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The ultimate cold calling script for software sales

April 23, 2020

Updated 08/03/2021

Sam Gibbons is Cognism’s Sales Team Lead.

Joining the company in Feb 2020, he began as a Sales Development Representative (SDR), cold calling prospects, pitching our products and booking meetings. Which, needless to say, is the hardest job in B2B lead generation.

Sam’s target market was software sales - a category which encompasses IT and tech companies across the world.

When cold calling his prospects, Sam used a script he developed himself.

And as his numbers show, it's perfectly geared towards IT and tech leaders. He:

  • Exceeded target in March 2020, which due to Covid-19 was one of the most challenging months ever in B2B prospecting!
  • Booked 33 demos since 1st March 2020, which worked out to exactly a demo a day for 33 working days.

We present Sam’s software sales script to you now, so that you too can find success in prospecting to this audience. The script aims to gauge interest and qualify at the same time, while also giving the cold call a structure and consistent flow.

This is the ultimate cold calling script for software sales! Use the menu 👇 to skip to a section.

The intro | The opening pitch | The discovery | The second pitch | The value | The case study | The close | Top cold calling tips | Software sales pain points | Software sales cold calling scripts: a SparkNotes version | Cognism’s cold calling handbook

The 7 sections of a software sales cold calling script

1 - The intro

Start with a friendly, conversational introduction. Always give the prospect your name and the company you represent.

“Hey [name], Sam from Cognism here. How are you?”

If the prospect answers positively, you can respond with...

“Great! I appreciate I’ve called you out of the blue. Is now a bad time?”   

The logic in asking “is now a bad time?” is that prospects naturally want to say “no”. This question sets them up to do so - Sam got this tip from Never Split the Difference, the bestselling book by Christopher Voss.

2 - The opening pitch

Sam designed his cold calling pitch to give the prospect some context about what Cognism does, without giving away the key value proposition. The idea is not to reveal too much at the beginning - you want the prospect to follow up with some questions.

“Fantastic! So [name], I just wanted to give you a quick call as we’re currently doing lots of work with [tech/software company of a similar size], as well as a variety of other tech companies like you guys. We help our clients by giving them a tool which they can use in-house to generate direct contact information for key decision-makers within their target markets.”

A good sales strategy is to demonstrate that you’ve done your research on the prospect’s business - you can do this by quoting the types of industries that they’re prospecting to! Like so:

“I can see that you target [industry/industries]. How are you finding leads from within that sector / those sectors?”

Sam ends his pitch with a question. It’s simple and open-ended, but it also provides plenty of scope for the prospect to answer in great detail.

What’s the best opening to a sales call? Our outbound team give their answers below.

 

3 - The discovery

Discovery on a cold call is important for two reasons:

  • It enables you to determine whether or not the prospect is a good fit, helping you to qualify in or out.
  • It helps you to understand their current processes, meaning you can better explain how your solution adds value.

Sam has several questions that he uses to discover more about his prospects. Here are some examples:

“How are you generating your leads?”

The prospect may reply quoting LinkedIn, a B2B data competitor, networking, or they might not generate their own leads; they may thrive off of referrals.

Whatever the prospect’s answer is, you can use it to draw a direct comparison between their current process and your solution. Think about how your solution can solve a problem in that process or how it can speed it up.

It’s best not to be too general, though - be specific to the prospect and their industry. Your message must be delivering value to them.

“Which channels do you use to reach out to your leads?”

The prospect may answer with one, some or all of the following: phone, email, LinkedIn.

Use the information they give you to tailor your cold call. For example, if their main outreach channel is email, then you don’t want to be talking about the accuracy of your phone numbers!

Instead, you’ll want to emphasise the effectiveness of your product when it comes to email. At Cognism, our message would be how our validated email addresses have 97% deliverability, which means a lower bounce rate.

Sam recommends that you have some stats to hand when you cold call - they’re a very good and quick way to demonstrate value.

“What’s your target market in terms of job title/location/company size?”

This is a good question to ask, as it enables you to get specific. Let’s say the prospect replies with: “HR directors working in UK tech.” Instead of replying with:

“We have 400 million B2B profiles which you can segment down to find your target market...”

You can say:

“We have 400 million B2B profiles, which you can segment down to find an extensive list of HR directors working in the UK tech space...”

You can see that the questions you ask should always have a purpose - to resonate with the prospect and bring them back to your product’s value.

4 - The second pitch

This is the stage in your cold call where you can pitch again, in more detail this time. Explain how your solution addresses the prospect’s pain or needs.

Base the second pitch on everything you learned in the discovery phase. The more relevant it is to the prospect, the more engaged they’ll be!

