Updated on January 25, 2022
Picking up the phone and getting on a call with prospects and customers is arguably one of the most challenging tasks for sales representatives. Nevertheless, sales calls are an important part of the sales process, for a variety of reasons. Starting a conversation with a potential customer, figuring out a prospect’s needs, or closing a deal with a new customer, sales calling is at the heart of the sales. So, let’s see what type of sales calls are there.
Why does calling matter in sales?
Getting a potential customer to consider and eventually buy your product is a daunting task. Sales reps need to use every tool at their disposal to make that happen, including dialing the number and making the sales pitch.
But calling in sales is not just about that, as salespeople know. A call can have a different purpose, depending on when during the sales cycle is made, who’s making it and what the goal is. When you pick up the phone and the person on the other side presents themselves as a sales agent or a salesperson, the first thing that goes through your mind is, oh great someone trying to sell you something. It is much more than that, however.
Form a quick call with a potential customer to see if they’re interested in what you have to offer or trying to upsell existing satisfied customers, there are different sales calls, you can use to improve your selling potential.
Types of sales calls
There are several types of sales calls, that new sales reps need to know and understand their purpose.
Cold call (prospecting call)
The undeniable workhorse of the sales world, the cold call is the most popular form of sales calls. Admittedly if you have heard of cold calling, then you surely know that it comes with a lot of bad reputation attached for somewhat good reason.
Also known as a prospecting call, it was used to reach out to potential customers who previously weren’t familiar with the company or product that was trying to reach them. Sales agents were given a list and some basic information on the recipient of the call. Which explains the reason why B2B cold calling had a relatively 2% success rate.
Because let’s be honest no one likes to pick up the phone and receive a dry sales pitch, for a product they don’t need from some looking to sell them and not work with them to see if they actually have need of it. In other, sales agents relied mostly on luck along with their objection handling skills and the prospect’s patience.
Luckily for new sales reps, with the rise of data-driven sales processes, cold calling is back. Although the process of cold calling is still reaching unaware prospects now sales reps have access to a lot more information concerning the prospects they’re calling. Meaning they can identify prospects that fit your ideal customer profile and can nurture them along the sales cycle.
This change in the cold calling process was also caused by the adoption of new privacy protection laws that forbid unwanted sales calls without a good reason.
Discovery call (warm call)
When a sales rep calls a prospect they have had previous contact with, like via a cold email campaign or a previous call, that’s warm calling. In this case, the previous contact acted as an ice-breaker, letting the sales rep start a conversation with the prospect.
A discovery call helps sales reps, to strengthen existing relationships with prospects and existing customers. Following on a cold call, re-engaging with a past customer, or pursuing a previously missed opportunity, a warm call can serve a variety of goals. It represents an opportunity to engage potential customers, understand their needs and help solve them by offering a solution.
Sales reps making warm calls benefit from having more confidence since they have more information from previous interactions to prepare their sales pitch better. Even if the prospect they are calling has shown a bit of interest in your product it is easier to engage them and continue the conversation.
Warm calls are different than cold calls. While cold calling has only one objective, warm calls can serve different goals. A warm call can serve to discover potential challenges a prospect is facing or to see if an existing customer would be interested in transferring to a higher product plan. This is why in comparison with cold calling it also has a higher success rate when it comes to converting prospects into customers.
Question to ask during a discovery call
To give you an example of what kind of questions you need to ask during a discovery call to qualify the prospects and understand them better, take a look at how our sales reps find out if they’re on the right track:
- Who is your target?
- How do you find the targets and qualify them?
- Is there a strategy developed for engaging with the potential leads?
- Which channels do you use?
- Are there any challenges with your email outreach and deliverability?
- What are your goals for the upcoming period?
- What do you want to achieve sales/marketing-wise?
- Do you use any tools for lead generation/email outreach?
Traditional sales call
Sometimes you just need to get on a call with your customer, as in the present B2B sales cycle, maintaining relationships with your users is important. Since your customers know you and are familiar with your sales team, they are more open to picking up the phone, especially if they’re satisfied with your product.
Sales reps can use this to offer a new product only to existing customers for gathering feedback for instance or giving them a chance to try it out first. This can help you position your product better for that market segment.
A traditional sales call also serves to see how important customers are using your product and if they’ve run into some problems which you can help with and provide a solution for. Although this sounds like customer success, this type of call is important in account-based selling in terms of up-selling and cross-selling strategies, where relationships with large customers rely on going the extra mile.
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The demo call is used to show off your product to interested prospects. Up until this stage, you surely have gathered enough information to show them the main features that can help them overcome the challenges they’re facing. It is a fairly straightforward call, however, you need to prepare accordingly.
A demo call serves to illustrate the value your product presents. This not only means presenting your product in the best possible light but also who do you handle an unintended situation which is fairly common but can nevertheless put prospects off of making dedication on making a purchase. This means being aware of that eventuality and knowing how to act accordingly.
For instance, if you’re product is a database platform, a piece of information may be missing as often is the case when handling large amounts of business data, however, if you’re unable to handle a question concerning the quality of your product, this can raise a red flag in the prospect’s mind.
Question to ask during a demo call
While you’re showcasing your product, focus on selling a solution and the product itself. This shows the prospect that you’re taking into account their benefit when using it and not just showing off what the product can do, but more importantly what it can do for them. Similarly, the questions you need to ask have to be specific and on point.
- Is there a budget limitation for a sales/marketing product such as this?
- How many of your team/company will use the modules?
- Do you think the company can benefit from such a tool (specific feature)?
- Would you implement such automation to your strategy right away?
- What is the most useful part for your team/company?
Sales appointment call
Scheduling a sales appointment call with a potential customer is like being an inch before the finish line. The process of selling them on your product is nearly over and the only thing left to do now is to discuss the details. Be cautious, however, as this type of sales call can make or break the deal.
You have convinced the prospects to process with the sales, they like your product and the value proposition it represents. Now comes the most difficult part, as even a small mistake can mean the deal falls through. Get ready to use your objection handling and negotiation skills to dissuade any concern the decision-maker can have concerning your product. Do your homework and make sure you’re not blindsided just before the end, prepare and you’ll be fine.
Not following up is one of the main factors of lost sales. Usually, sales reps that don’t do a follow-up call shortly after closing a deal, can be taken aback, finding out their sales is lost even after they did everything right.
A follow-up is critical for ensuring the deal is closed. It happens that a prospect gets cold feet just before the sales is done and they need a final push to ensure everything is in order. It’s also a great way to quickly start to build up trust with new customers as they won’t feel left out immediately after. This is why a follow-up call helps with customer retention and presents an opportunity to continue nurturing new customers.
It allows you to monitor your customer’s journey using your product as well. See how they’re satisfied with your product and if there’s future potential for getting referrals from them.
The sales call is a key part of sales
There are a number of sales calls that fit different parts of the B2B sales cycle. A sales call can be used to engage new prospects, find out what their needs are and close the deal. Sales representatives need to remember one thing, sales can be won or lost based on a call.
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