5 Cold Calling Tips To Get Past The Gatekeeper

If there are characters in any sales stories that elicit shudders down salespeople’s spines, it’s the gatekeepers.

We’re talking PAs, secretaries, receptionists, and office managers who know better than to put through cold calls to their bosses. They’ve been trained to smoke out a sales rep from the first “hello” and deny them access.

If these gatekeepers can’t discern your value off the bat, they will disqualify you, effectively blocking you from initiating conversations with your prospect. 

We’re not bad-mouthing gatekeepers. Qualifying calls is part of their JD and if they don’t do it properly, they could land in an awful lot of trouble.

But as a marketer, you need that gatekeeper to qualify the call and connect you to your prospect. How do you do it? Here are top tips along with other digital strategies for winning over prospects.

1. Navigating the Gatekeeper Tips

Being polite respectful and confident are part of the deal, so let’s look at other actionable tips:

  • Understand the gatekeeper’s mindset. Their thought patterns revolve around: ask why the person is calling—a pitch, this is definitely a salesperson—say the boss is busy and get rid of the caller. Differ from other cold callers by showing evidence of a connection with the prospect or some knowledge of the prospect’s needs that you can help with.
  • Try calling earlier or later in the day. Most senior executives arrive early or hang back when other employees (including gatekeepers) leave. Have everything you need handy so as not to waste the person’s time.
  • Compile a list of responses. You can record conversations with gatekeepers or brainstorm common reasons and arguments gatekeepers use to disqualify you. Put together appropriate responses for each and keep this list handy so you know how to respond. 
  • Ask to leave voicemail messages. You’re likely to encounter ferocious individuals who won’t budge irrespective of the strategies you use. Show them you understand how busy the prospect is, then request permission to drop a voicemail message for the prospect to listen to later on.
  • Try other avenues. Recognize that you have preset targets to meet and can’t afford to give up easily. If you can’t reach the prospect, try dropping them a line on LinkedIn or email. Share your one-line benefit statement and ask if you can schedule a call for further discussions.

Employ Conversion Marketing Tactics

The power of conversion marketing lies in the tactics it employs to drive traffic and maximize desirable actions by site visitors to uplift revenue. 

Purchases are typically our ideal description of conversion, but actions that steer potential customers to purchase also count.

This means “desirable actions” aren’t limited to making initial purchases, repeat purchases, or renewing subscriptions. They also include subscriptions for email, starting free trials, filling out contact forms, or scheduling demos.

Top conversion marketing tactics include:

  • Have an all-round knowledge of your audience. Irrespective of how well-made your content or ads are, they won’t attract leads or drive conversions if they aren’t relatable. To resonate with your audiences, you’ll need to understand their characteristics, business drivers, and pain points.
  • Don’t annoy your audience. Have you ever visited a website that took forever to load and then suddenly starts auto-playing a video? Then when you try to close the video a pop-up comes on to the screen? How fast would you leave that website? 
  • Don’t ignore abandoned carts. Put together email marketing campaigns targeting abandoned carts to remind the customers to complete their purchases. You can offer free shipping or discounted rates to motivate purchases.

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3. Host Webinars

According to statistics, 46 percent of video marketers intend to add webinars to their 2022 strategy. This figure has gone up from 7 percent last year.

That tells you something. Webinars work across industries, providing increased awareness of brands and their solutions to larger market segments. 

As attendees are educated about market trends, pain points, and solutions, they become better informed and make for qualified leads.

Consider the following as you plan your webinar:

  • Planning is critical. Think about the topic you want to address, the moderator, guest speaker, as well as the best date and time to host. You’ll also need to choose a webinar software. Look at its capabilities, your preferences, and cost.
  • Great content is essential. Content attracts audiences to register, show up, and stay to the end. With webinars being mostly educational channels, select topics that resonate with audience needs and delve into them comprehensively.
  • Promote your webinar early and often. Start 3-4 weeks before the date of the webinar and talk about it often to ensure you capture early birds and late registrants. Create specific landing pages for the webinar and use videos, email, and social media to get the word out.

4. Account-Based Salesforce Strategy

Managing the operational aspect of sales and marketing work can present quite the headache. 

It’s common to find multiple staff pursuing one account, speaking to different contacts, and providing varying information. No one takes full responsibility for the account, making it hard for team members and managers to track the account’s movement along the sales funnel.

Account-based salesforce helps improve account management by segmenting accounts and allocating them to individual sales reps. You start by capturing your total addressable market and then move on to assign each staff their accounts.

The rep in charge of an account communicates with the decision-makers, handles all marketing efforts on that account, and updates the system. Sales managers and other team members can view all account activities, making weekly or monthly reporting easier. 

With this strategy, only the staff in charge of an account can modify information in the system or contact decision-makers. 

This reduces information tampering, and for the prospect, interactions are not disorganized or fragmented. They don’t have to wonder whom to speak to as they already have an account handler to sort out their queries.

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5. Create Thought Leadership Content

With businesses transitioning online and focussing on digital solutions to promote their offerings, we are now experiencing tidal waves of content marketing. 

The kind of tide that makes it harder for organizations to break through the noise and connect with their audience through thought leadership pieces.

That said, strong thought leadership pieces remain central to customer engagement, allowing brands to earn trust and credibility. You may however need to re-evaluate your content with emerging needs and balance authoritativeness with empathy.

Best practices include:

  • Have a realistic picture of what your audiences want to know. Use surveys, peruse online forums and check your competitor’s blogs to pick up the challenges your audiences experience and the questions they are asking. You’ll be better placed to ideate content that resonates with their needs. 
  • Identify subject matter experts internally. Thought leadership content creation is time-consuming, so exclude the CEO from this task. Your subject matter expert should be knowledgeable, conversant with your unique value proposition, and comfortable being a figurehead for your brand.
  • Strengthen your social presence. Your customers, potential and existing are probably already using social platforms, meaning you can post your thought leadership pieces there and receive insightful feedback. This, in addition to participating in industry-relevant conversations and learning about emerging needs and trends. 

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