a sales plan." - Kiely Kuligowski, 7 Ways to Improve Your Sales, Business News Daily; Twitter: @BNDarticles
21. Specifically highlight improving relationships between agents and customers as a goal. "Your sales goals should go beyond dollar figures to include the human side of sales—specifically, the relationships between sales agents and customers." - Alex Smithers, 12 smart sales goals for your team, Zendesk; Twitter: @zendesk
22. Make streamlining clerical and loosely related tasks a goal to help your reps succeed. - "Other examples of sales objectives that focus on your team’s capacity are: Cutting the amount of time reps spend on qualifying leads and generating leads (potentially with the help of tools) Setting sales goals and objectives that focus on optimizing your team’s productivity free up their time so they can focus more on selling." - Sales Objectives Examples, Pipedrive; Twitter: @pipedrive
23. Set goals that match your team’s needs and, specifically, match your goals to customer service efforts. "Your first sales goal shouldn’t involve numbers; it should involve your team. Assess and address their capabilities, spot their weaknesses, then involve them in how to set sales goals moving forward. […] This means that if you want to make more sales, you need to set better customer service goals." - Aljaz Fajmut, 7 Sales Goals You Should Set for Your Small Business in 2020, Keap; Twitter: @KeapGrowing, @aljazfajmut
24. Set your sales cycle goals in accordance with optimal performance period constraints. "Ask any business owner what his/her sales goal is, and he is bound to answer- 'to increase sales and revenues.' […] You should be aware of the optimum period of the sales cycle for your business to create a sales cycle goal." - Harshit Jain, Sales Goals Examples for Success in 2022, LeadSquared; Twitter: @LeadSquared
25. Set a general revenue goal to center your smaller, incremental goals for each quarter around. “Increase monthly, quarterly or annual revenue. Increasing revenue is a goal that can apply to your team, department or entire company. As one of the primary sales goals, many other goals are smaller steps toward increasing revenue.” - Sales Goals Examples to Help Your Sales Team Succeed, Indeed; Twitter: @Indeed