On average, sales development reps (SDRs) must make 9.1 sales calls before they connect with a lead. Each connection is valuable, and a lot needs to happen in those first crucial moments of cold calling:
The SDR must do some relating, and get the prospect to like them.
The SDR needs to effectively communicate value to earn more of the prospect’s time.
The SDR must ask good, open-ended discovery questions to qualify the prospect.
The SDR must stay on brand and use the correct messaging.
The SDR is expected to take good notes.
The SDR needs to be enthusiastic.
The SDR should sound natural, and not robotic.
This may seem easy for a seasoned salesperson, but for your average entry-level SDR, they can be very hard. The solution? Sales reps should be prepared with a cold call script.
“Wait!! Won’t a script make me or my team sound like robots??”
Yep, they will, which is why you need to follow Lauren Bailey’s advice and treat them as talking points mixed with coaching. Scripts don’t create robotic reps if you write and use them correctly.
Great salespeople are great improvisers. Not only do they know the best time to call prospects, they can also do all of the things I mentioned above in a single phone call, every single time. You may think it is because they are experienced, but the truth is, it is because they are well prepared. They use a script as talking points, like a roadmap or guide, and then they follow the prospect’s lead so the conversation flows naturally.
Scripts are to salespeople what scales are to jazz artists. Great jazz improvisers like Miles Davis or John Coltrane honed their ability to improvise amazing music with HOURS of practicing musical scales. Every time they enter the studio to record, they are prepared with a roadmap of knowledge that guides their decision making.
A great cold call script has many benefits:
To develop your cold call script, you’ll first need to consider your buyers, their needs, and how your product or service helps them. Then, follow the basic elements to build the template.
Every cold call script contains the same basic elements: a greeting/introduction, a pitch/value proposition, qualification, and an ask. Like any good story, a script should also consider who, what, where, and when.
Cold call scripts are not one-size-fits-all. Your script must be tailored to your buyers, their needs, and why they will purchase from you. Begin by identifying the ultimate goal of your call. Is it to schedule a qualifying call, place a demo, or is it a follow-up?
Next, look the prospects you will be calling with the script and compare them with your current customer list. Look for similar products, industries, or use cases. Structure your script around what will get the prospect’s attention, pain points they are likely experiencing, or other ways they can benefit from your product or service.
Cold call scripts typically follow the same format:
Introduction – Your greeting… who you are and the company you are calling from.
The Immediate value you have to offer – The benefit you provide to your prospect.
Qualifying – Determine if the person on the other end of the phone is a good fit.
The ask – ask for more time to have another call or do a demo.
Begin with you who are and where you are calling from. This should be accomplished as quickly and concisely as possible. The introduction is also where you can ask how the prospect is, or if it is a good time to talk.
The pitch is where you describe how exactly speaking with you will help the person on the other end of the phone. Quickly cover how your product has benefited similar companies or roles, and what your prospect stands to gain.
Ensure the prospect is worth selling to with two or three specific questions. They can cover company size, technology stack, or other product requirements. When asking the questions, don’t make it all about you. Frame them in a way that still provides value to the prospect.
Also, be prepared for objections. Gather a list of common objections along with how to respond to them. You don’t want your reps to get tripped up on these potential roadblocks prospects might through in their path.
Finally, the whole reason you made the call in the first place. Your ask is a request to move to the next step the sales process, it can be a discovery call, a demo, or just a simple conversation. If your prospect meets your qualification requirements, make the request to schedule the next step.
Once you have your call script, A/B test one aspect at a time to refine and improve it.
1. Start by designating what element you want to test.
2. Create a “B” version of the selected element. Now you have an “A” version of your script and a “B” version. The only variance is the wording of one sentence.
3. Either have the same rep do half of their calls with script “A” and the other half with script “B” or divide your sales team in half and assign one with “A” and the other half with “B”.
4. Record the calls and document the outcomes.
5. Analyze the data to determine which version netted the best results.
6. Then, repeat the testing process with another element.
You’ll want to test every element, one at a time to make it better. And don’t forget to test the part used with gatekeepers. If you don’t perfect that script the rest won’t matter because your team won’t be speaking to as many decision makers and will be dropping more voicemails.
After refining your cold call script, record a team member successfully using it and share the recording and written script with all your reps.
Of course, like all sales practices, scripts should be retested and updated on a routine basis to remain relevant as buyers, markets and products continually evolve to ensure they’re consistently producing excellent results.
Alex Lamascus is the Sales Content Manager at RingDNA. He has previously scaled and managed an inside sales team and has supported B2B sales in various industries for the past 5 years. When not writing or buried in the latest sales book, he can be found repairing vintage turntables in his garage or honing his grilling skills.