Stop Freezing Out Leads: Tips to Warm Up Your Cold Calls

People in sales and marketing know inbound marketing is a must, and most also understand that cold calls are still a critical link that connects brands with customers. New consumer privacy laws threaten to put a freeze on cold calls. But if inbound marketing and sales teams work together, they can warm up those calls.

First, it’s important to understand that most consumers want brands they’ve expressed an interest in to reach out. A Sprout Social survey found that 64% expect brands to connect with them, and two-thirds report that such connections foster trust in the brand. The same survey found that more than half of consumers want brands to understand what customers want.

Communication is the key to creating understanding in business and in personal relationships. Treating each other respectfully is also a must in both situations. But don’t preemptively freeze yourself out ahead of executing on your cold call strategy. By leveraging several best practices, you can warm up your cold calls and start building valuable, long-term relationships.

Ask for Permission at Every Opportunity

Inbound marketing often hinges on a value exchange with customers – you provide them with content they want or a solution to a problem they have, and they agree to share contact information and/or buy your product. Every response from customers – to surveys, forms, downloads, product reviews, etc. – is an opportunity to ask for contact data and permission to carry on the conversation.

When customers provide permission for follow-up contact, whether by phone, text, email, social media, etc., it fundamentally transforms the experience of a cold call from sales by warming the lead up. That’s why sales and inbound marketing need to work together on this. Inbound marketing campaigns are an ideal venue to ask for permission and contact preferences.

Even if the marketing team focuses on email or another channel and doesn’t contact customers by phone, marketing is in a great position to ask for the customers’ phone number and get consent to follow up via call or text. It’s a best practice to ask for all relevant forms of contact, including phone numbers. And with that information in hand, no sales call is truly “cold.”

A Marathon Not a Sprint

One thing to keep in mind is that building a relationship with potential or existing customers is a marathon, not a sprint. When you get their permission to carry on the conversation across multiple channels, you can bump up the number of quality interactions you have with them and begin to build the trust and understanding that underpin high-value customer relationships.

It’s also important to have the tools and technologies in place that you’ll need to capture the right data and use it effectively across inbound and outbound marketing channels. You’ll need a way to automate data capture and securely consolidate data across the organization so the company can build quality lists and effectively use customer contact information and consent for in- and outbound communication.

Your best salespeople are probably already natural at capturing customer consent for future contact because salespeople understand that they need to build solid relationships to be successful. So, for them, closing a conversation by asking permission to follow up is second nature. Now it’s time for the rest of the organization to catch up and start asking for permission.

As consumer privacy regulations get tighter, sales and marketing teams will have to work together more closely to warm up cold calls and build resilient and valuable customer relationships. Data and automation technology can help. But the good news is that the behaviors involved are nothing new.


  • Tara Kelly is the president, CEO and founder of SPLICE Software, with offices in Calgary, Alberta and Chicago. SPLICE Software serves insurance companies, retailers and other enterprise companies through intuitive communication software services that enhance customer experience and enable better operations delivery.

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