Cold calling 101

Sales is a numbers game—not the number of emails you send or phone calls you make, but the number of deals you close and revenue you bring in as a salesperson.

The more you fill the sales funnel with quality prospects and nurture them, the more likely you are to reach your target or even exceed it. And to do that, you can’t depend solely on the leads that flow into your CRM system

You need to get out there and reach out to as many people as possible.

This is where cold calls and cold emails come into the picture. In this page, we discuss what is cold calling and discover the hidden nuances that will help you get your prospect’s attention.


So, what is cold calling?

To begin with, cold calling is making phone calls to your target prospects in order to create business opportunities with them. They might be unaware of your business or might not have expressed any interest in your product or service.

Or worse yet, they might not be actively searching for a solution.

In any case, you connect with them to create awareness about your business and eventually make a sale.

Does cold calling work?

A popular belief out there is that ‘Cold calling is dead’.

But this isn’t necessarily true. Cold calling is often confused with ‘bad calling’. So, to clear the air, cold calling is not about picking up the phone and dialing a random number to deliver an ineffective sales pitch. No, that would be bad calling, which is spammy, unsuccessful, and, yes, dead.

On the other hand, cold calling is one of the most effective ways to improve your sales—if you do it right.

The transformation of cold calling

Research shows that only 13% of customers believe that salespeople understand their challenges. 

So, much of the awkwardness and rejection from cold calls happens when salespeople call prospects just to push their product. This is the wrong approach and almost always fails.

Cold calling strategies have changed with the evolution of sales techniques and the emergence of prospecting tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Clearbit, and Leadfeeder. There are numerous avenues with abundant information available about people and businesses. So why not take a few moments to research your prospect?

  • A quick Google search on your prospects and their business
  • Their business website
  • Recent tweets
  • Engagement on LinkedIn

Etc., will help you prepare and engage better with your prospects. Once you understand their industry, business, and pain points, engage with them on social channels. Establishing a relationship with your prospects before you call will help create a sense of awareness about you and your company.

Warm the cold calls

With a CRM system, you also get insights into their interactions on your business website and with the emails you send them—how many times they’ve opened your mails, the clicks on the resources you had shared, etc. 

Doing all of this takes you into the territory of warm calling, an evolved version of the traditional cold calling. 

Let’s take a look at the difference between the two.

Cold calling vs Warm Calling

In essence, warm calling is to call a prospect after setting a context by connecting with them via email, social media, customer referral, etc. In other words, you begin building a relationship with them before picking up the phone.

For example, let's say your client refers you to a potential customer. This is a warm lead as you have a mutual connection with the prospect. An introduction from the referrer will allow the prospect to be more open with you. In fact, almost 75% of executives prefer to work with salespeople who’ve been referred to them.

Note that you still need to dig deep and research about the prospect before calling them in order to be successful.


cold calling vs warm calling
Warm Calling Cold Calling
A prior context is established before the call. No prior context is set before the call.
Requires time and patience. Happens immediately after getting the name and contact number.
Research lets you create personal connections with the prospect. Difficult to break the ice and establish trust.
Customer-first approach. Seller-first approach.
Higher success rate compared to cold calling. The success rate is relatively low.

Ways to warm a cold call

Back in the 70s, cold calling prospects directly to their office made sense because it was the only way to reach them. But now, people are reachable through multiple platforms. Here are a few ways to break the ice with your prospect.

Social Selling

With social media dominating the world, 84% of CXOs use social media to support purchase decisions. Use this to your advantage and engage with your target personas on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This type of prospecting enables better lead generation and warms up your cold lead. 

Cold Emails

Creating the perfect email takes a lot of time. But, it is also the perfect inroad for a cold call. A cold email with an eye-catching subject line, personalized content for every persona, nailing their challenges, and packed with value has a huge chance of being opened or even responded to. Using an email management system, you get instant notifications when your prospects open your email or click on resources you had shared. With this information in hand, you can call them at the right time. In case you didn’t get the response you were hoping for, you can create a sales cadence for a follow-up strategy.


So you’ve warmed up your prospect and finally make the call. But it ends up in their voicemail. Don’t lose heart, because this happens 97% of the time. Instead, leave a voicemail to let them know you had tried contacting them. Remember, leaving a voicemail is as important as the call itself. Similar to cold emails, have an intriguing voicemail script ready that will get you a callback.

A final call

Although the traditional method of cold calling is fading out, cold calling itself has evolved with modern sales tactics.

Remember, it is all about making these calls ‘less cold’ by developing familiarity with the prospect and setting the context. And, more importantly, understanding and empathizing with your prospects’ needs.

If you get these things right, it won’t be long before many of your prospects indeed become your customers.