The Ultimate CMO Cold Calling Script: Book Meetings With CMOs
By: Binal Raval
Cold Calling, Scripts
It’s another day at your desk.
You’re ready to start making some calls.
You look at your prospecting list. You’ve got to reach out to a CMO or marketing leader.
But you’re thinking:
“Ah, no! I don’t know how to talk to marketers! I’m a salesperson, what do I know about marketing? What if they answer and I freeze on the phone?”
Here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Talking to CMOs can become a walk in the park!
Because all you need is a killer cold calling script.
We spoke to:
- Cognism’s CMO Alice de Courcy.
- Cognism’s SDRs Jack Harber and Lewis Johnson.
- Cognism’s subject-matter-expert Ryan Reisert.
They gave us some great insights on cold calling CMOs.
So, keep reading, and you’ll find out all you need to know 👇
How to research CMOs
Before even picking up the phone, it’s important to understand who you’re talking to.
“If you don’t do your research, you’ll be fighting a losing battle. You need to say things that are going to resonate with your prospects. So this phase is a no-brainer.”
We asked Alice and our SDRs on what else the research phase entails.
Research and understand common pain points
We’re sure you’re no stranger to the importance of offering value as an SDR.
It’s important to remember this though because CMOs have limited time and you've got to make every second on the call count.
You can’t just list a bunch of product features. You’ve got to make it clear what’s in it for the prospect.
One way to do this is by preparing and understanding common pain points that CMOs or marketing leaders are facing today.
Ryan stressed why understanding this is crucial:
“You need to contextualise the conversation by putting it into the lens of the industry or the segment you’re selling to. So it’s important to ask yourself questions like…”
- What do CMOs care about?
- What sorts of things are keeping them up at night?
- What gets them promoted and what gets them fired?
Here are three pain points that Alice said SDRs should be made aware of:
- The shift away from outdated lead generation tactics. Instead, today’s B2B marketing teams are focused on creating demand and increasing the number and quality of direct intent demo requests.
- Being able to create a business case for any new spend that’ll tie back to the acceleration of increase of revenue.
- Showing the impact of marketing on the business, especially in relation to contributing to revenue.
The bottom line?
If you don’t know the pain points, don’t pick up the phone!
Be aware of industry trends
Again, it’s a similar story.
You can’t expect the CMO to understand how the product or feature is going to help them, within the wider industry context.
You’ve got to be ahead of the game, by knowing what the B2B marketing industry trends are.
And once again, Alice offered three trends that SDRs need to know:
- The shift from lead gen to demand gen.
- Marketing becoming more revenue-focused, rather than leads or MQL-focused.
- Marketing budgets are being tightened due to the economic climate. So it’s never been more important to prove the value of every tactic, channel, or spend.
When it comes to common pains and industry trends, Ryan offered some great advice on how else to source the information:
“If you’re not aware of what a CMO or marketing leader does, go and interview your internal one. Ask them all the important questions.”
“You should also go look at job postings, as you’ll get a good idea of the priorities and responsibilities of these roles.
"For example, a CMO of a fast scaling, post-Series C organisation is going to be different to the CMO of a B2C org. And then you niche it down further: B2B CMO in tech versus a B2B CMO in manufacturing.”
The best time of the day to call CMOs
Let’s face it.
CMOs are busy people.
They’ve got to be in meetings with other teams within their own department. And they’ve also got to have calls with other managers - sales, RevOps, the C-suite.
So, if that’s the case, when on earth can SDRs have the best chance of getting through?
“For me personally, the best time to cold call is going to be between 8am and 9am, before my day has started. After that, you’re very unlikely to get me on the phone.”
The best length of a CMO cold call
Is it three minutes? Is it five minutes?
Here’s what Alice said ⬇️
“I would say the shorter the better. Reps need to respect that CMOs and marketing leaders are very busy. And any time out of their day is time they really can’t afford to lose. So setting that expectation upfront would be good.”
For example, reps could say something along the lines of:
‘I know you don’t have much time. So I will keep this to five minutes to be respectful of that.’
