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How to make cold pitching and cold calling work?
Kris Hughes11/15/22 1:07 AM11 min read

How to Make Cold Pitching and Cold Calling Work

Cold pitching can be an effective way to generate leads, but there's a lot of stigma around it—especially among software buyers. As it turns out, over 75% of cold-outreach emails never get opened.

So it’s reasonable to ask yourself: Does cold calling work?

Let's face it: sales professionals send hundreds of pitches each day—and few take the time to personalize them.

Some consumers simply don't need the product you're trying to sell, while others won't even bother to open unsolicited emails. On top of that, cold emails are often irrelevant, impersonal, or targeted at the wrong people.

So we’ll ask again: Does cold calling work?

Yes, with a few caveats.

About half of B2B customers interested in buying software are more receptive to cold pitches from people they know, reports a Datanyze study on the psychology of B2B software buyers. Nearly 37% of respondents said they would respond to a pitch from someone they're connected with on LinkedIn, meaning that social media contacts hold value, too.

Based on these findings, it makes sense to put in some effort to warm up cold leads and tailor your pitch to the target audience. But first, let's dive into the psychology of B2B software buyers and see what it takes to get their attention.

Understanding What Today’s Software Buyers Want

Public and private companies, governments, and B2B buyers have specific needs. For example, software resellers usually buy lower-priced products to make a profit when selling them to customers. Of course, governments have the greatest buying power, but most purchases involve a lot of hassle.

The same goes for B2B software buyers. Whether selling to the government, hospitals, schools, or private organizations, it's essential to understand their individual needs. Also, remember that you'll likely be dealing with a diverse group of individuals, from senior executives and shareholders to marketing teams.

Another aspect to consider is you don't have much time to influence their decisions.

When B2B customers want to make a purchase, they spend nearly half of that time researching the products they need, according to a 2020 Gartner survey. Furthermore, only 17% of that time is spent meeting with salespeople. What's more, 44% of millennial B2B buyers would prefer not to deal with sales reps.

However, this doesn't mean you should give up cold pitching altogether. Instead, try to find the right structure for your pitch to connect with the right customers through the right channels at the right time.

Datanyze found that more than 12% of B2B buyers learned about prospective software after receiving a cold pitch. Another 42% turned to Google to get the needed information, and 13.38% relied on referrals. Therefore, you need to connect with prospective clients across multiple platforms and tweak your message to fit the target audience.

With that in mind, let's see the most common reasons buyers respond to cold outreach, according to Datanyze:

  • The product solves a problem they are facing (52.8%)
  • The product offers a good return on investment (33.9%)
  • The sales pitch is convincing (33.1%)
  • They have some connection with the salesperson (29.9%)
  • They are familiar with the brand in question (23.1%)

A sales pitch that ticks these boxes won't go unnoticed—but that's just one piece of the puzzle. After delivering your message, you also need to follow up and answer any customer questions.

Moreover, your pitch should create a sense of urgency and reach buyers when they're actively looking for a solution.

These 5 Cold Pitching Mistakes Are Killing Your Sales

Most consumers demand personalization from the brands with which they interact.

For example, emails with personalized subject lines have 50% higher open rates. If you go one step further and address the recipient by name, you could increase email open rates by 35% or more.

Even if you don't get a reply, sending follow-up emails could double your response rate. Yet, more than 70% of salespeople fail to follow up, missing out on potential business.

These cold pitching mistakes are killing your sales, but it's never too late to do things differently. So let's see a few other examples and what to do instead so you can reach more buyers.

1. Pitching the Wrong Product

You may think a marketing agency could benefit from using the latest SEO tools or photo editing software, but they might have other priorities. Just because you have a great product doesn't mean it's right for them.

Research your prospects and their needs instead of trying to be everything to everyone. 

Determine what matters to your target audience and find a solution to their pain points. Most importantly, learn how to write a good email that addresses their needs and shows how your products can fulfill those needs.

2. Sending generic emails

Most sales professionals send about 36 emails and make 36 phone calls per day, according to a 2017 study conducted on 900 companies. This workload doesn't even include the time spent connecting with prospects on social media and other platforms.

Based on these figures, it's hard to believe that they thoroughly researched their target customers. The result? A generic pitch that leads nowhere except the trash bin.

On the other hand, personalized emails get up to 139% higher click-through rates. Simply put, make sure your pitch is tailored to the target audience if you want to get results. This approach can be time-consuming, but your efforts will pay off.

3. Focusing on the Product's Features Instead of the Customer's Needs

As a salesperson or entrepreneur, you want to set your product apart from the competition and show everyone how great it is. Perhaps you're selling a cutting-edge payment system or a recruitment system with all sorts of cool features. It is important to stay customer-centric and select the best recruitment software.

Consider: Where does your product fit in the market, and what problem will it solve?

B2B software buyers—and consumers in general—care about what a product can do for them. Just because a software program has all the bells and whistles doesn't mean it's what they want or need.

As discussed earlier, more than 52% of B2B software buyers respond to cold outreach if the product you’re advertising can solve a problem they're facing, according to Datanyze. This behavior means you should focus on their pain points and how the product’s benefits help to kill that pain.

4. Giving Too Much Information at Once

Another common mistake is sharing too much information at once.

