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Ultimate CRO Cold Calling Script: Book Meetings With CROs

It’s the start of a new week. You come into the office, raring to go - ready to jump on the phone and start dialling.

But then you see the first name at the top of your list. 

It’s a CRO. #!@*&%!

The thought crosses your mind:

‘I don’t know how to talk to CROs, they’re all facts and figures. What am I going to say?’

The good news is, we’re here to help.

CROs are like anyone else. You just have to understand what they care about. Put yourself in their shoes; what could go wrong in the world of a CRO?

Focus on solving real problems CROs face in their day-to-day roles and make your outbound efforts genuinely helpful for them in their position. 

With this in mind, we spoke to Steven Schmidt, CRO of SellX and Brad Norgate, Enterprise SDR at Cognism, to find out the inside scoop. 

Keep reading to find out exactly what to say during a cold call to a CRO!


What’s the goal of calling a CRO?

Before you get on the phone, you first need to understand what you’re trying to get out of the call. 

Are you trying to schedule a meeting for a future date?

Are you trying to raise awareness of your:

  • Company?
  • Product?
  • Industry-related problem?

Are you trying to get a referral to someone else in the organisation?

And do you have a backup option in case your first choice outcome doesn’t materialise?

Brad shares:

“I’m always trying to get a meeting out of a cold call, but you’re far more likely to get a referral to someone else within the organisation from a CRO.”

“To get a referral, maybe even an introduction - if you’ve done a great job - that’s gold dust.”

“That should be your main goal, but always try to get a meeting if you can.”

Researching CROs

Before you make your call, you should understand a bit about the person you’re calling. 

  • Do you know what the role of a CRO entails? 
  • What their objectives and responsibilities are? 
  • Do you know the industry they’re operating in? 
  • Do you know what stage of growth their company is at?
  • Do you know the common pain points CROs face?
  • Do you know the industry-specific trends going on at that point in time?

Of course not all CROs are the same, however, they likely manage similar processes and face similar issues day-to-day. 

We asked Steven to take us through these bullet points to give us a better idea.

What does a CRO do?

Steven tells us:

“A CRO (aka a Chief Revenue Officer) is responsible for every process that generates revenue in a business.”

CROs connect different revenue-influencing functions, such as marketing to sales, customer success, pricing, and revenue operations.

Steven adds:

“It’s someone who can stand on the balcony, look down on the bigger picture and then jump down and get hands-on when they need to.”

“It’s also important for them to align each of the teams with company goals, which is likely to be the revenue metric.”

There are a number of things that a CRO will be responsible for:

  • No. of new sales.
  • Optimising spend through demand channels.
  • Retention of current customers.
  • Attrition.
  • Analysing data and reporting.
  • Overseeing processes at a high level and finding opportunities to fix and streamline.

So they don’t just look after opportunities to create new revenue, they’re also tasked with preserving revenue from current customers, and stretching budgets as far as they can to minimise costs. 

Steven gives an example of a recent project he was involved in:

“I met with our Head of Demand Growth and together we looked and found we have 122 inbound leads per month.”

“And that’s a high volume for the stage of growth we’re at. But…only 62% of those were qualified. So I see we have a problem with the language we’re using on the website.”

“If we fix the language, then inbound leads can better qualify themselves - because we aren’t the right fit for all 122 of them. This would save us a lot of time qualifying them later. And saving time is a priority.”

A CRO’s main aims are to:

  • Sell products to the most relevant audience and generate the maximum revenue.
  • Optimise the effectiveness of marketing and advertising.
  • Cultivate customer satisfaction and extend the LTV of customers.

“Another thing as a revenue officer that makes me go ‘yes, this is working’, is if you’re able to get negative attrition. Meaning you’re able to expand seats and increase customer lifetime value to more than they cost to acquire.”

What are the common pain points CROs face?

As you can imagine, when you’re in a role that spans so many departments… a lot can go wrong. 

There are a lot of moving parts, and keeping track of all of them to ensure the business engine runs smoothly is not an easy job. 

So what are the main pains? What keeps a CRO up at night?

