Appointment Setting

Best Cold Calling Scripts for Software Sales

By August 17, 2018 No Comments

Cold calling scripts are crucial to your lead generation efforts. They point your SDR team in the right direction, allow for personalization and elaboration, and steer conversations toward setting a sales meeting.

But keep in mind that your sales development reps aren’t just script-readers—they’re storytellers. The better they can paint a picture for prospects, the more interest they generate.

This is true in all B2B sales but especially relevant in the heavily saturated software industry, where you have to make your solution stand out above countless others if you’re going to compete.

In order to paint a better picture, your SDR call scripts should answer these important questions:

  • What are our buyer’s common pain points?
  • How do we solve those pain points?
  • How do we differentiate ourselves from our competitors?

Breakdown of a cold calling script for software sales

Before we continue, we should be clear: there is no perfect cold calling script. It’s up to you to create and evolve a cold calling script that meets your business goals and aligns with your prospects’ needs.

Hi [prospect]. My name is [rep], and I’m calling with Mitel. How are you doing today?

Do you oversee business communications or phone systems for your company?

I’m reaching out today because we would like to schedule a few minutes sometime next week to discuss Mitel’s cloud offerings for your business. Mitel has been named a leader four years in a row in the Gartner Magic Quadrant Report for Unified Communications.

You can give your employees one place to connect with each other, customers, and suppliers on your desktop, mobile, and tablet. It’s all about collaboration, boosting productivity, improving customer service, and helping employees to work smarter.

When is a good day for you to further discuss how Mitel could assist you in moving forward with the cloud or any UC solution?

Take a look at this cold calling script template we developed for software enterprise Mitel. Using Mitel’s script as an example, let’s look at the steps we follow to create our cold calling scripts:

  1. Introduce yourself & your company
  2. Confirm the point of contact
  3. State your reason for calling
  4. Explain the problem your product solves
  5. Request a meeting

Step #1: Introduce yourself & your company

This one might be obvious, but the first thing you should do when a lead picks up the phone is introduce yourself and the organization you’re calling for. Notice how brief the intro is. These calls typically last a few minutes at best (and a few seconds at worst), so be concise and don’t waste too much time before letting your prospect speak.

Hi [prospect]. My name is [rep], and I’m calling with Mitel. How are you doing today?

You can build trust and rapport early on in the call with a friendly introduction. The pleasant interaction helps to establish credibility for your company and a positive brand perception for the prospect from the start.

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Step #2: Confirm the point of contact

Next, make sure that the person you’re talking to is the right point of contact. Your company, like most other companies, presumably has a few gaps or irrelevant contacts in its database, especially if you take an account-based approach to prospecting.

So before moving forward with the pitch, it’s important to validate that you’re speaking to a decision-maker who has purchasing authority or some say in the decision process. Take a look at this highlighted portion of the script that our appointment setting team used for Mitel:

Do you oversee business communications or phone systems for your company?

If their answer to this question is “yes,” you’re speaking to an appropriate point of contact for your elevator pitch.

If they aren’t the right contact, use them as a springboard for finding the right one by requesting contact information for the person with the responsibilities mentioned. Make sure you get both a phone number and an email address, so you can create a new contact in your CRM.

Can you connect me with the person who oversees business communications or phone systems at your company?

We refer to these people as gatekeepers, employees typically in administrative roles who screen calls to save time for their colleagues. We have our own list of tips for getting past gatekeepers to help you utilize these well-connected people as a resource instead of letting them discourage you.

Optional: Another followup question you can ask after finding the correct contact is, “Do you have a few minutes to discuss [solution]?” This question isn’t a necessity for appointment setting, but it shows you’re empathetic to their busy schedule.

Either way, cold callers should be cognizant that they’re interrupting the contact’s work day, and even if they are the right point of contact, they may not have time to chat. Reassuring them that you’ll keep it brief, or even offering to call back at a better time, can be quite effective.

Step #3: State your reason for calling

Now that you’ve established who you are, it’s time to summarize why you’re calling and the actual result you’re looking for. When calling on leads for Mitel, our SDRs briefly explained the reason for the call followed by an overview of the company to pique some interest.

I’m reaching out today because we would like to schedule a few minutes sometime next week to discuss Mitel’s cloud offerings for your business. Mitel has been named a leader four years in a row in the Gartner Magic Quadrant Report for Unified Communications.

At this point, we know that the person we’re speaking to is in charge of business communications. As an IT professional, they may or may not have heard of Mitel, but they most likely have heard of the famous Gartner Report.

In the second sentence, we use this knowledge to position Mitel as a leader: “four years in a row in the Gartner Magic Quadrant Report.” This helps you gain further credibility for your brand as a trustworthy source and demonstrates the power of name-dropping.

Step #4: Explain the problem your solution solves

You’ve already provided some context for the call, so now you can begin to dive into the problems your software solves. Don’t forget to focus on the outcomes of using your product and not just the features themselves!

You can give your employees one place to connect with each other, customers and suppliers on your desktop, mobile, and tablet. It’s all about collaboration, boosting productivity, improving customer service, and helping employees to work smarter.

