RevOps Therapy Podcast: My Team Won’t Make Cold Calls

How do you overcome the challenges of motivating a team to dial when they’re not together on the sales floor?

Show notes

We get it. Cold calling can really suck. And it can be really hard to motivate your team to do it, especially when your SDRs are working remotely.

How do you overcome the challenges of motivating a team to dial when they’re not together on the sales floor? How do you coach your team when you, yourself, don’t feel confident making cold calls?

Our RevOps therapists: Jordan Greaser, CEO of Greaser Consulting, and Amanda Jones, Strategic Management Consultant and Call Coach, discuss tips to help you:

  • find and analyze the data on your reps’ calls 
  • coach and motivate a team of diverse individuals
  • “put your money where your mouth is” (don’t worry; it just involves being a human being)

Need more cold calling support? Download our eBook: Launching a cold calling program that doesn’t totally suck.

Transcript

Erika:

Does it matter if your VP of sales sucks at cold calling? How do you motivate reps with different sources of motivation and a remote work culture, when you’re not all in the office to call, sitting next to each other? These are a couple of questions that I really enjoyed hearing Jordan and Amanda unpack in this episode of our podcast, Rev Ops Therapy.

Erika:

My name’s Erika. I lead our go-to-market strategy at Greaser Consulting, and I get asked all the time, how we feel about cold calling. So we’re going to go ahead and bypass the debate about whether it is or isn’t effective, because we all know it is effective and we’re going to get straight into how do you, as a sales leader, support your reps on making cold calls, because we all know it can really suck sometimes.

Erika:

Before we get into it, I’m just going to give a quick plug. We did create an ebook called, How to Launch a Cold Calling Program That Doesn’t Totally Suck. Highly recommend you check it out. You can find it on our website, greaserconsulting.com. Now, to the show.

Speaker 2:

Say you want some clarity, in sales and marketing and SEP. Well, we have just the remedy. Our podcast, Rev Ops Therapy.

Jordan Greaser:

Hey crew. Thanks for joining us today. This is Jordan Greaser, CEO of Greaser Consulting, where we make your sales engagement dreams come true. Hey, jokes aside here. I got Amanda on the line today. We’re going to talk about cold calling. Why won’t my team do it? What does work when my team does it? And with Amanda here, why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself so everybody knows who you are.

Amanda Jones:

Thanks Jordan. So yes, my name is Amanda Jones. I am actually one of the contractors here at Greaser Consulting. I recently started going full-time for contracting, where I focus on helping teams build out their sales process and strategy.

Amanda Jones:

And I’ve been in the SaaS startup scene pretty much most of my sales career. So I bring to the table a lot of experience from small deals to enterprise and I’ve worked for top sales tools companies such as Chorus.ai and Outreach. So super excited to be here and talk about this really important topic.

Jordan Greaser:

So let’s touch on Chorus right out of the gate. I know Chorus has been used day in and day out on discovery calls, but have you really seen Chorus ever used for outbound first touch calls? Does that actually happen?

Amanda Jones:

Yeah, absolutely. So obviously there’s call recording rules now where you do have to let the other party know that you are calling from a recorded line, but in today’s day in age, I mean, let’s be real, everybody’s recording, right? I mean, even when I just call to make a reservation, I feel like for dinner, they still say, hey, I’m recording on this line.

Amanda Jones:

So it never actually was a negative thing. People were very receptive to it. And it was really critical I thought, to have, especially our SDR team, be recorded because then you can start hearing what pitches are resonating the best to certain titles or certain size of companies. So I think that it’s a very important piece that people should all get on board with when it comes to recording. It’s not just all about recording your discovery calls.

Jordan Greaser:

So let’s talk about this a second, though. Obviously it’s my experience coming out of Outreach, right? Outreach is in some respects, one of the beginning platforms for this whole sales engagement world. So when you work in that environment, I mean, you get a first class, MBA level experience with the whole sales engagement world because that’s where you came from.