Steven shares:

“Hiring is a big one, making sure you have the right team. Because everything starts with that.”

“I also worry if I’m doing everything I can to set my team up for success.”

Steven uses this bullet point checklist when thinking about his team:

  • Do they have what they need to do their jobs well? 
  • Do they enjoy their work enough to put in their full effort for 8 hours a day?
  • What can I do to improve that?

“And then there’s always a fear of layoffs. And hand in hand with that is the fear of outsider perception of how and why we’ve had to make those decisions.”

“Ultimately, a good day is when there are deals crossing the line, you’re ahead of your predicted revenue for the month, employees are happy and customers are getting what they expected from your product (minimal customer friction).”

What stage of growth is the company in?

The interests and tasks of a CRO may differ depending on what stage of growth the company is in. 

When you call a CRO, consider these points:

  • Are you contacting a start-up? 
  • Are you speaking to a huge enterprise account? 
  • What are the differences in the roles depending on which stage of growth the company is in?

Steven suggests:

“I’m a CRO of an early-stage company, so I’d expect someone cold calling me to know that. I’d hope they’d have done a little bit of research prior to find out what a CRO of a company like this might be tasked with.”

“It helps me feel comfortable knowing they’ve taken the time to understand my position and circumstances.”

Any industry trends to be aware of?

The landscape in which CROs operate is always changing, and with that comes variations between different industries. However, some recent trends include:

1. Warnings of an oncoming recession

CROs may be more likely to feel:

  • The pinch of tightening budgets.
  • A push for efficiency.
  • A focus on retention, expansion and increasing LTV of current customers. 

2. Demand generation and personal branding

Steven says:

“You’re seeing a lot of CROs start to flex the demand gen engine - I think maybe because they’ve seen it can work from building their own personal brand.”

“I don’t think CROs are going to try to be influencers, but they might start to make use of their influence as a practitioner.”

“There’s a lot of value in what a CRO can teach, and that can be used as a magnet for demand generation.”

Researching top tip

Brad recommends checking out the CRO’s LinkedIn profile before the call:

“If I’m cold calling a CRO, I’d definitely have a look at their LinkedIn. See if anything sticks out in their job history, see what they’ve said about themselves in their bio, see if they have any social media.”

Doing a bit of research can really help you feel prepared going into a call with a CRO, and sometimes, confidence is half the battle.

Surrounding your target

Another thing to be aware of before contacting a CRO is that they may not be the sole decision-maker for implementing your product. 

Yes, they’re in the C-suite. But there are other stakeholders you may need to get on board. 

After all, a CRO is responsible for the domino effect of outcomes that occur as a result of their decision-making. They’re not going to roll out a new product without the buy-in of their colleagues. 

For each target account Brad outreaches to, he tends to contact between 10 and 20 people within that organisation. 

“CROs tend to be the most prevalent within enterprise-sized organisations that usually have hundreds to thousands of employees.”

“And at Cognism, we tend to have a minimum of 10 contacts per department, per enterprise company. They also tend to be management or C-suite level people.” 

So think about who else might influence the decision to buy your product, and bring them into the conversation alongside your CRO target. 

What time of day should you call a CRO?

Here comes an age-old question… 

When is the best time to cold call?

Well, to some extent, it will depend on who you ask. However, there are a couple of good tips we can give you. 

1. Call early

Steven says:

“Some people won’t like it when I tell them this, but if you call me at 6:30am, you’re probably going to catch me with some free time to talk.” 

“Granted I might have to be quiet because everyone else in the house is asleep. But I doubt you’ll find many CROs sleeping in. Plus my diary is jam-packed from about 8am onwards.” 

2. Call at 5 mins to or 25 mins past e.g. 10:55am or 4:25pm

Calling CROs during the working day isn’t the best time, because they’ll be engrossed in their work, in meetings or on calls.

However, if you give them a bell towards the end of an hour, or just before half past the hour, you might catch them going from one meeting into the next. 

Steven says:

“The best time to call is something like 2:27pm to 2:32pm, or 2:57pm to 3:02pm and go around the clock like that.”