“I also respond well when the rep has added value in that time, and not made it a sales pitch. Because I don’t want to end up leaving the call thinking it was self-serving, and I’ve lost five minutes.”
“I want to be able to come away from the cold call having heard something interesting that could add value to me or my organisation.”
“The optimal conversation time for a cold call should average between three to five minutes.”
The CMO cold calling script
Ryan said it’s important to bear the following in mind as you progress through the framework:
“You should take a funnel approach when it comes to the conversation: awareness, consideration, decision. Did you even get past hello? And this is the case for any persona - it’s general interruptive communication.”
It’s worth mentioning this script has been inspired by the Townsend Framework.
It’s important to open with a bang!
However you decide to open a cold call - just make sure it’s consistent and confidently delivered.
Lewis tends to open like this:
‘Hey, it’s Lewis calling from Cognism, how are you doing today?’
It’s simple and to the point.
More importantly, it’s aligned with the idea that a cold call should be a conversation. Even something as simple as asking how the prospect is doing goes a long way.
Jack said it’s also quite useful to open with something like:
‘Hey, it’s Jack calling from Cognism. I was just on your LinkedIn and I noticed XYZ. I was hoping if I could ask a quick question or two?’
Lewis agreed that this is a good way to ease into the conversation. After he’s introduced himself, he follows up with something along the lines of:
‘Apologies, you weren’t expecting my call. I was just on your LinkedIn, and I can see you’re heading up the marketing side of things at [insert company name]. I was hoping to ask a quick question?’
Now comes the make-or-break part.
“The difference between success and failure on any cold call, once you’ve got someone to say hello, is going to be how relevant and timely the statements will be.”
For example, saying something along the lines of:
‘The reason for my call is…’
Here’s an approach you might want to take:
CMO: ‘Sorry, what do you do?’
Sales rep: ‘I’m [insert your name here] from [insert your company name here]. I work with…like yourself in the area of demand generation. Is that accurate?
CMO: ‘Yes it is.’
It’s also important to ask questions - here’s how to do it:
Sales rep: ‘You are still the CMO of this company, and it seems like your customers are XYZ, is that right?
CMO: ‘Yes - that’s right.’
Sales rep: ‘Okay - perfect! When we speak with CMOs who serve this customer base, generally they’re telling us things like…(list the problems). I don’t suppose any of those are relevant to you right now, are they?’
Sometimes, knowing if you’re asking the right question at the right time can be tricky.
But Jack shared some insights with us on how you can make this process easier:
“I recently read Spin Telling by Neil Rackham. And he identifies four types of questions: situation, problem, implication, and need-pay off.”
Here are some examples of each type of question, within the context of prospecting a CMO or marketing leader.
- Situation: ‘How are you going about your campaigns currently?’
- Problem: ‘Where are you getting the data to fuel these campaigns?’
- Implication: ‘Has legacy data hindered your ability to get through to your target audience? Or has it impacted your deliverability rate?’
- Need pay-off: ‘Would it benefit your team to have high-quality emails? How much impact could you see it having on your email campaigns?’
The best way to approach the body of the script is by acting a bit more like a detective than a sales rep. Uncover the insights, and then offer value.
Once you’ve uncovered these pains, you can then move on to the…
You’ve opened with a bang.
How do you also make sure you close strong?
“There’s always going to be this open dialogue, especially if it’s a strong lead - they’re [the prospect] likely to ask some questions. Once that’s completed, it’s time for the closing statements. And there’s a lot of variation.”
“It’s important to give the CMO an opportunity to say ‘no’.”
So try statements like:
- ‘As I mentioned before, the purpose of my call is to schedule a brief 10 to 15-minute introductory conversation sometime early next week. Would [insert date and time] work for you?’
- ‘Would it be a terrible idea to put 15 minutes on the calendar next Wednesday?’
- ‘How open-minded are you…?’
- ‘Hey - I bet you’re a bit like me - in the sense that you’re open-minded to new ideas…?’
