How to cold call in B2B situations (with definitions)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Cold calling is a marketing technique used by companies across a wide range of sectors. Cold calling in a business-to-business (B2B) context differs from cold calling in a business-to-consumer (B2C) context. That's why it's important to understand what it means to cold call in the modern business world and how cold calling other businesses works. In this article, we explain how to cold call in B2B situations, look at definitions of the terms cold calling and B2B and offer some tips on how to maximise successful B2B cold calling attempts.

What is cold calling?

Before looking at how to cold call in B2B situations, it's useful to look at a definition of cold calling. Cold calling refers to a particular type of telemarketing. This particular process of telemarketing occurs when a salesperson contacts a potential customer with which they have had no previous interaction.

The potential customer may be aware of the company by name but hasn't previously received any communication from them. The purpose of conducting cold calls is to attempt to persuade the customer into doing business with the company that's contacting them, by entering a contractual agreement or purchasing a product.

Related: What is a telemarketer? A guide with responsibilities and tips

What does B2B mean?

B2B stands for business-to-business. This refers to any form of communication that a business conducts with another business. B2B communication occurs for many reasons. The most common reason is that one business is attempting to persuade another business to enter some form of partnership. This partnership can be either in the short-term, such as the supply of goods, or long-term, such as one party becoming a stakeholder of the other. B2B also refers to transactions carried out between two businesses.

Related: How to answer common call centre interview questions

How to cold call in B2B situations

Cold calling within a B2B context is different to cold calling within another context, such as B2C. That's why it's important to know how to cold call in B2B situations if you want to maximise your chances of business. Below, you can find five steps to take when cold calling other businesses:

1. Identify the prospective clients

The first step in cold calling on a B2B basis, is to identify which prospective clients are worth reaching out to. A prospective business client is more than a business that has the potential to work with you or offer a deal. True prospective businesses to contact during cold calling are those that actually want a solution to their problems and are actively seeking such solutions.

Calling the right businesses is important, as it helps you maximise the chances of sealing a deal with those businesses. If a business wants to improve its current practices, it's more likely to be willing to work with you.

2. Identify client needs

Once you've identified the clients you wish to cold call, the next step is to focus on identifying the needs of the businesses. The chances of success, during a B2B cold call, increase if the businesses you contact believe that you understand their problem and seek a solution just as much as they do.

Different businesses have different goals and needs, which is why it's important to tailor your cold calls accordingly. Even if you intend to follow a cold call script, try to customise the script with the client's needs in mind. This includes anticipating any questions that customers may ask you and preparing responses to these questions.

3. Validate the problem

After identifying the client's problem, the next step in cold calling a business is to validate the problem. This means demonstrating that you understand what they seek and can provide whatever this is. There are several things that this could be, including a particular service, a more efficient product or a larger task force.

Researching the business before the cold call is always beneficial, as you're likely to gain a deeper understanding of the business you're calling. Validating the business's problems makes the client feel more valued and understood. This improves your prospects of securing a deal with them, as they then hold the belief that the business you represent can solve their problem.

4. Close the conversation

After making the cold call, aim to close the conversation in an impactful way. When concluding a conversation, aim to be concise with your language. The purpose of this is to ensure that the business you just called remembers the offer. This makes them more likely to follow up on your offer if you've not yet managed to secure a deal.

Closing the conversation professionally also improves the reputation of the company. The recommended way to close a B2B cold call conversation is simply to agree that the other business's issues are ones worth solving. When ending the call, reaffirm that you're available for further communication if necessary.

5. Repeat the process

The appeal of cold calling is that it's quick to conduct. This means that you can conduct many cold calls in a short space of time. The more businesses you reach out to, the more businesses are more likely to approach you about working together to solve their issues. This means that repeating the cold call process is necessary if you endeavour to maximise the partnership potential of the business you're representing. Repeat this process as many times as you see necessary. For the most efficient results, conduct B2B cold calling over several days.

Related: 5 sales pitch examples (with definitions and techniques)

Benefits of B2B cold calling

The practice of cold calling has many benefits. This is especially true for B2B cold calling. Some of the many reasons why cold calling on a B2B basis is worth the time, energy and resources are:

Measurable performances

When cold calling other businesses, the performances of the callers is measurable. This means that you can easily see how successful a caller's conversations are in generating new business. The easiest way to determine the success of a caller is to identify how many potential clients have agreed to do business, as a result of that caller's contact. Being able to measure the performances of callers can help you assign the most productive cold callers to future cold calling projects.

Personalised communication

Cold calling is highly personable, depending on the business. That's because the purpose of B2B cold calling is to market a business's services to each specific business you contact. You have the potential to complete cold calling with a blanket script that you use for every call, but the most successful cold callers tailor a script based on their clients. Having bespoke conversations with each client improves the likelihood of them agreeing to a partnership.

Related: 13 of the highest-paying sales jobs (with salary details)

Perfected practices

One advantage of cold calling is that you can call customers many times in a single day on a prolonged basis, such as for several months. This offers the advantage of being able to perfect your cold calling practices over a duration of time. The more a cold caller practises, the better their chances of success when speaking with other businesses. This means that they're more approachable for future cold calling projects with a B2B focus.

Related: 10 common telephone interview questions (with example answers)

B2B cold calling tips

When cold calling other businesses there are many things to consider. These tips can maximise your ability to persuade them to engage with your employer's, in some capacity, beyond the duration of the phone call. Here are some B2B cold calling tips to consider:

  • Use a sales script: Having a sales script based on the needs of each client helps you remain focused and ensure you get all your points across, improving the likelihood of closing a sale.

  • Captivate their attention: When you call, ensure that you instantly capture their attention by demonstrating an awareness of their business's current state and by saying how the business you represent can help.

  • Focus on the task: During a cold call, it can be easy to try and multitask to get other jobs done at the same time, but remaining focused on your cold calling means you approach it with full determination.

  • Be resilient: Rather than viewing unsuccessful cold calls as bad, view them instead in a positive manner and analyse how you're able to do better next time to ensure success.

  • Value before price: When cold calling, always stress the value of the product or service you're offering before you state the price of it so that you keep the recipient interested for longer while you talk.


  • How to create a successful cold call script, plus examples

  • What Is B2B marketing? (Definition and strategies)

Explore more articles