Sam’s second pitch looks like this:

“Fantastic! So, [name], to give you a little more context, Cognism is the world’s largest GDPR-compliant database consisting of over 400 million B2B profiles. How it works, is you would run highly-targeted searches for [target market: e.g. HR Directors in UK tech]. This would generate a list of contacts, and for each individual, we would provide you with [data points relevant to them based on the channels they use: e.g. if they only use emails because their outbound consists of email marketing campaigns] “...email addresses with 97% deliverability.”

5 - The value

The next step is to immediately explain why your current clients have switched from their old process to using your product. You also need to show the value that doing this has added to them.

Here’s how Sam does it:

“The main reason why our clients have typically moved from [current process: e.g. LinkedIn] is because [explain how our solution can add value].”

A top tip when talking to tech and software companies - put emphasis on the technological aspects of your product!

For instance, at Cognism, we use our patented Revenue AI engine to update our data in real-time. So, when talking to prospects in tech, it’s good to bring up these elements. Again, it’s about tailoring the message to the audience.

What are the cold calling techniques that really work? Find out more by watching our sales training video below.

 

6 - The case study

You can strengthen your cold call with a case study that’s relevant to the prospect. Describe the results they achieved using your solution.

Sam sets it out like this:

“We’re actually working with [similar client] right now. They managed to achieve [result] in [time frame].”

7 - The close

Some say this is the trickiest part of a cold call! But really, there’s not much to it. Simply be assertive and clear.

A good idea is to suggest that your cold call is actually a waste of the prospect’s time - wouldn’t they rather see a B2B sales demo?

“Look, [name], rather than me rambling on at you, would you be totally against seeing the platform over a 15-minute call? I could run some personalised searches for you based on your target market and show you the quality and quantity of data that we have.”

Again, prospects naturally want to say “no”, so by asking “would you be totally against seeing the platform?”, you’re putting the prospect in a position of authority.

Top cold calling tips

Sam gave us some other, more general tips to help you with your software sales cold calls.

  • Say the prospect’s name a lot to build rapport (as recommended in How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie).
  • Be an active listener - repeat what the prospect says back to them to show you’re listening and engaged. For instance: “Okay, so your sales team are finding their leads through LinkedIn and reaching out via cold calling and email. Fantastic, so...[next questions/follow up with how you can add value.]
  • Tonality - be aware of how you speak. Don’t be robotic! Develop a conversation that is warm and comfortable for you and your prospect.
  • Refer to any customers of yours that are similar to the prospect’s business - this can be based on company size, industry, location, etc.
  • Try to back up your cold call with case studies if possible. Create a “Jones effect” around your product - if the prospect’s peers are using it, then they’ll want to check it out too!

Struggling to make the most of your cold calls? Here are some do’s and don’ts from Cognism’s SDRs!

 

Software sales pain points

Further to Sam’s tips, we gathered a list of common questions that people ask when looking for SaaS products. These questions are straight from our recorded calls.

  • Does your product provide intuitive user experience?
  • What value does this add - why is it worth the selling price?
  • How is it going to solve X pain point?
  • Why should I go with you and not one of your competitors?

Although providing these answers may seem like the standard process in SaaS sales, they’re often overlooked. If you want to close, you need to have the answers your prospect wants.

Software sales cold calling scripts: a SparkNotes version

If you’re looking to create your own cold calling script, we’ve got you covered!

Here are our best practice tips:

Lead in strongly!

You want to grab the prospect’s attention. But how? 🤔

Mention a clear differentiator.

If your company manages IT, mention what you specialise in and focus on how you deliver this message. Your language and your emphasis are essential to generating interest quickly.

Evolve your scripts

Out with the old, in with the new, right?

Creating a feedback loop is essential in evolving your cold calling scripts. Your SDRs will come to learn what resonates with your prospects over time.

They’ll tell you what people love, what people hate, what to cut and what to add more of. Never underestimate the power of your feedback loop.

Focus on outcomes not features

Honestly, the prospect doesn’t care about your brand-new features. Do not use this as your main value proposition.

Rather, focus on what your product will help the prospect achieve. You can mention your popular features, but don’t make this your focus.

Don’t ask close-ended questions

Close-ended questions don’t allow your prospect to elaborate past “yes” and “no”.

If you want to find their pain points, you MUST include “how”, “why”, and “what” questions in your cold calling script.

And, beyond this, you need to listen! It’s all good and well to ask the questions, but you need to be listening very carefully to get the answers you need to close your deal.

Cognism’s cold calling handbook

Did you enjoy this article? We’ve got loads more insights for you!

Check out our sales eBook B2B Cold Calling Handbook.  It’s a complete guide filled with the latest and greatest cold calling tips that we’re sure will help your SDRs perfect their skills.

Click below to get your free copy!

B2B Cold Calling Handbook