Why cold calling is killing your mojo (and how to get it back)
Anyone who’s worked in B2B sales will have had days like this:
You sit down at your desk. You power up your laptop. Your list of contacts is ready and waiting.
You pick up the phone. You start to dial some numbers.
You’re feeling confident! Today, you’re gonna smash it.
10 calls in, and no one’s answered.
20 calls in, and no one’s answered.
On the 21st call, someone answers! But they just brush you off and hang up on you.
By now, you’re getting frustrated. Why isn’t anything going your way?
Still, you carry on. You dial some more. And another 10 calls go by with either a hang-up or a no-show.
Then - the 32nd call. The prospect picks up! You’re getting a good vibe from this one. The conversation is going well, you’re building rapport, you feel your product is a good fit…
But then the prospect hits you with some major objections. You freeze. You don’t know how to handle them. You don’t know what to say.
And the call, like all the others, ends in failure.
You put the phone down and sigh. You look at the clock. Almost an hour of calling and you’ve got nothing to show for it. Nada. Zilch. Not one meeting.
What’s going on?
Maybe you’re having a bad day. Or maybe…
Cold calling is killing your mojo!
Does this sound like something that’s happened to you? Or maybe it’s something that’s happening to you, right now?
Here at Cognism, we get it.
Cold calling can be a real motivation-killer - especially when you’re constantly reaching a prospect's voicemail, navigating gatekeepers, or calling bad numbers instead of having real conversations with real people.
When an SDR loses their cold calling mojo, it creates all sorts of problems. Trust us, we’ve seen it happen before.
- Their productivity goes down. “What’s the point of me making more calls if none of them connect?”
- They lose confidence in their abilities. “What’s the point of talking to people if I can’t persuade them to book a meeting?”
- They start being a negative influence on the team. “Don’t bother trying this or that, it doesn’t work for me.”
And ultimately, they stop being successful. Targets are missed, commission is unearned. It’s a spiral that’ll lead to the SDR throwing in the towel.
At Cognism, we’re not about letting good SDRs go. We want to build them up and make them be the best they can be.
So you’ve lost your mojo?
No big deal - you can get it back!
And in this article, we’re going to show you how, by focusing on 4 common problems that all SDRs face and providing solutions for each one.
Don’t you dare click away! Keep scrolling 👇
4 reasons why SDRs lose their cold calling mojo (and what they can do to get it back)
1 - Your calls aren’t being answered
Every SDR knows the frustration of this one - you make dozens of calls, but no one picks up.
It’s a big mojo-killer in outbound sales!
When this happens, it’s good to tell yourself it isn’t your fault. The problem doesn’t lie with you - it lies with the data you’re using.
Chances are, you haven’t got the correct numbers. Your prospecting list is incomplete or out of date.
The best way of getting your mojo back is to clean up your cold call lists.
Review your lists regularly and make sure they contain only the contact details of people you need to speak to - the people that make up your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
Haven’t got your ICP locked down yet? Here’s our advice for building it 👇
- Analyse your existing customer base. Look for common features between your highest-spending/most satisfied users.
- Look at the industries they operate in. Consider company size, locations, job titles. If you excel at selling to one category of company/prospect, it stands to reason that you’ll be able to sell to others just like them.
- Talk to your best customers about the challenges they face and how your product helps to solve them.
Once you have all this info, put it all together in one template. This will be your ICP, a document you can refer back to whenever you start outreaching.
Cognism’s ICP looks like this:
Your mission as a cold calling SDR is to contact prospects that match your ICP.
Now, you can do this manually via platforms such as LinkedIn or by good old-fashioned Google search. But trawling through pages and pages of search results is long and boring. Doing that for hours on end will kill your mojo even more!
Smart sales reps will use tech to automate this process. There are dozens of tools on the market that offer data to sales teams; our advice is to fully investigate your options and pick a provider that works for you and your industry.
Need some help in choosing your sales data provider? Check out our guide to the procurement process below 👇
2 - Your calls are being answered…by the wrong people!
Almost as bad as not having your cold call answered at all is having it answered by someone you don’t want to speak to - a gatekeeper, say, or a voicemail.
This is guaranteed to kill your cold calling mojo.
No SDR wants to talk to people who aren’t decision-makers - it’s a complete waste of time. Bypassing gatekeepers is a skill in itself and it can take a long time to perfect.
We’re guessing you don’t have the time, right? You don’t wanna be talking to PAs, you wanna be talking to CEOs!
The thing is…
If you’re making lots of sales calls and they aren’t being picked up by the right people - again, it’s a problem with your data.
Your phone numbers aren’t for the decision-makers you really need to speak to. Maybe you’re calling office switchboards or receptions.
So what can help you here? What can get your cold calling mojo back?
It’s simple - you need direct dials.
With direct dial data, you can pick up the phone in confidence, knowing that every call will reach the exact person you’re after.
And when your calls are answered by the right people, only good things happen! Your activity will go up. Your connection rates will improve. You’ll have better conversations.
And yeah, you’ll book way more meetings as a result.
3 - You keep getting rejected
Another thing that kills your cold calling mojo is when you call a prospect, they answer, you start talking…but they’re not interested in what you have to say.
It’s a really common problem - Cognism’s Brand Ambassador Ryan Reisert has identified that 6 out of every 10 cold calls end in rejection.
And the reason for this? Only 3% of the people on any cold call list are ready to buy right now.
What happens is:
SDRs call prospects who aren’t in buying mode and they go in with the hard sell. That only makes prospects turn and run - no one likes being sold to, right?