Just be warned - they’re likely rushing between commitments, so keep it brief!

3. Just call

Brad explains:

“You’ll never get a meeting from a cold call you don’t make - so don’t let the time of day stop you from making a cold call. Just make the call!”

You heard the man, just dial the CRO’s number when the call task comes up!

How long should your call be?

Let’s be real, CROs are busy people. Even if they wanted to be on the phone with you for hours, they couldn’t be. There’s just too much to do!

So what’s the right amount of time to be on the phone with a CRO for?

Brad says:

“There’s definitely a sweet spot with a cold call, especially with a CRO who’s going to be very mindful of their time.”

“A key skill of any SDR is to be able to read their prospect’s tone when speaking to you. Do you need to keep the call moving quickly so they’re willing to stay on the phone?”

“I’d say after 5 mins or so, you should start moving towards a close - whether that's a meeting, referral or another desired next step.”

“The absolute top end of that would be 10 minutes, but if you haven’t decided on next steps within 10 minutes, they’re maybe not the right fit.”

And the advice from Steven matches up! He says:

“I’d usually give a cold call between 3-5 minutes. That’s about as much as I can spare.” 

“If someone is lucky enough to catch me during a 15-minute break between meetings, then I’m still quite protective of that time. It could be my one break in the day.”

The CRO cold calling script

Ready to start making calls? Here’s your script! 👇

Before we start, here’s some reassurance from Steven:

“I’m getting about two cold calls a day now, which is great. Before, I barely got any.”

Some people might think it’s weird that Steven loves getting cold calls; most people hate them, don’t they?

Well, that’s not necessarily true. Steven says:

“I’m a CRO, I’m genuinely interested in the state of cold calls. Why? I’m in sales, I’m a revenue guy. So I enjoy getting cold calls, and I’ll include voicemails in that too.”

“I often find people avoid leaving me a voicemail because they want to get me on the phone, but that’s the easiest way to get my attention. I listen to all my voicemails.”

“And if I get a good cold outreach, even if I’m not interested in the product, I’ll get in touch to give feedback or compliment them on their approach.”

“I’ve hired people based on their great prospecting skills when they reach out to me.”

Not sure how to leave a prospecting voicemail? Read this article on cold calling voicemail scripts for 10 ideas. 

What’s your opening line?

Alright, so you’re about to pick up the phone and call a CRO… 

What's the first thing you say?

This is your first chance to make a good impression. Brad says:

“I think some people will roll their eyes at this, because it’s become a bit of a cult opening line. However, I think it’s best to be honest off the bat. So I say something like:

“Hi it’s Brad from Cognism, just being honest - this is a cold call. I don’t know if you’d like to hang up, or give me 30 seconds and then you can decide?”

“I find people like CROs seem to prefer that approach because they’re not stupid, they can tell it’s a cold call. So to package it as anything else is futile.”

“And then giving them the option to hang up the phone disarms them a little. They very rarely hang up the phone without letting you speak for the next 30 seconds.”

This sort of tongue-in-cheek style can help to set the tone for an open and honest discussion.

How do you uncover CRO pain points?

One thing to consider here is that a CRO has probably received quite a few cold calls over their career. They’re very used to the ‘let’s find the pain’ type questions. 

You’re more likely to get them talking about metrics and strategies versus more basic traditional pain point discovery questions.

Brad suggests:

“A CRO is the most senior sales leader in the company, they’re reporting back to the CEO, so you should keep things very top-level and strategic.”

“You want to be talking about the numbers they care about, like conversation rates, increasing new business opportunities and increasing pipeline.”

This means asking questions like:

  • “How do you manage xyz process at the moment?”

  • “What are your growth plans for abc in the coming months?”

  • “What information or tools do you have access to right now to help you reach your business goals?"

Steven says:

“I’m not interested in someone telling me ‘X company is so much better than Y company.’ Instead, if someone cold called me and asked me something like:

“Do you know what you’re paying per lead?”

“And I’m thinking… ‘I’ve got no idea’, so they say:

“Can we break it down together?”