Jordan Greaser:

So if you worked Outreach and then you went to Chorus, if you work in an environment like that where you’re seeing calls after calls after calls recorded, recorded, recorded, especially in this cold calling motion, I mean the obvious question is, does it work, right? You’re going to see this on LinkedIn all the time. It’s dead. It’s not dead. Oh, it depends. But just generally speaking, does it work?

Amanda Jones:

Well, I think especially today it does because I think people are defaulting a lot more to, oh, I’m going to just email because I have these platforms. It shows clicks and engagement and all that. So I don’t need to cold call. People are responding to emails, it’s fine.

Amanda Jones:

But I think the reality is that people still are picking up their phone. And I think it also, to your point of if it’s dead, I think we absolutely should talk about certain industries where maybe it doesn’t make sense for them to cold call. But overall in every type of sales position I’ve had, whether I was selling a big deal or a small deal, cold calling was working across the board.

Amanda Jones:

And I’ve worked for some pretty small start ups. But then of course, some of the big dogs like Outreach and Chorus, where we were more of a staple name in the space. So I think that is important to still go for it and try. And especially as leadership, you should at least try it and see who’s responding to you, where and when.

Jordan Greaser:

Well, is there anything from the data perspective on these cold calls of like, hey, listen, being from Chorus at one point and seeing all this data come through, when you’re doing cold calls at this time or in this way or with this type of pitch, it doesn’t matter, it just doesn’t work. Or otherwise, if you do it this way it always works. Was there anything you really pulled out of your Chorus days? We’ll move off for this in a second, but everyone wants to know about the data, the data. So do you got anything for us here?

Amanda Jones:

Yeah, absolutely. So we would be able to record every part of the conversation. So you can get data from it to figure out who was picking up, what was stated, were they mentioning a competitor? I think if you’re going to do a lot of cold calling, you definitely need a product. Obviously you need a sales engagement platform, but then have a product like Course or Gone that actually integrates with your sales engagement platform.

Amanda Jones:

Because you want the data to do a full circle for you so you can figure out, if I’m calling, maybe in this part of the country, I’m hearing this competitor come up a lot. And then that way it’s really great information to give to your sales enablement team, or even your leadership if you’re a small and nimble team, to be able to tell them, hey, this is what we’re hearing out in the space, and more importantly it helps with objections. So I think driving from the data is really critical for cold calls too, of just hearing what people are saying on the other line instead of taking what the rep is saying.

Jordan Greaser:

So what’s the dumbest excuse you’ve heard for why somebody doesn’t want to cold call?

Amanda Jones:

So I think a lot of people have used, oh, I don’t want to call in the afternoon, they might be too busy. Or maybe not in the morning, they might not be at their office. Always making up excuses of what, maybe, the other person is doing.

Amanda Jones:

So for me, there’s really no magic potion to that. I think you just got to pick up the phone and see what happens. I mean, for me personally, I closed one of my biggest deals in my career and it happened to be with a cold call. So I mean, there’s definitely a lot of money to be had out there and you just got to know how to target in the right way and also pitch in the right way as well.

Jordan Greaser:

I’m thinking about those first cold calls. And I remember the first time I was on an SDR floor making cold calls. At first, you have this apprehension, right, of oh, everybody can hear me. Which by the way, I don’t think anyone’s listening. Nobody cares what you sound like.

Amanda Jones:

Ain’t that the truth.

Jordan Greaser:

As a matter of fact, half of the managers that are on the team are so busy in their spreadsheets, they don’t even care what you’re saying. Just, did you make the dial? I’m not saying it’s right, it’s just a reality.

Jordan Greaser:

But I remember that apprehension of like, oh man, is somebody listening, or maybe I sound stupid and all this. But then you make enough calls, suddenly that energy on the floor becomes a good thing, right? Everybody else is dialing. It gets me amped up. It helps me move through. It helps me do the next thing.

Jordan Greaser:

But the big question today is, by and large those SDR floors, or even the AEs jumping in on the floors, that doesn’t exist. Everybody’s remote today. People don’t even want to go into the office. So I mean, what do you think is some of the biggest problems now with getting people to call in this remote environment and how do we get people over that?

