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7 steps to strategically prepare for a sales call
Whether you’re a seasoned sales representative or a marketing newcomer, each conversation with a potential customer is an opportunity to nurture a lasting relationship and drive business goals forward.
But without a clear strategy and solid call preparation, you may leave customers unengaged or unconvinced, leading to lost sales and revenue.
So how do you ensure you’re fully equipped to meet—and exceed—a prospect’s needs and expectations before you’re on the call?
Last updated27 Jul 2023
Reading time7 min
This article gives you seven high-impact steps to prepare for a successful sales call with a new prospect. We also cover
How to obtain strategic contact insights before the call
How to incorporate storytelling into your sales pitch
How to anticipate and manage your potential customer’s objections or hesitations
Sales calls are opportunities to nurture new customer relationships and drive business revenue. These seven comprehensive strategies help you optimize your sales call performance, leading to increased conversions and happy customers.
Research your new prospect: use CRM and behavior analytics platforms to gather detailed insights about your contact
Master your product knowledge: cultivate a deep understanding of your product or service to concisely articulate its unique value proposition
Set clear call objectives: define your desired outcome of the call to guide the conversation and ensure clarity
Anticipate objections: review user feedback and behavior analytics to proactively address common customer hesitations or pain points
Prepare engaging questions: tailor open-ended questions that dive into your prospect's goals, needs, and challenges to create a dynamic conversation
Curate a story: highlight product success stories and leverage storytelling techniques to engage your leads on a deeper, emotional level
Learn and adapt: test different sales strategies and embrace feedback to continuously improve and adapt your sales approach
1. Research your new prospect
A strong foundation for any sales call begins with thoroughly understanding your lead’s baseline needs and goals. In fact, Crunchbase reports that top sellers spend an average of six hours per week researching their leads.
Conducting detailed user research about your contact’s industry, their company’s objectives, their overall customer journey, and specific market challenges enables you to structure a customized, targeted conversation that increases your chances of closing the deal.
Strategies for researching your contact before a sales call
Leverage professional networking platforms: use tools like LinkedIn's Sales Navigator or Lusha to gather detailed information about your contacts, like their professional activities, industry, and network
Review past interactions: use CRM software like HubSpot to track previous sales conversations or marketing interactions. Then, combine these insights with behavior analytics platforms like Hotjar to spot trends and patterns.
💡 Pro tip: use the Hotjar-HubSpot integration to supercharge your sales call strategy.
The specific product features your prospect engages with most frequently
The website content that captures your prospect’s interest
Any previous comments they've made about your product or service
Then, use Hubspot’s CRM features to
Segment your prospects into lists based on user behavior to trigger automatic marketing flows and tailor the user experience
Build automatic notifications when a recording of a highly-engaged prospect is available, allowing a more timely review
Alert your sales team when contacts are showing signs of frustration, so you can follow up quickly and with clear context
Create custom lists with Hotjar session properties
2. Master your product knowledge
According to HubSpot, 63% of prospects are ‘somewhat’ or ‘not at all’ knowledgeable about a company before a salesperson makes the first contact. It’s therefore crucial to know your product inside-out and concisely articulate its unique value proposition.
This not only ensures you provide accurate and transparent information but also enables you to showcase how your product or service directly meets your contact’s specific needs, keeping you agile and responsive throughout the conversation.
Strategies to master your product knowledge before a sales call
Understand your competition: review competitor analysis reports to understand who your competitors are and what products they offer to develop strong counterpoints
3. Set clear call objectives
Setting an agenda and defining objectives for your call will guide the flow of your conversation and set explicit expectations for your lead.
Clear objectives also provide a basis for evaluating the success of the conversation post-call, enabling you to track progress, measure performance against desired outcomes, and refine your approach for future interactions.
Strategies to define objectives for a sales call
Outline an agenda: create a clear and concise agenda before your call, including your objectives, key talking points, and the desired outcome of the conversation
4. Anticipate customer objections and hesitations
Every sales and marketing person inevitably encounters lead objections or skepticism. Identifying these concerns beforehand ensures you maintain control of the conversation with persuasive responses that are well-articulated and genuine, alleviating any doubts or hesitations your potential customer may have.
In fact, studies show that sales professionals who can empathize with and alleviate customer objections have up to a 64% success rate.
Strategies to anticipate customer objections before a sales call
Seek guidance: ask members of your sales or customer support team about common objections or pain points they encounter and how they’ve addressed them
Review user feedback: collect and review customer feedback from questionnaires, surveys, or feedback widgets (like the red button on the right side → of this page) to understand common concerns your target audience has while interacting with your product or service
For example, if your company is expanding into a new region, filtering recordings and heatmaps to show data from that specific geolocation reveals user behaviors, preferences, or pain points unique to those regions. Then, tailor your conversation to proactively address these unique needs while familiarizing yourself with the challenges of a new market.