“Then they go on to show me how they can reduce this cost or demonstrate a way I can optimise my costs, improve conversation rates or help us book more meetings, then I’m interested.”

“So while everyone might have that problem, for me to admit it, you might have to show me - or tell me how you’ve worked with other people at my level to solve that problem.”

“Ultimately, I won’t need every tool I get a cold call about. So ask me about:”

  • My current setup.
  • How I’m using my current tech stack.
  • Understand what's working the best and what’s working the least.

“And then find out if you fit in there, if you could replace a current tool or integrate with others they already have. Maybe not even now but later when we’re coming to the end of our contracts.”

For example, you could say something like:

“I speak to CROs like you, and they tell me they’re having problems with xyz. Are you facing the same challenges?”

Provided you hit on a pain point that they’re dealing with, this is a great way to demonstrate that you understand the difficulties in their roles and the challenges in the current climate. 

Steven adds: 

“If someone nails that hook, and can tell me about the problem I’m facing without me having to say anything, then I’ll likely feel comfortable to tell them, ‘yeah, that’s me.’”

How should you pitch?

One thing to highlight here is that there is absolutely zero point, nada, nil, in pitching to your prospect without first learning what they care about. 

That’s why you do your research and pain point discovery first. Because your pitch shouldn’t be the nitty-gritty of how the product works, especially when speaking to CROs and other management roles. 

Instead, you should look at how this product would help them to reach organisational goals, alleviate pains/challenges or avoid future industry problems.

Here’s an example using Cognism, as Brad explains:

“If you barrel into your pitch without learning what gaps they have, then you can burn a bridge before you even start. Let’s say I call a CRO and say:

“At Cognism we’re GDPR compliant and we’ve got the best mobile numbers in EMEA.”

“But your prospect doesn’t care about those things…maybe they don’t even cold call. By then they’ve already shut off.” 

“They don’t think they want what you’re offering and they’re going to push to get you off the phone.”

“So instead, I’ll make sure to ask:

  • “Do your sales reps cold call?”
  • “Do they cold email?”
  • “Do they use LinkedIn?”

“And then I can tell them about the parts of our product that best fit them - for example if they use LinkedIn, I can tell them about our Chrome extension.”

The most important part of any pitch is personalising it to their specific needs, circumstances and pains. 

Steven says:

“I want to know what metric you’re going to influence. And if you’re selling software that doesn’t have an impact on revenue, then I’m not the person to target.”

“At the end of the day, I don’t really care what it costs because that’s the role of finance. They’ll review ROI and if they’re happy then we both sign off.”

“If I want to implement your product, then I’m going to have to present it to my CEO with a use case. So help me build that use case.”

“And remember that any decision I make about new tech etc. is on my head.”

“What’s even better is if you can tell me how you’ve helped another CRO who I know, saying:

“Hey, I spoke with ABC at (company name), I know you two go a while back (if you do your due diligence on LinkedIn, you should be able to see this kind of info).”

“She told me she’s struggling with XYZ issues and I wondered if you might be feeling the same.”

“And then I’d say:

“Yeah, I’m feeling a bit like ABC.”

Objection handling

The most daunting part about cold calling anyone is if or when they object. It’s an inevitable part of cold calling. 

You’re going to come across people who are busy, running from one meeting to another. Or someone who’s received badly executed cold calls in the past and are now hesitant of salespeople. 

What’s the trick to good objection handling? It’s simply being prepared with responses to common objections ahead of time. 

Brad shares:

“The most common reasons I tend to get objections from CROs are:

  • “I’m busy, I don’t have time.”
  • “We’re happy with the way we do things at the moment.”

The first one is pretty straightforward, busy people are going to say they’re busy. Try following up with something like:

“I appreciate you must have a lot on your plate, is there a better time when I can call back later?”

Or: 

“I understand you’re busy. Is there someone else in the company you think I’d be better talking to, that you could introduce me to?”

With the first response, you’re setting up a future time and date to speak to the prospect when they’ll be less busy.

With the second, you’ll be getting a referral or introduction to someone else in the company - and you can mention that it was the CRO who suggested you contact them.

