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How to Qualify Leads During a Cold Call

Relying on a cold call alone to qualify leads can be highly inefficient. Businesses that break down the process of determining fit, generating interest, and securing a meeting create a more efficient and profitable operation by utilizing top employees in key segments of the sales process. This multi-step approach creates more value for B2B sales and marketing organizations.

Here are three keys to that approach.

Go Beyond the Cold Call

For the multi-step process to flourish, you need to be committed to understanding who the person is on the other end of your call. There is valuable information to be gained that can benefit the entire organization.

The first step is determining fit - is the person I am speaking to worth pursuing? If not, record the data in your marketing database so your company has a better understanding of the market and what the appropriate next steps should be for each contact in your marketing database.

If there is a positive fit, then you need to understand the two types of people involved in the decision-making process. This is key to advancing from a cold call to securing a meeting as you try to sell your solution to their problem.

  • Influencer: This is a contact who is involved in the decision-making process or has influence, but is not the ultimate decider on whether to purchase your solution. This person likely needs to run the decision by their boss in order to make the decision. The key is making sure this person has information, resources and an understanding of how your product will address a problem the business is facing. This way they have the confidence to champion your product or service internally as the solution moves up the chain of command.
  • Decision-maker: This contact makes the actual decision on whether to purchase your solution to their problem or opportunity. But, even if you are fortunate to talk to this person first, they might not be ready to make a decision because of financial or budgetary reasons. It is important to understand this person’s perspective on the company’s need because they are likely deeply involved in how the company operates.

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Identify the Client’s Need

Now that you have determined whether you are speaking with an influencer or decision-maker, identify what their need is. Even if your product does not address a specific need, always go back to your marketing database to enter the valuable data from your conversation that will help your company better identify opportunities in the future. This is a vital step to advance to an actual face-to-face meeting with a member of your sales team.

Provide a Menu of Options to Schedule a Meeting

Now that you have uncovered the client’s need, you need to understand the specific challenge they are facing or opportunity they are looking to capitalize on. The best way to do this is to provide a menu of options that identifies their priorities.

For example, a company might be trying to find more customers faster, get existing customers to spend more money with them, or increase the frequency of customers doing business. When presented with the three options, their most pressing need is easier for the prospect to identify. Using this approach of presenting a few different issues the contact is likely facing gives them an opportunity to share more insight with you so they are effectively admitting the business challenge your company wants to help them solve. This approach allows the prospect to share information they might not normally share in response to a generalized and broad question in the context of a cold call.

The key is asking the influencer or decision-maker to identify their pressing need. That allows you to offer a potential solution to a specific need, increasing the likelihood of advancing to a meeting.

In order to get a commitment to meet with one of your salespeople, make sure you continue building interest in the benefits of your solution. This will also ensure you stay top-of-mind when it’s time for the meeting to occur.

Finally, Do Not Seek BANT!

Another important element of getting to a highly-qualified sales meeting is leaving budget out of the conversation. You are not looking to set up a BANT meeting because it’s too early in the process. This is where many cold calls end up dead because overly-ambitious salespeople try to get to budget details before interest has been fully gauged.

Take the time to utilize your company’s database, make sure influencers are prepared to vouch for your solution as the information moves up to a decision-maker, and get your sales team in position to close the deal. This is how a multi-step process delivers more actionable leads than the traditional cold call process used by most inside sales and sales development teams.

To learn more about the steps involved in moving beyond a one-step cold call to a successful multi-step process, contact us today! ProSales Connection employs a strategy that is more advanced than a one-call program that tries to “close a meeting” in one conversation. Read more about our sales appointment setting process here.

Mike Faherty

Mike Faherty is the Founder & CEO of ProSales Connection, a sales and marketing firm based in Houston, Texas. ProSales Connection specializes in helping B2B and technology companies grow through sales appointment setting and outsourced inside sales programs.

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