Cold Calling: Motivate Your Sales Team to Achieve Record Profits

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To say that cold calling is one of the most dreaded parts of the sales process is an understatement. Many think of it as the red-headed stepchild of inside sales: neglected, unwanted, and often despised. Though it’s really a diamond in the rough. There was a movement to get rid of it altogether a few years ago with Sales 2.0. Its basic premise is that interruptive selling, particularly cold calling, is becoming less effective in creating sales, and that Web tools, inbound marketing, and social media are better. While those tools do help, and have their place in the sales process, absolutely nothing can replace cold calling. Uber credits its fast growth to nothing other than basic cold calling. The company reached 17B in value in just five years. In fact, The CEO of Uber promotes this method of getting business: just pick up the phone and dial!

A study in RainToday concluded that cold calling is only second to referrals as the number one lead generation tactic. Despite facts about cold calling, many companies still avoid it. And even if they’re for it, it’s difficult to motivate sales reps to do it. So how do you motivate sales reps to want to do cold calling. It’s much easier for managers to achieve success if they are not constantly fighting against streams of negative energy. There are several ways to motivate sales reps to be successful at cold calling.

Acquire and Distribute Targeted Leads

Just because your sales reps are cold calling doesn’t mean they have to shoot in the dark. The old-school method of picking a random contact from the yellow pages is passé. It’s simply not an effective way to get sales, and the lack of suitable prospects will deflate your sales team’s motivation. After all, if the prospect has no need for your product or service, the rest is pointless. You wouldn’t want them trying to sell remodeling to a janitorial service. Do some research and target your list before distributing it to sales reps. Define your list to target prospects most likely to buy your product.

An easy way to distribute leads is through an effective sales CRM software with progressive dialing and queue-based routing. You can send all sales reps the next-best lead through a queued routing system and a headset, enabling them to create momentum, by getting the next best lead as a pop up as soon as the current call is finished. This ensures that reps aren’t cherry picking leads that have little chance for success, and also speeds up the dialing process.

Prepare Ahead of Time with Logical Branch Scripting

Your sales pitch to prospects is more of a science than an art, contrary to the belief of many inside sales managers. This means that if you say the same things to prospects every time, you’re likely to get predictable results. That’s where dynamic scripting comes in. Through VanillaSoft’s logical branch scripting you can take scripts from top performers that have previously produced the most sales, and have them guide all sales reps on your team. Managers can build branches in the scripts to successfully handle different sales objections so sales reps don’t try to wing it, and are never at a loss for the right thing to say for different sales situations.

Logical branch scripting takes the sting out of cold calling by decreasing the awkwardness of trying to sell to prospects and increasing the likelihood of success. Sales reps who use it feel more confident and prepared, because they have a tried and true way to handle objections.

Start with a Positive Attitude

Before sales reps start a new call, they need to be in the right frame of mind. Many people bring their personal lives to work with them, and if they’re not positive, it will affect performance. When reps feel good about their jobs, sales will follow. Train your sales reps to be positive before making a call, because just like yawning, attitudes are contagious. If the sales rep is pessimistic it will be evident in the tone of the sales call and the prospect will pick up on it and most likely be uninterested. The prospect will hear the sales rep’s lack of enthusiasm and energy in every word. Of course, you can always tell sales reps to be positive, but actually being positive for some may take practice.

So how do you overcome this? There is a physiology to optimism. Your attitude, body and mind are connected. If your body is slumped; if you’re frowning; if you’re feeling down; that physiology will be reflected in your attitude. Here are some tips to help sales reps stay positive during sales calls:

  • Pep Rallies – Start the day with positive affirmations to pep up sales reps before making calls
  • Smile and Dial – Smiling during a call will promote positivity that prospects will pick up on
  • Good Posture – Sit up or stand when making calls. This injects energy and vitality into the conversation
  • Use a Headset – Freedom in movement helps sales reps express themselves easier
  • Take Regular Breaks – Sales reps need breaks to clear their head and renew energy

Have Goals and Sales Will Follow

The saying that sales is a numbers game is especially true for cold calling. More calls = more sales. Define goals for your inside sales team. Keep track of how many calls your sales team completes compared to how many sales you acquire over a given time to measure your success rate.

Cold calling on average yields close to a six percent success rate. You should expect close to this average for your team. To determine if your team is performing optimally, take the amount of calls your sales rep makes per day and the number of days, and divide by the number of customers sold. For example, if a rep makes 80 calls, five days a week and closes 24 customers, the success rate equals 6%. The equation is 24 customers divided by 400 calls equals 6 percent success rate.

Let sales reps know what you expect of them, and even go a bit higher, because sometimes when you tell reps the exact number you’re looking for you may fall short. Of course, you must start with a reasonable expectation in order to achieve success. If you tell them you want a 6% success rate, some may not reach it. However, if you tell them the goal is 8% when you really want 6%, you’re more likely to get more sales reps to reach 6%, and some will achieve 8% or higher. It’s all about raising performance by setting higher expectations. But don’t set goals that are unrealistically unreachable, because you will demotivate your team. Be sure to monitor your sales rep’s performance on a regular basis. An easy way to keep track of your sales results is to run reports with an automated sales CRM software.

Make Cold Calling Easier with Automation

You’ve probably heard this from time to time: “cold calling is hard.” That doesn’t mean it has to be that way. Automation is one of the ways to make it easier. According to a recent study by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), automation will boost the morale of sales reps. Let’s face it, no one likes doing simple, repetitive tasks over and over again. When the tedious tasks in your team’s operations are handled by an automated sales CRM system, it energizes sales reps and increases momentum by relieving them from the pain and drain from completing these tasks. Sales reps can concentrate more on higher-level thinking skills that will help them communicate with prospects and close sales.


Some of the repetitive tasks that sales CRM systems like VanillaSoft can help with are auto dialing, email marketing, nurturing, and voice drop. When sales reps have systems that dial the next lead for them, send automated emails from templates between calls, instantly leave a prerecorded voice messages, and schedule and remind them of call backs at the right time, it saves time and effort, enabling them to operate at their full potential.

Rewards Drive Results

An effective way to keep your inside sales reps motivated to sell is to reward their accomplishments. Everyone wants to feel appreciated. Besides compensation and bonuses, rewards are the best way to do this. There are many ways to reward your sales team, such as contests for cash, prizes, days off, etc. The best way to find out what your sales team likes is to ask. What works for some may not work for others, so a general consensus may be necessary. You can even give sales reps a choice of rewards for achievement. For example, maybe the top performing rep or team with the highest sales for the week gets to choose a gift card, afternoon off, or concert tickets.


Other types of rewards for your sales team are passive rewards. Passive rewards are not tied to an accomplishment, but just show appreciation for your sales reps efforts. Things like free snacks and drinks in the break room help sales reps stay energetic and give them something to look forward to, especially if they’re not having a good day. Some sales managers pass out Hershey’s kisses at random times during the week. But passive rewards don’t have to be just food, you could have massage Mondays, or tell-a-joke Thursdays. The idea is to get imaginative. Maybe your team can play games or have a movie during lunch hour. The bottom line is to keep your sales team positive, especially if they’re not doing well. Passive rewards give them something to look forward to. Think of it like the theory of random acts of kindness: they create a contagious positive ripple effect that will spread throughout your team and prospects to help motivate reps to work more productively and drive results.

Still the One

So despite the latest sales crazes, the marketing innovations, and lack of enthusiasm, cold calling is still the one to help your sales team produce record profits. With these tips, hopefully you can motivate your team to sell more with a smile, and challenge themselves to achieve more, seeing that cold calling is a way to greater success, and a jewel in inside sales.