Amanda Jones:

I think right now, especially with being remote, well now it’s our new norm because we’re a few years into this, right? So I think being able to motivate the team from a leadership perspective to do it, because here’s the thing, obviously you’re not there with them, right? But that’s why it’s so critical.

Amanda Jones:

We know, here at Greaser Consulting, to have tools in place, right? You need to be able to see who actually is making the dials. And then maybe if someone’s a little bit not to the goal, being able to quickly get in touch with that person and coach to figure out the why.

Amanda Jones:

And I think the anxiety of calling in-room has completely gone down. In fact, I did notice going remote when I was at Chorus during the pandemic, I think we did 3X calls than we did before the pandemic when we were in the office, because no one had distractions anymore. So I think you’ll be surprised if you actually start tracking the data that people are actually doing more calls.

Amanda Jones:

And then of course, I think it’s really, really critical, Jordan. You were a manager, you’re a CEO of your own company now. You really have to get with each individual rep that you’re managing especially, and figure out what motivates them, what excites them. Because to me, versus my colleague, Chris, we might be completely different in our motivation. Maybe Chris likes more competitive games on the sales floor. I’m more to myself and don’t like to play those games. So I think you really have to be really in touch with your reps and understand what motivates them.

Jordan Greaser:

Well, let’s talk about that though. What do you do in this scattered workplace where you do have a Chris that says, man, I want to be competitive. And then you’ve got an Amanda that’s like, listen, Chris, I don’t care what you do. I’m going to sit here and make my dials, make my money and then I’m going to do something else, right? How do you bring together a team to really push that?

Jordan Greaser:

And I know I’m just getting into stories, but I remember being together in office, that’s whenever I managed all my teams, was in office. And so we’d have a standup, we’d have competition, we’d do individual praise. I still remember the ridiculousness of giving people a $500 spiff if they hit whatever their number was. And we couldn’t get people motivated so we made this really stupid spin wheel that if you hit a certain dials, everybody could get a number of spins.

Jordan Greaser:

And on there was three cents, 50 bucks, you win a house plant. I think one of our things was one of the guys on the team will write you a sonnet or something. And people went nuts. They didn’t care about the money. They cared about the camaraderie in the game. But it’s just so different, right, with everyone being remote. And to your point, we have different personalities. So how do you work hard to bring that together? And I know you’ve worked with teams quite a bit on this whole call coaching motion and how to do this. So what are your thoughts?

Amanda Jones:

Well, first of all, I have to tell a story of what we did even at Greaser. Obviously I’m supporting a couple of clients and then also my colleagues are, and you are also having your own sales reps. And I thought you playing a game of, okay, everybody let’s get on the phones. Whoever book’s the first meeting, you get dinner. And I think even getting dinner and money, that should motivate most reps, even if they’re to themselves.

Amanda Jones:

Because even for me, I’m always not too big on competitive games, but you had dinner on the line and I wanted to go out with my husband. So I’m like, you know what, I’m going to play this game. And you have to just keep that encouragement in slack. I did notice a lot during the pandemic, as people would always ask me, because I was already remote for quite a few years, so how the heck do I remain connected to my team? Especially leadership were asking me this question.

Amanda Jones:

You have to have an instant messenger in a group and cracking jokes. I mean, Jordan, you were telling me a funny joke that you were cracking with your head of ProServe here. Things like that. You have to be communicative, especially with those that might be a little bit more to themselves, if you’re managing someone that was like that, back at home.

Amanda Jones:

But I think just being creative. Come up with different games and different encouragement engagements with your team, I think can get people really excited. So they’re not sitting here in their home office just doing the day to day. It makes it a little bit more exciting. I thought when you did that game it was really fun. And here I am supporting a completely different thing than your reps are, but I still was able to participate, and I didn’t win. I think Jared won.

Jordan Greaser:

What do they say? Blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. [inaudible 00:13:21] got the win. Anyway, just so everybody hears, Amanda says I told a funny joke. The reality is, it’s a really stupid joke. Gilly here, our head of ProServe, is trying to guess her middle name. She said it started with an M. So in my infinite wisdom I told her that I thought her middle name was moth.