For a sales rep, this is a really painful headache. You have to sell to people - that’s literally your job! But if being a salesperson only ends up with you being rejected all the time, well…what else can you do?!
Here’s something to get you thinking:
Stop being a salesperson.
You’re probably shouting at the computer screen: “Hang on Cognism, have you gone mad?!”
You know what, we haven’t! Let us explain:
Stop focusing on booking a meeting. Stop thinking that your prospects are ready to buy as soon as you talk to them - most of the time, they aren’t. Stop even seeing your cold calls as cold calls.
Instead, look on them as simple, natural, two-way conversations between two people. Accept that your prospects aren’t ready to buy, and that’s fine. Accept that you probably won’t book a meeting, and that’s fine too.
The thing is, we’re not saying give up. Far from it. What we’re saying is:
Just a simple change in mood, tone and mindset from being a “salesperson” to just being a person can have an enormous impact on the success of your calls.
Josh Braun, veteran salesman and friend of Cognism, calls this idea “detaching from the outcome.” It’s about how changing your behaviour on a cold call and being less “sales-y” actually improves rapport and makes rejection less likely.
“What you should do is let go of assumptions and create an environment where prospects feel comfortable telling you the truth, which is either, yes they’d like to share a little bit more and continue the conversation, or no they don’t want to at this time, and either way you’re okay with that.”
“It’s almost like you’re indifferent to whatever happens on the call. And when you do that, coincidentally and ironically, you feel and sound less sales-y and manipulative, which is more inviting to people. And so they open up a little bit more and they’re more motivated to listen to what you have to say.”
So, if you find that you’re continually facing rejection, give detaching from the outcome a go. It’s a really easy way of getting your mojo back.
And if you want to hear how it works in practice, then listen to this episode of our Cold Calling Live podcast series, hosted by Josh Braun himself 👇
4 - You struggle with handling objections
Objection handling - in our opinion, it’s the most important skill for any SDR to master.
After all, even your most eager customers will have a reservation or two about your solution.
Being able to handle and clear those objections in your prospect’s mind is make or break for a successful cold call.
What should you do if you find this stage of cold calling difficult? Let us help you get your mojo back by giving you one simple tip:
Use a script!
Now, we’re not saying have every single word of your cold call pre-planned and written out. Prospects can spot that from a mile away; if you’re just sat at your desk reading from a sheet of paper, you’ll sound like a robot.
Remember “detaching from the outcome” - you want your cold calls to sound as natural and human as possible.
Ryan Reisert said it best when he said this about cold calling scripts:
“They’re useful for any SDR. Too many salespeople cast them aside, imagining them like a rigid, line-by-line teleprompter.”
“It’s a framework. A structure. The dotted line down the middle of a road.”
A good call script is an outline of what you’re going to say, not exactly what you’re going to say. It should contain enough space for you to riff, improvise and add in some personalisation.
But where scripts really shine is objection handling. Because over time, you’ll learn what the most common objections are in your industry. You can add them to your script, along with stock answers which you can optimise for different verticals and job titles.
Simply have the script up on your screen when you call or pinned to your desk. When an objection comes up, the solution will be right there in front of you.
Looking for some inspiration re: scripts?
Don’t sweat it - Cognism has published a library of scripts and you can find them all here!
Or, for those of you who prefer watching videos to reading blogs, Ryan Reisert filmed a tutorial on the perfect B2B cold calling script. Press ▶️ to watch.
Losing your cold calling mojo? Talk to Cognism!
Did you know that Cognism is great for getting your cold calling mojo back?
Our solution can help you out in these 4 ways 👇
1 - It helps reps get over their fear of rejection
More conversations = more confidence and less rejection!
“There are far fewer rejections across the sales team as they’re calling contacts that actually exist. If you want to drive activity in your team, Cognism is a great way to do it.”
- Katia Douglas, Head of Business Engagement and Marketing, Key Training
2 - It helps reps feel more motivated
With Cognism’s Diamond Data®, you can expect 1 in every 2-3 contacts to pick up the phone, rather than 1 in 10 (that’s the industry standard, btw!).
If you’re making more calls with valid decision-makers every day, you’ll never lose your mojo again.
“It’s all about calling prospects in sales but 90% of the time you get through to gatekeepers. Cognism removes that barrier as there are no gatekeepers anymore.”
“For a sales team to know that when they dial a number, they’re going to get through to someone is a huge motivator. It’s probably the biggest one you could have. Cognism has enabled our team to do what they do best - talk to people.”
- George Mckenna, Head of Cloud Sales, Ultima
3 - It ensures that reps have more meaningful conversations
When you work with Cognism’s data every day, you’ll spend less time Googling phone numbers and more time doing what you do best - having real convos with real people.
If you’re constantly calling direct dials, you’ll regain your mojo in no time.
“The direct dials in the UK and Europe are phenomenal. The SDRs no longer have to manually spend time sourcing the data.”
“The fact they’re able to reach the decision-maker in one touchpoint massively boosts team morale and increases performance.”
- Shane Mahi, CEO, SalesDRIIVN
4 - It guarantees that reps only call compliant numbers
When SDRs call DNC-cleaned numbers from the get-go, they don’t have to worry about being on the wrong side of the law.
Cognism takes the compliance burden off reps’ shoulders, meaning they can prospect in complete confidence.
“Often prospects ask the SDRs where they found their contact data from. The SDRs have the confidence to say that their data is from a reputable, B2B compliant data source - Cognism.”
- Luke Baker, Head of Sales, Lead Forensics
Check out our video case study with Lead Forensics here 👇
Get your cold calling mojo back with Cognism - click 👇 to book your demo!