02 November 2023 |

Make Calls Fun Again

By Gabrielle "GB" Blackwell

One thing that’s really important to know about me – I was an outlier of a sales rep because I loved making cold calls. 

I’d be the first one into the office just so I could savor making calls before the hustle and bustle of noises commenced once everyone was in office.

I know — cold call weirdo alert!

While my heart belonged to my desktop phone and bluetooth-over-the-ear headset, the rest of my colleagues found their success over emails, LinkedIn, in person networking events, or relying on referrals from other coworkers. And I’m seeing a lot more reps wanting to use anything and everything except the phone to generate success nowadays.

Here’s the thing – it has become so much harder to generate conversations over email or convert conversations into pipeline from email and social channels alone. 

BUT, it’s not super easy getting sales reps to pick up the phone and make cold calls in meaningful ways…unless you know how to work around call aversion! 😉

My reps don’t want to pick up the phone!

^^ When you ask a rep to hit their dials

If you’ve ever found yourself saying, “reps just don’t want to make calls these days”, it’s important to recognize what keeps your reps from picking up the phone rather than seeing their call aversion as a personality trait:

  • Do they delay making calls because they haven’t seen enough success over the phones?
  • Are they motivated by connection and struggle to stay motivated while calling by themselves?
  • Or, are there skill based roadblocks dampening their confidence over the phone?

One of the best ways I’ve found to start answering these questions and get to the root of call aversion, has been to roll out call blitzes, specifically a Cold Call Race!

The Cold Call Race 

A Cold Call Race is like a cold call blitz, except better.

Rather than have reps call aimlessly for 1-2 hours, a cold call race can help managers:

  • Socialize call wins in real time
  • Foster connection amongst their team
  • Coach in real time

To start:

  • Schedule a 90 minute block for your Cold Call Race
  • Announce a prize, i.e. a $75 gift card for the winner
  • Communicate what preparation reps should do, i.e. prepare a list of 40 prospects to call

Once you’ve scheduled and communicated the logistics of your Cold Call Race, the next step is creating rules for the race. Or in other words, let your team know how they can win.

Here are the rules:

  • There will be 3 calling rounds of 15 minutes each
  • Between calling rounds, there will be a 10 minute break
  • During each round, reps have the chance to win points
  • A rep get 1 point for every 10 calls made in a calling round, 3 points for every conversation had, and 5 points for every meeting scheduled or demo booked
  • The rep who accumulates the most points, wins the Race and will be awarded the prize

Why this works so well:

  • Giving reps the opportunity to gain points for activity keeps them motivated to keep calling, regardless of the outcome
  • Even if someone isn’t converting conversations into meetings, they still get a reward for having a conversation
  • Breaks in between calls give reps a chance to debrief on the previous calling round and brainstorm for the upcoming round
  • If you have a sales engagement platform with a live listening feature, you can listen in on calls in real time and provide faster feedback and coaching to your reps

Wrapping Up

Cold Call Races can be a great way to incentivize your team to increase their call volume without making them feel icky. In gamifying calls, your reps will appreciate the variety, creativity and competitive nature of the Race. 

Also, it can give your reps an opportunity to connect and collaborate more while in the flow of their work.

If you’re not already incorporating Cold Call Races into your team’s calling practice, it might be worth the shot!

Visual of the Week

This is from a couple of weeks ago, BUT, this photo represents a really proud moment for me! As part of 6sense’s Breakthrough Conference, I was invited to have my own speaking slot focused on Outbound Sales Development. I shared tactics about the kinds of skills leaders should be focusing on and received a lot of positive feedback after the session!