Sales emails between 50 and 150 words tend to perform best. That's about one or two short paragraphs. You can go up to 200 words in cases, but anything above could turn your prospects off. 

The key is to keep your message short and to the point. Sharing too much information too soon can lead to cognitive overload. Plus, sales emails should create a sense of curiosity and leave customers wanting more.

You can always include additional information in follow-up emails or encourage your prospects to schedule a call. What matters most is to keep their interest alive without overloading them with details. 

5. Not Having a Clear Call-to-Action

You'd be surprised how many sales emails lack a call to action (CTA)! But unfortunately, some also have too many CTAs, which is just as bad from a marketing perspective. 

As the name suggests, a CTA is a phrase that tells readers what they should do after reading your emails, adverts, or landing pages. It encourages customers to take the desired action, such as booking a call or placing an order.

However, adding a CTA button to emails or web pages isn't enough to get results. You also need to place your CTAs strategically, use the right language, and give prospects a reason to take action.

Also, having too many CTAs can confuse or annoy customers, leading to missed opportunities.

Your best bet is to conduct A/B testing to figure out which CTAs convert and eliminate those that are unnecessary or ineffective. But, most importantly, make sure your call-to-action is clear, concise, and easy to find.

Take These Steps to a Successful Cold Pitch

By now, you should know how to write more effective cold emails and what mistakes to avoid. Of course, cold pitching is both an art and a science, but you can always fine-tune your approach to get better results.

For example, Datanyze found that nearly 18% of B2B software buyers responded to cold outreach because the pitch was funny and engaging. So, of course, it’s perfectly fine to inject humor into your message—you just need to be smart about it and keep your audience in mind.

Are you interested to learn more? Then, take these steps to improve your cold email response rates and make use of cold email guides.

Prioritize Relationship-Building

Some say cold pitching is a numbers game, but that's only partially true. It's your approach that makes the difference.

Focus on relationship-building from the first contact with prospective clients. Better yet, start to build and nurture relationships before even sending your pitch. Try to connect with potential customers on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other online platforms or offline.

Attend industry events, engage in conversations on social media, and craft messages that resonate with your target audience. Avoid pitching right off the bat. Instead, show your interest in the companies you want to approach and find some common ground before introducing your product to them.

Leverage Marketing Psychology

As a salesperson, you can leverage psychology to connect with buyers deeper. Understanding your target customers' thoughts and feelings can build better relationships and help you sell more.

Scarcity messages, for instance, create a sense of exclusivity and urgency. Tommy Hilfiger, Starbucks, Apple, Amazon, and other popular brands use scarcity tactics to enhance the perceived value of their products. A good example is the Unicorn Frappuccino, a limited-edition drink launched by Starbucks in 2017.

Social proof, priming, reciprocity, anchoring, and other principles of marketing psychology can increase sales, too.

A 2021 Gartner survey found that 85% of B2B software buyers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In addition, about 66% of respondents agreed that customer reviews influence their purchase decisions.

Therefore, you can (and should) use social proof to support your statements and pitch more effectively.

Find Common Ground with Your Prospects

The more information you have on your customers, the better you can address their needs. Plus, you can use these insights to demonstrate a deep understanding of their situation.

If you're interested in a specific company, check out its LinkedIn page to find the right person to target with your pitch. After that, try to find out more about those people and send them an invitation to join your network.

Look up their names online to gain insight into their professional lives, hobbies, accomplishments, etc. Then, use this information to connect with them on a personal level and customize your pitch.

Make It All about the Customer

B2B software buyers don't care about your work experience or your past record with other companies. What they want to know is what your product can do for them.

Keep your prospects' needs in mind at all times. Make it all about them, not you. While it's important to demonstrate your expertise, you should craft your message to emphasize the value you can deliver.

Also, remember you're selling to a group of people, not individuals. Be prepared to tailor your pitch to each decision-maker and answer any questions they may have. Use a conversational tone so everyone on the team can understand what you're trying to say.

Pay Attention to the Small Details

Lastly, pay attention to the small details, such as your email signature, subject lines, opening lines, grammar, and more.

For example, a generic "Hi" or "To whom it may concern" can be a major turn-off for potential buyers. Instead, you should address the recipient by name to demonstrate you have researched the organization and the person to whom you’re pitching.

Ideally, use a friendly tone and short, concise paragraphs. Back up your statements with hard data and give specific examples of how your product has benefited others. Don't forget to check your spelling and grammar before hitting "Send."

Master the Art of Cold Outreach

Cold pitching requires more than just writing strong copy. You must also reach out to the right people, identify their pain points, and build meaningful relationships.

The same rules apply when it comes to B2B software buyers. You can't send many emails, hoping to get a reply.

Remember, it's all in the small details. Try to establish some common ground with your prospects, address their concerns, and highlight the value your product brings to the table. Also, take the time to personalize your pitch and ask questions before suggesting a solution.

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Kris Hughes

Kris Hughes is the Founder of brand strategy, ghostwriting and fractional marketing agency Zanate Ventures, based in Austin, Texas. Kris has over a decade of experience in content strategy, digital publishing, editorial management and SaaS content marketing which he applies to help his solopreneur clients to optimize their digital presence to transform their businesses.