Jordan Greaser:

But on the note though, of keeping things lively and being real, one of the things I’ve always been passionate about is leaders putting their money where their mouth is. As a matter of fact, for those of you that don’t know this, here’s a fun fact. Outreach’s sales office actually started in central Pennsylvania, which happens to be where Greaser Consulting’s located.

Jordan Greaser:

So there’s this odd collection of long term Outreach folks that live in central Pennsylvania. And I had 15 of those ex-Outreachers come and work at the Greaser headquarters last week. We were having a good laugh. And one of the guys on the team, he was talking about how you motivate people and how to get going.

Jordan Greaser:

And one of the things that he said was, well, I remember, anytime it’d be a slow day or I was having trouble booking meetings, he said, I would just start talking trash to Jordan, me. And he said, I’d keep saying, oh, you don’t know how to call. You’re washed up. You don’t remember anymore. Or you can’t do it. And he said, the next thing you know, you’d be on a call blitz with everybody and we’d all be dialing. And he’s like, which number one I liked because you were calling my people, so I don’t care if you got a meeting or not and you beat me, I was going to get a sales accept the lead because of your work.

Jordan Greaser:

But he acted like he was tricking me. But the point is he was talking about, hey, when you would get involved here, everybody would just rally behind this because we’re going to beat our manager. We’re going to beat our manager. We’re going to beat our leader.

Jordan Greaser:

And so I’m just curious. I’m hearing this from a guy named Mark, he’s talking to me about it. Do you think that is as important as Mark was saying, or do you think it doesn’t matter? Your sales leaders, or if a VP of sales, for example said, hey, I’m going to get on the line and cold call with you. Is that important, or it’s not necessary to motivate folks?

Amanda Jones:

I think it is important. I mean, I guess it depends on the team too, because you should know as a VP of sales what motivates each individual person. But you just have to make work fun. And to your point, you got to be present. It’s so clear that Mark was very present. I mean, I personally worked with him. He was even very present quite a few years in when we got multiple rounds of funding and he taught me the ropes. And still to the day I still use all the tips and tricks he taught me at Outreach, that I have had tons of success with my current clients today since I’m my own consultant.

Amanda Jones:

But you as a leader, especially, one thing you just can’t do is you can’t just say, go do more dials. Go get the sales. That just does not work with employees now. I mean, you have to keep work fun and engaging, and more importantly, you really got to know your reps and what makes them tick, right. That makes them excited. Why are they coming to work?

Jordan Greaser:

So does it matter if the VP of sales or the director of sales, whatever, does it matter if they suck?

Amanda Jones:

On the phones?

Jordan Greaser:

Well, my point is on a cold call, right. Maybe they’re great at working things through the funnel. But listen, maybe they’re rusty. Maybe they haven’t made a real cold call in 10 years, right. The fact of the matter is, does it matter? Does it matter if that leader that’s been around the game for 30 years, 20 years, whatever, if they suck at making cold calls today?

Amanda Jones:

It does not matter because I think that, in my personal opinion, it shows that they’re human. And I think that even if they create these calls, and say you hear the record and you’re like, oh my gosh, my leader is so bad during this call blitz, it brings more human and authentic to the situation and I think would motivate your team even more to support that leader. It’s the leaders behind the scenes that are just sitting there, just focus on the KPIs, go, go, go, go, go, without understanding how to truly motivate their team to get to that number.

Jordan Greaser:

I think that’s part of the apprehension though, right, of I don’t want to embarrass myself in front of the team. Or, if I want the team to respect me, I have to look good at everything, right. And I think that’s actually something that hinders as opposed to help. The folks that I respect the most are the ones who are like, listen, let’s just get in there with you. Let’s just do this thing. Let’s jump into.

Jordan Greaser:

And yeah, sometimes they look like an idiot, but sometimes so do I, right. And sometimes so do you. But I think there’s just this fear that you’re going to lose face, but it’s not warranted. If anything, your lack of desire to get in there, I think, is actually what helps you lose face faster so to speak.