- ‘Hey, based on what you shared today, would it look ridiculous to get 15 minutes on the calendar?’
- ‘How does next ‘xyz’ look for you?’
- ‘Are you a morning or an afternoon person?’
“These statements are allowing the prospect to voice how they’re feeling, while simultaneously allowing you - the rep - to remain consistent and confident, right to the very end of the call.”
CMO objection handling
Sales objections are going to happen on every cold call you make - and especially when talking with CMOs.
But how you handle objections depends on each one. This is something Jack has learnt over time:
“It’s important to understand that when a CMO or marketing leader brushes you off, it’s because they’ve got a legitimate objection that you haven’t solved for them. You haven’t covered the value proposition in enough detail.”
He shared an objection he often gets from marketers, and offers advice on how to handle it 👇
'I/We don't need any help.'
‘Okay, I understand. Just out of curiosity though, what methods/tools are you using at the moment to help with…?’
With this response, you can discover which tools the prospect is already using.
And then you can ask them what they like/don’t like about the tool - and offer up your own product/service as a replacement.
Cold calling CMOs: advice for reps
Looking to refine your CMO cold calling process?
Ryan’s got some last-minute tips and tricks he wanted to share 👇
Respect the prospect
This is key. And Ryan explains why:
“Whoever you’re calling, the first thing you need to realise is that it’s a person who's doing their job. You’ve got to be respectful in the sense that when you made this call, the prospect wasn’t expecting it. Therefore, you’re an interruption.”
“Respect that, and recognise that if the prospect is busy, offer another option. Don’t have the reflex reaction to immediately go into objection handling.”
Don't go in with negative thoughts
And once you’ve been given permission to start the conversation?
Well, Ryan has noticed a common mistake that reps make:
“A lot of the time I notice that reps think marketers don’t like cold calls, so they reach them through other channels. It’s a mistake to have this mindset belief, as you’ll already create unnecessary friction in the conversation.”
“It’s important to remember that the call has just got to be relevant and timely.”
Compound the conversation
How can you maximise the conversation you have with a CMO?
Firstly, it’s about the actions you take after the first cold call.
“There are opportunities for unique and creative ways to engage with CMOs post-conversation. For example, just sending a case study isn’t very creative. But a video can be.”
He went on to explain how video prospecting can be used creatively in a post-cold call follow-up:
“Don’t just opt for a simple whiteboard ‘Hi, how are you?’ Instead, call out a prospect’s LinkedIn profile in a video and say something like…”
‘Hey, I noticed XYZ. So I’m going to send you this…’
Why is it important to get creative in an immediate follow-up?
“Links, stories, videos. All of these ways can help to engage the prospect and get them into the sales funnel. And when this is done well, it should work pretty quickly, because as marketing leaders, they’ll understand how this structure works.”
Ryan told us that reps can also compound the conversation by prospecting to other marketers in the same organisation:
“If you’re prospecting to the top level, it might also be worth reaching out to other folks within the department at that organisation. For instance, if I had a conversation with Alice at Cognism, I’d send a follow-up. But I’d also hit up Liam or Fran (Alice’s reports) if I was selling a demand gen solution.”
“There’s great power in this approach. You go high first, and then you can build along the way, as you go lower down the department.”
Why else is it important to adopt this sales strategy?
“A lot of the times when you’re cold calling CMOs, more often than not, you’re going to get a referral to another person.”
“So be prepared to compound and leverage this referral into something bigger, using the same concepts. Because doing all of these things simultaneously will increase your chances of a positive response.”
💡 Tip! If you're looking for more cold calling insight, you might enjoy these articles on the difference between warm calling vs cold calling?, 9 common cold calling objections and how to respond and cold email templates: 14 of the best for sales.
The ultimate cold calling podcast
The best way to understand a framework is by practising it.
Every month on our Revenue Champions podcast, we host cold calling live workshops.
You’ll hear some great insights from Josh Braun, Ryan Reisert, Morgan J. Ingram, and Dave Bentham - plus live, on-air cold calls!
Click 👇 to hear our past episodes.