You’re trying to keep the conversation brief, and features are usually complex and require further explanation. Speaking to the positive outcomes of using the product helps prospects recognize the value of your solution right away. If you’re well-acquainted with your ideal buyer persona, then you have an idea of the day-to-day pains they experience in their role. Telling them how your offering can treat that pain is a good way to spark their curiosity.

Step #5: Request a meeting

Now that the contact is acquainted with your company and vice versa, you need to set expectations about what the next step will be. The final step is to close on the sales meeting.

When is a good day for you to further discuss how Mitel could assist you in moving forward with the cloud or any UC solution?

Cold calls are a good opportunity to gather initial prospect discovery information, but remember that setting the meeting is the ultimate goal. Make sure you’re always steering the conversation in that direction.

SDR pro tip: It’s more polite to ask the prospect which day will work best for them instead of telling them your salesperson’s availability and expecting them to accommodate it. Your SDR should have access to the salesperson’s calendar while setting appointments, in order to avoid accidental double bookings or rescheduling on your end.

Best practices for cold call scripts

Our step-by-step breakdown of our Mitel call script should help you on your way to developing your own scripts for software sales. But there are several other best practices for optimizing your scripts we think are worth mentioning here. Let’s look at a few scripts we’ve developed for other EBQ clients to add to our previous points and so you can add more value to your cold calls.

Grab their attention by leading in strong

When giving the brief overview of your company, you should have a clear differentiation that catches the prospect’s attention and keeps them on the line.

Here’s an example of a poor cold call script:

Hello, this is [rep] calling with [IT services company]. We can do all the IT for your company- *click*

Compare it to our more targeted script:

Hello, this is [rep] calling with [IT services company]. We specialize in helping businesses with cloud infrastructure, partnering with Microsoft and Google to…

So why does the second script work more effectively? Both scripts tell the prospect we can manage their IT, but the second script emphasizes a focus on cloud infrastructure to differentiate the company from its competitors. Name-dropping Microsoft and Google in the same breath adds some credibility by association, too. Leveraging the well-known companies, the buzzwords, and language of your target buyers’ industry shows prospects that you understand their needs.

One thing we’ve noticed after doing this for over a decade is that software companies often try focusing on too many value propositions at once in hopes of hitting any pain point. This shotgun approach doesn’t work well in a cold call scenario, as it doesn’t generate interest quickly enough.

We recommend choosing one specific pain point, based on customer persona research, to leverage the most appealing value proposition and pitch the sales meeting.

Focus on the outcomes not the features

We mentioned this one above in Step 4, but it can’t be overstated. In order to paint the best picture for prospects, SDRs should speak to the outcomes of using the product and how it solves problems for your buyer. We see this a lot in B2B software sales. The R&D team finally finishes building a new product or application, and the sales team gets stuck in the trap of using the shiny new features as their main value proposition.

Take a look at two scripts we tested for BigCommerce in their early days:

Script #1 – Feature-focused

BigCommerce is a leading provider of e-commerce solutions to help elevate online sales and revenue. We offer a multitude of features like built-in marketing tools, such as SEO, a mobile-optimized store, as well as an abandoned cart saver that converts an average of 15% of abandoned carts to sales.

Script #2 – Outcome-focused

BigCommerce the leader in e-commerce for small to medium-sized businesses. We enable our clients to easily launch professional online stores in hours and provide a variety of tools such as SEO, a mobile-optimized store, as well as an abandoned cart saver to help drive revenue growth.

The second script, while mentioning some of their more popular features, remains focused on the outcome. It starts with the individual pain point of launching an online store then dives into the supporting features that bring about the outcome.

This upgraded call script helped BigCommerce set 40-60 sales appointments per month! Check out the full BigCommerce case study to see what other kinds of results our scripts helped the e-commerce company achieve.

Ask open-ended questions

If your value propositions and pain points are not sticking with a certain lead, your SDR may need to go off-script. Having a list of secondary questions can help steer the conversation back toward setting a meeting. Be careful how you phrase your questions, though. Asking open-ended questions gives prospects more room to elaborate beyond just a “yes” or “no.”

Here are some of the example discovery questions we used for cybersecurity company Webroot:

  • What are you using now for endpoint protection?
  • How many endpoints do you currently have?

Asking a client “how,” “why,” or “what” proactively guides the conversation toward the pain points that are more relevant to their needs. Keep quiet, listen, and notate the information they’re giving you in your CRM and lead summaries.

Evolve Your Cold Calling Scripts

Finally, don’t forget the importance of a feedback loop for evolving your cold calling scripts. As SDR and sales teams speak to prospects over time, they get to know how your value propositions resonate with prospects.

For example, when pitching one software company’s application, we realized that people didn’t care about the backup functionality it provided, but they did appreciate the ability to sign in on multiple devices. We were able to use this feedback from the sales team and refine our cold calling script to better resonate with new leads.

As SDRs get to know your product and customers better, they will be able to use their own judgment to go off-script, ask leading questions, and drive the conversation toward a set meeting.

Conclusion

With 13 years of experience in this business, we’ve come to realize that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all cold call script. But what we have been able to develop, over years of testing and optimizing, is a proven process for writing our scripts.

Our process has helped us drive pipeline growth with positive ROI for thousands of technology companies. We hope our insights help you share your story in this fast-paced industry.

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