Cold Calling

A (Before-the-Call) Cold Calling Framework From a Real SDR

Sarah Colley
Mar 9
5
min read

We see phony cold calling frameworks all the time, so we asked our own SDRs about the most effective, and realistic, framework for hard hitting salespeople.

It often seems like a lot of the advice around cold calling comes from people who’ve only cold-called once in their lives, and for a very brief stint (like, hours). 

For instance, we recently saw a cold calling framework from a LinkedIn influencer that aims to help you personalize cold calling “at scale.” But then goes on to mention searching each individual contact’s Facebook, LinkedIn, website, podcast… and then clumping them together based on their interests. 

So, every contact that likes football could be categorized together. Hiking… together. You get the picture. 

While this sounds like a great framework, in theory, it makes very little sense for most SDRs that contact hundreds of people a week. 

With that in mind, we asked a couple of our SDRs about their own cold calling frameworks. For this segment though, we’re only talking about 

Step 1: Continuous conversations

It may seem odd to make this part of a framework, but we’re talking everything that comes before cold calling (and how to improve cold calling). So much of being a good sales rep, improving call connect rates and getting more conversions, comes down to how well you actually know your industry. 

If you’re having a lot of conversations with other salespeople, and a lot of conversations with your target audience, you’re able to bring the value you get from these talks into your calls (and visa verse). 

It’s not just that you’re getting to understand how they speak, learning the exact words they use to describe something, uncovering their pains… you’re learning what’s going to break through their objections. 

This way, you get onto calls and don’t sound like a robocall. You’re able to say, “I speak with your peers all day, and they’ve described X as a pain. Is that relevant to you? 

So what does getting to know your industry actually involve?

Well, I can tell you it isn’t just interacting on LinkedIn, or any other social media platform they hang out on. 

It’s that, plus:

  • Reading publications they read
  • Signing up for the same newsletters 
  • Interviewing them directly
  • Listening in on demos and calls of other SDRs at your company (essentially shadowing)

Get on calls with your ICP to ask them directly about their biggest struggles, their objections and hesitations. What are the biggest benefits now that they have your solution? Listen for any spicy words or anything you could use in our calls. It’s their language, not your own, that’s most important. 

Caveat: while we say that this is something to do before you start cold calling, this really should be an ongoing process. Initially, it should begin through onboarding but continue as personal development. 

Step 2. Contact gathering/ using identifiers

Most of the time, you’re getting your call lists/ account lists from a sales operations representative within your organization. 

They’ll likely have a series of tools, such as ZoomInfo, Outreach, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator to enrich the lists. Our own sales team uses has ZoomInfo and Outreach connected, which helps to enrich the lists with continuously updated data, as well as remove duplicate information. 

Since our own sales reps also use our product – Nooks – all of this data pops up automatically when they dial. 

Despite having a preapproved call list, you’re likely add to your lists as well, especially if you’re hanging out in the same spaces as your ICP. For any SDR adding to your call list: be very conscious of who your ICP is, and what the triggers are that demonstrate them as a potential customer. 

Sometimes it’s fairly obvious. If you’re on LinkedIn, and they make a post asking for recommendations for a parallel dialer, that’s a pretty clear indication they’re a good target. 

Another opportunity is to look through job postings. The company often lists some of the tech your target has to use. Or, they’ll mention goals they’re aiming to reach, or growth plans. Our sales reps might look at a job description for a salesperson, and see that one of the responsibilities is to place 70-80 calls per day, but they’re not using a parallel dialer.

These are all triggers you can use to start gathering enough contacts on your list each day.

Step 3: Planning your day the day before

Once you have your call list, and you’ve added to that – which will likely be a continuous processes if you’re regularly engaging with your ICP – you start to plan out your day. 

Yes, our reps do this before they do any kind of personalization or context-building. They determine who they’re going to call that week, or the next day, and then collect the data needed to make those calls effective.

In an ideal world, at the end of every day, you’d plan your next. Block out a period of 2-3 hours for calls, at varying times of the day. Monday you might call in the morning, and the next you’d call midday, and the next at the end of the day. 

One of our SDRs mentioned that he no longer spends two or three hours on calls. As a senior sales rep, he’s narrowed calling down to just 30 minutes using Nooks (and has his own habits and hooks for narrowing it down to that). 

Calling at various times in the day is fairly important, because one of your prospects may have a meeting at the same time every Monday. If you’re trying to call them at that same time every Monday, you’re never going to reach them. 

A lot of parallel dialers today have heat maps (like we do), allowing ou to see when your prospects are most likely to pick up. 

Caveat: newer reps benefit from setting cold call blocks in the morning. This can help you get over the nervousness that comes with cold calling, and it also keeps you from spending hours dreading those calls throughout the day. 

Step 4: Building context around the company

Once you have your list for the day or week, you start to build context around the prospect’s company. 

First, look at the account history in your CRM to see how many touchpoints they’ve had over time. Have they had any close loss deals? Are there any notes? Did you speak to the right person? Maybe the person you spoke to is no longer at the company. Maybe that person was a blocker, and now that they’re gone, there’s a new opportunity to close them. Do you have any champions in the company, or did any champions from other companies move to this new account?

For our reps, they’re also examining how many people in the company are typically making cold calls. We’re looking at leadership, managers, directors and VPs… and ensuring those people are in their sequences. 

Job descriptions on a company’s career page can also give you really great insight into the company’s growth and plans for growth. It may tell you the tools they’re using – helping you understand their tech stack, and ultimately what their budget might look like.

Our reps are also looking at indications of how many calls they’re making per day, or if they already have a parallel dialer, etc. 

Sometimes, a simple Google of the CEO could bring up a funding announcement, which is really low hanging fruit because it tells you a lot about their growth plans and how they’re going to use that funding. 

Research on the individual, and personalization of calls to them, doesn’t really happen until our reps have some level of connection with the prospect. Let’s get into that…

Step 5: Personalization

Obviously, LinkedIn is a great tool for finding personalization facts. But, you don’t need to categorize them or find a ton of personalized facts. In fact, your ICP might not be posting at all. They might not even be on social, or only look at their social once a month or less. 

It sounds nice to say you found a bunch of people that all like hiking, they all go in this one group and I can create a hook just for them – and do that for every hobby. Reality looks quite different. 

Even if you do find a lot of personal information, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to use much of that on a call. Senior SDRs know that it’s very easy to go down the rabbit hole on research, spending hours looking for details or reading articles from the individual or the company, watching speeches or interviews… only to end up in a short call in which you didn’t need to leverage any of that information.

That’s not to say all of the personal data you can collect isn’t helpful or useful. It’s simply put to better use in an email, after you’ve had those initial conversations.

If you’re now wondering what to do DURING a cold call to get more conversions, well, we’ve go the tool for you: Nooks AI-Powered Parallel Dialer.

Meet with a representative and book a demo, here.

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