The second objection is interesting. “We’re happy with the way things are.” Because rarely is anything perfect.

Brad explains how to overcome this objection:

“It’s like you’re calling someone’s baby ugly, by phoning them and suggesting there’s a better way to do things. So sometimes, CROs can be defensive.”

“I tend to be quite to the point and say:

“Are you telling me the way you do things now is absolutely perfect and you wouldn’t change a thing? Even if it could improve xyz metrics?”

“Generally, most CROs can’t say everything is absolutely perfect, so by saying this, you open up a floor for more discussion.”

The close

At this stage in your CRO cold call, you’ve:

  • Been on the phone for the sweet spot of 5-10 mins.
  • Learned about how this particular CRO manages his/her processes.
  • Had a chance to talk about their high-level strategic plans.
  • Learned what does and doesn’t work about their current set-up.
  • Used what you’ve learned to pitch the product to your prospect.

And they’re still on the phone. It’s all looking good. 

So what now? How do you close the call?

Brad tells us how he ends a call:

“So (CRO name), you’ve told me that you do abc process, and you’d like to bridge the gap between xyz.” 

“After everything we’ve talked about today, do you see any reason why we shouldn’t set up a future time to discuss this a bit further?”

“The way I’ve phrased this means they have to come up with a reason not to meet with me, which is hard to do. So usually, my next question is:”

“Do you have your calendar handy?”

To be honest though, if your prospect has been on the phone with you for this long, and has been engaging with you the whole way, they’re likely interested in finding out more. 

So you should have your meeting in the bag!

If not - then a referral to someone else in the team, or at the least, a request for an email with more information so you can continue your discussions. Remember what your goals/backup plans were from the beginning!

For example:

“I understand that maybe it doesn’t make sense for you and I to have another discussion, but is there someone else within the company who you’d recommend I speak to?”

Cold calling CROs: final top tips

A lot of SDRs, especially if they’re new to the B2B sales game, will feel a bit apprehensive calling someone so senior. 

But Brad and Steven have some final words of advice for you:

Brad says:

“CROs are humans like everyone else. If you call them genuinely trying to find out if you have a product that could help them, they’re going to want to have a conversation.” 

“They want to find ways to improve their sales results, and if you have a way to do that, then they should be the ones wanting to talk to you.”

“And if they’re not the right fit, or not willing to talk to you, put the phone down and call the next person.”

“Just focus on demonstrating that you have a solution to their problem.”

Steven has three top tips:

1. Learn their language

“If you want to do things to become a better SDR, don’t spend all your time listening to podcasts on how to be a better SDR.” 

“Instead, spend some of that time reading the blogs, watching the YouTube videos and listening to the podcasts that your prospects are reading, watching or listening to.” 

“Educate yourself on the things that your prospects are interested in. Keep up to date with industry trends. Be in the know. The more business acumen you have, the more you’ll be taken seriously.”

2. Provide value - don’t pressure CROs into a sale

“Another bit of advice I’d give is to just try to get in my swim lane. Don’t always try to sell me something straight away.”

“Share some new information with me and then stay in my peripheral vision. Maybe in six months when I’m reviewing our tech, I’ll contact you.”

3. Ask for an external referral

“And finally, one thing I’d encourage people to ask when cold calling is:

“Do you know anyone else at other companies who might be having the same problems as you?”

“Or if they’ve rejected you, you could say:

“Alright, I realise you’re maybe not the right person for me to speak to today, but do you know anyone else who might be having this particular problem?”

“Because then you give them an opportunity to get off the hook, but you also might get a new contact out of it. Turning a no into a future maybe.”

“And if they see you do a great job with the person they referred you to, they might change their mind. Especially if you phone them to thank them for the referral after the deal is done.”

Get more cold calling scripts from Cognism

We know, that was a lot of information!

But hopefully, now you have absolutely everything you need to cold call a CRO - and you have a better understanding of what makes CROs tick.

If you need more help with cold calling, then choose from our library of scripts - including ones for prospecting to CEOs, CMOs, enterprise companies and more!

Cognism's cold calling scripts

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