The primary sources of call reluctance (and we all have it) are a lack of confidence and failure to adequately prepare. If you don’t feel prepared, you won’t feel confident.

So in an effort to address both, here are four focus areas that, combined, will help you not only feel more prepared and confident when you call, but will also significantly increase your response rate and engagement with new opportunities. Conveniently, they all start with C.

1. Contacts
It all start with who you’re targeting in the first place. Who has a problem you can solve? Who cares more intensely about solving that problem? Talking to the right people usually doesn’t come in a single answer. There are multiple individuals and roles in the buyer ecosystem that will care about what you’re solving for.

And although you’d prefer to have a conversation with the C-level first, you might get more engagement, discover more context & urgency, and be better prepared to attack the opportunity by speaking with someone at a lower level. So, know who you need to talk to, and diversify a bit who that includes to increase your chances of breaking into the account.

2. Context
Knowing who to call is great, but without context you’ll just sound like another salesperson. Why are you calling, based on reasons that have more to do with the prospect than with you? What are the compelling events or catalysts inside the organization that make your solution a “need to have” right now?

Leverage public news feeds, individual and social updates, and more to determine which of your targets are ripe for engaging right now. Use tools such as LinkedIn, Gist and SalesLoft to automate discovery of good context for those in your network and pipeline.

3. Content
Think carefully about how you convert context into your actual approach. What will your email say to bridge the gap between their interests and/or priorities, and how you can help? How will you craft a subject line for your follow-up email that compels an open? What is your 30-40 second voicemail script that separates you from the riffraff that clutters voicemail inboxes on a daily basis?

Spend the time you need enumerating these entry-point content pieces. Work with your marketing team to create templates that can be used on a regular basis, and across the sales floor.

4. CRM
The only way to scale your cold-calling efforts and drive effective follow-up is by using a good CRM system to automate the thinking and reminders for you. This can be something like Salesforce.com, but I’ve also seen successful salespeople use Microsoft Outlook and even Excel to do this. If you have a documented process, almost any set of tools can be used to help you track and follow up with your prospects to increase conversion rates.

Also worth investing in automated follow-up systems so you’re maximizing your selling time and automating email follow-up, in particular. Not a requirement, but it can certainly make you more efficient and allow you to put more of your time back on the phone and in front of customers and prospects.

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