Cold calling customers effectively can set your sales team up for long-term success in the cloud. Failing to recognize what you're doing wrong when cold calling potential customers, however, is another story. 

Keep things simple when cold calling customers, meaning stick to the basics. Cold calling customers for cloud is like cold calling customers for any other service. Bring value to customers.

The first rule of cloud cold calling is don’t talk about "the cloud." Most business owners don’t know what "the cloud" is, nor do they realize that they’re likely already working and playing in it daily.

When calling a new prospect, start the conversation with an idea of what your solution can give them, not how they will use it or where it will live.

Sell increased efficiency, unified processes, scalability, consistency, rapid delivery, automation, reduced overhead, increased productivity, lower cost of entry, reduced total cost of ownership and the potential for increased revenue. (One at a time, please!) Once you’ve got a prospect interested in a particular result, you can address the tools they will need to use to achieve that result. Spoiler alert: cloud.

Don’t waste time trying to convert people who don’t immediately see value. Cold calling is a numbers game. This means you need to triage your leads, and recruit your marketing department to support your cold calling programs.

  • An "A" lead "gets it." They require no education. They have an immediate need, and they are ready to talk. Escalate this lead to a closer. If you are the closer, carry on. 
  • A "B" lead "gets it," but isn’t yet experiencing enough pain. This lead requires nurturing. Maintain regular contact to remain top of mind -- they will hit their pain threshold, and you will be the first responder when they do.
  • A "C" lead doesn’t understand the value of what you’re selling. They don’t "get it." Abandon ship. A "C" lead should be pushed to a one-to-many webinar program or other drip marketing campaign, where they can choose to learn more (or not) about the solution without siphoning your precious and limited sales bandwidth.

Don’t let your prospect off the hook too easily. When a prospect is approached to discuss a new solution, there are some immediate resistance default settings.

"I’m too busy right now" should always be respected, but there is one default objection that I believe requires immediate countering, and that is, "Can you email me something?" And the answer to that is quite simply, no. You can’t. You’ve got them on the phone, so triage this lead.

Cloud solutions really don’t lend themselves well to PDFs and white papers. They need to be seen in action to really be appreciated. Ask them: "What will an email tell you that a quick demo couldn’t better show you?"

Then suggest a few times you available over the next few weeks and ask them to commit to one of them. If they will not commit to a demo, this lead goes to marketing, and you go on to the next call.

Which challenges have you faced while cold calling customers? Why is cloud more difficult to sell than other services?