Add filters to your heatmap and recording data to dig even deeper into the nuanced behaviors and pain points of prospective customers
5. Prepare engaging questions
Engaging questions demonstrate your genuine interest in understanding your contact’s needs and challenges while creating an interactive environment that encourages them to disclose more information.
This approach empowers you to tailor your solutions and recommendations to your lead’s specific requirements, while demonstrating your expertise.
Effective questioning is vital to understanding your prospect’s needs and identifying opportunities, so preparing a list of open-ended questions before your call is key.
Strategies to prepare the right questions for a sales call
Adapt your questions: avoid a structured script or checklist; instead, approach the call as a two-way conversation, keeping questions open-ended and adaptable based on your prospect’s feedback
Address user goals: tailor questions that address your prospect’s objectives (see step #1) or aspirations—and then highlight how your solution leads them to success
Assess the sales funnel: identify where your prospect is in the sales funnel—and then customize your questions based on that stage to guide them closer to conversion
💡 Pro tip: unsure which questions to ask during your sales call? Use Hotjar AI to fast-track your question-building strategy.
No matter where your prospective customer is in the sales funnel, Hotjar AI saves you hours of research by carefully crafting sales call questions around any goal.
Maybe you’re wondering what would convince a lead in the awareness stage to convert. Simply tell Hotjar AI what you want to achieve—and watch the magic happen as it generates a list of personalized questions.
Note: this is a free feature that comes with the Hotjar Surveys tool, but you can also use it to generate questions for your sales calls and user interviews.
Hotjar AI creates targeted questions based on the goal of your sales call
6. Curate a story
Product storytelling goes beyond presenting data—it requires creating a compelling narrative that engages your contact on a deeper level, tapping into their emotions and inspiring action.
Katie Deloso, Co-Founder at Knurture, goes as far as to say, “Forget about facts, figures, charts, and statistics. It’s the fastest way to get people to tune out…your goal should be to grab and hold people’s attention by creating an emotional response.”
By honing in on the ‘why’ behind your product or service, not just the ‘what’, you invite your prospective lead to envision their future enhanced by your product’s unique solution.
Strategies to build a product narrative for a sales call
Highlight success stories: weave in case studies to show how your product has solved practical, real-world challenges, paying special attention to highlight narratives and testimonials that address your contact’s pain points
Emphasize emotional appeal: identify the emotions your product or service evokes—relief, joy, satisfaction, peace of mind—and then infuse your pitch with creative assets—copy, graphics, videos, color palettes—that create these sentiments
Leverage user personas: utilize user personas to craft relatable narratives that mirror your contact’s individual needs and challenges. (🔥 Check out five user persona examples we’ve created to inspire your team.)
⚠️ Caveat: if you notice your lead responding more strongly to quantitative data, incorporate tools like Hotjar Trends into your sales call planning to visually represent your metrics.
While traditional analytics only give you the raw numbers, Trends shows you big-picture pattern visualization and detailed data insights, so you can dive into as much—or as little—detail as your sales prospect prefers.
Hotjar Trends provides a comprehensive data overview by visualizing patterns over time and tracking individual data points
7. Learn and adapt
Regularly reviewing your sales call results helps you identify areas for improvement and modify your approach based on feedback and experience. This ongoing learning process also ensures you remain agile in changing markets or shifting business needs.
Strategies to improve your sales call performance
Embrace constructive feedback: embrace giving and receiving feedback as part of your improvement journey by encouraging honest, constructive dialogue with clients, colleagues, and stakeholders
Record and review calls: use products like Hotjar Engage to record sales calls, then assess your call performance and pinpoint optimization opportunities
Experiment with your approach: A/B test different pitch strategies, emotional hooks, or question formats to identify what resonates best with your prospects and yields the most successful results
💡 Pro tip: supercharge your sales calls with Hotjar Engage.
Use Engage to conduct, record, and transcribe your sales call (with permission from the interviewee, of course), so you can focus on what matters the most: your prospective client.
Afterward, share the recording with your team to compare notes, promote collaboration, and unlock actionable insights that drive conversions.
Hotjar Engage turns video call insights into actionable sales strategies that impress prospects and drive revenue
Prioritize your prospective customer in your sales strategy
Closing a sale is about more than just selling a product or service—it’s about understanding your prospect, anticipating their needs, and then providing them with a personalized solution.
Especially in competitive markets and newer industries, delivering a tailored experience sets you apart from the competition, leading to increased conversions and happy customers.
FAQs about preparing for a sales call
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