Jordan Greaser:

But anyway, I know, Amanda, we’re actually coming up close on time. So as you think about any message that you could talk to your sales leaders out there with, as it relates to cold calling. Any tips for the teams, any concerns they should know about. What’s that burning thing inside your soul that you’d say, listen, if you could just get this one thing, what is it?

Amanda Jones:

Well, I think number one is foundation. So there’s going to be two parts to this. Foundation. Make sure, especially if you’re in a growing startup, that you have the right tools in place. Set that goal for quarter one to get the right tools in place, get them implemented. Obviously there’s tons of resources out there. Here at Greaser we can definitely help with that.

Amanda Jones:

And number two is just take a step back. Look back at 2021 and think, how did my team do? Was I the best leader I could be? Was I motivating them? Where do I feel we fell short? And figure out the areas of where you internally should be able to bring to the team to help continue to motivate them for 2022. And just have a lot of energy. Don’t start your sales kickoff saying, oh, we’re going to sit here and these are the numbers we’re going to make, and that’s that, and go after it.

Amanda Jones:

Really have a re-group of everybody to figure out how are you going to get to that number. And don’t be afraid, as we’re talking, to get into the trenches. Obviously there’s a lot of excitement from our past stories of when leaders did that. Our leaders at Outreach definitely did that. And I have strong respect for them to the day over that. You got to show that you’re human and that you’re here to excite them and together to get to the number. Because remember, it’s a team number, it’s not individually.

Amanda Jones:

And I think if you do those things, have the foundation tools in place and really take a step back and look at your leadership qualities and if you feel like you’re truly bring your best to work, much like a rep will be bringing their best to work, I think that those are the two main things that you really should think about, especially if you’re taking some time off for the holiday.

Jordan Greaser:

It makes me think about, I can’t remember the author, but there’s a book I read when I first started down this road. It was called New Sales Simplified. And one of the things the author was really talking about, is now all of our managers just want to spend time in spreadsheets. But what happened to the days where a sales manager would put the new sales rep in a car, go for a ride, roll up the sleeves and say, listen, we’re going to go do this pitch together. Let me show you how you do it. And basically just bring that person along as an apprentice.

Jordan Greaser:

And I think that’s so important, especially in this disconnected age where everybody works remotely, everybody’s far away. How do we get into each other’s lives in a way that we can really mentor folks, walk through the line with folks. And if you want people to cold call, I think the answer is cold call yourself. Even if it’s once a quarter, hop on the line and make some calls. Don’t be afraid to look stupid and don’t take it so seriously. I mean, I think that’s a pretty simple message, right?

Amanda Jones:

Absolutely. And again, use the data. Figure out, maybe you as the VP of sales, go into your sales engagement platform, this is what I would do. Find your top titles that is perfect for your solution, and go call them if they’ve opened up your reps’ [inaudible 00:21:45] meetings or swing into those emails. Say, look, I’m the VP of sales. We would love to have a conversation with you. We’re excited about the brand. I can guarantee you if you do that tactic, whether you’re phone calling or emailing, you’re going to definitely get more meetings that way and get more people on the phone and having conversations with you.

Jordan Greaser:

All right, Amanda. Well, hey, we’re right at time. I appreciate you spending time with us today. Good luck to everybody out there that’s doing their cold calling. If you need any help from us, go ahead and give us a call, but otherwise take care of yourselves. Stay out of trouble and smile and dial, but do it with quality, not just with quantity. Right, Amanda?

Amanda Jones:

Oh, absolutely.

Jordan Greaser:

All right, crew, see you later. I’m going to go talk to ProServe moth. See you later, everybody. Bye.

Amanda Jones:

Goodbye.

Speaker 2:

Hot dog, that was a great episode. Thanks for listening. If you want to learn more about Greaser Consulting or any information you heard on today’s episode, visit us online, www.greaserconsulting.com. Be sure to click the follow button and the bell icon to be notified on our latest here at Rev Ops Therapy. Thanks and see you real soon.

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The Greaser team is made up of sales engagement natives; many of our consultants, including our founder, were early employees at the companies who created sales engagement. We are passionate about supporting revenue generators, empowering them to grow their companies and serve more customers.