Effective Cold Prospecting Strategies For SaaS Sales

This article is part of the Crunchbase Community Contributor Series. The author is an expert in their field and a Crunchbase user. We are honored to feature and promote their contribution on the Crunchbase blog.

Please note that the author is not employed by Crunchbase and the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect official views or opinions of Crunchbase Inc. 

Cold prospecting, the practice of reaching out to potential customers who are unfamiliar with your product, is a common sales tactic. The ultimate objective of cold prospecting is to encourage the prospect to become a customer or client after setting up an initial meeting.

In order to understand how to make this type of sales prospecting work for your SaaS company, this article will break down the process to help you improve your cold prospecting strategies and maximize sales. Let’s jump in and explain how to develop an effective cold prospecting strategy: 


Steps involved in the cold prospecting process

While the details vary among companies, the process of cold prospecting generally follows the same pattern across the board. This can be broken up into the following steps:

Determine your ideal customer profile (ICP)

Accurately defining your ideal customer profile (ICP) is one of the most important steps during the planning stage of your sales strategy. The goal is to create an outline of the types of people who would benefit the most from your product(s) or campaign(s). Keep in mind, the more detail and research you add during this stage, the better the outcome will be.

Consider as many things about your ideal prospects as possible. Are you targeting specific industries, or companies at specific stages (i.e. early- or late-stage funding, post-IPO)? Are you looking for accounts that have reached a specific funding threshold (i.e. $50 million)? After you identify the company characteristics you’re targeting, think about if the contacts at those companies have a particular job title, or are in a certain department. The more specific you can be, the easier it will become to identify who has a higher chance of being interested in your software.

Search less. Close more.

Find relevant prospect data and buy signals with Crunchbase – try it free.

Formulate a list of prospects and research them

Knowing your prospect’s basic details is not enough. In this stage, you should be aiming to get a clear idea about the top reasons why any specific prospect should be interested in your software.

In other words, it isn’t only about picking likely leads. You have to be knowledgeable about why your software is the best choice for every lead. Being armed with knowledge about the kind of work a given prospect does, as well as what that person’s specific needs are likely to be, makes this easier. Accurate data can make or break the chances of converting a prospect.

Inaccuracy of data relied on by sales reps for their cold prospecting strategy chart
Image Source

Reach out to your targets–repeatedly

It’s not enough to choose and contact likely leads. Most of the time, it will take a few tries to convert a lead into a customer, which is why you also need to have a solid SaaS retargeting strategy to adapt to any scenario.

Your retargeting strategy should be flexible, malleable and easily adaptable to any situation thrown its way. If your targets are not responding to voicemails, send emails; if your targeted advertisements are picking up more leads than your emails, prioritize those. The right retargeting strategy can open up different options for your leads to become customers. 


How often should a prospect be contacted?

The short answer is: as many times as it takes. The long answer requires an understanding of the negative ways in which giving up too soon can be a waste of a potential customer.

Percentage of sales reps giving up prematurely on cold prospecting graph
Image Source

As you can see in the graph above, the vast majority of sales representatives abandon a prospect after the prospect gives them four no’s. However, nearly as many prospects say yes on the fifth try, but less than 10 percent of sales representatives attempt this.

Or, to put that differently: Nearly every time a sales representative gives up on a prospect, just one more voicemail, phone call and/or email could have secured the sale. 

What this tells us is that hearing no many times shouldn’t deter sales reps from continuing to make contact, because that no could become a yes with just one more push.

There is a difference, however, in being persistent and being pushy. Prospects are constantly being pestered with calls from sales representatives, so be sure to know when to draw the line and understand when a prospect is interested by paying attention to verbal and nonverbal buying signals

Search less. Close more.

Reach the right decision-makers at the right time with Crunchbase – try it free.


What to include in an effective cold prospecting plan

Now that we have established what the cold prospecting process looks like and why it’s important to be persistent as you pursue your prospects, it’s time to look into how to create the perfect cold prospecting plan for your SaaS business. 

Create contingency plans

When one method of communication doesn’t pan out, be prepared to try others. For example, let’s say you’re calling a prospect and they do not answer the phone; try leaving a voicemail. By having a contingency plan, you can plan ahead and be ready to discover different options that can turn your leads into customers. 

Make contact by leveraging the right platform

You can never be sure which type of communication a prospect is most likely to respond to, but based on the chart below, prospects prefer to be contacted through email. That being said, you need to be strategic about reaching out to them. By leveraging the right platform, you can save time by discovering your target companies and finding verified contact information all in one place.

Preferred methods for cold prospecting graph
Image Source

With Crunchbase’s engagement suite, you can find decision-makers and reach out with intelligent email templates that are specifically tailored to them. Each template is powered by Crunchbase data, helping you customize your message to your prospect and hopefully increase your chances of turning a no into a yes.

Have relevant offers and information on hand

When you finally do get a yes from a prospect to set up a meeting, you’ll want to be sure that you can instantly demonstrate why your software is worth trying out and eventually investing in.

That is why you need to be prepared to answer common questions as well as provide information about promos and/or offers. If your software comes with demos or free trials, make sure your prospects are made aware of this. Being able to try the software out for free can be the last factor that pushes your prospect to that precious yes.

Use analytics to your advantage

The best way to know how your cold prospecting strategy is performing is to gather relevant data. You can gather that data with call tracking. By gathering data on the performance of your calls, you’ll know how well cold calls are doing in terms of converting leads into customers.

You will also be able to see what draws people to your software. This is very helpful in showing sales representatives which points they should emphasize; any factors that are particularly useful in creating conversions should be coming up as often as possible in calls.


What to do once you’ve hooked a prospect

Whether it happened through a cold email, targeted advertisement, or voicemail, you’ve managed to get a yes—now what?

The end goal is to turn prospects into customers. Once contact has been established, be sure to have your meeting schedule up to date and your contact information on hand, so you’re ready to schedule a meeting with the prospect right away–this saves time on both ends while making it clear that you’re well prepared.



By understanding the ins and outs of making cold prospecting work for your SaaS company, you’ll know how to best optimize your process, help improve your cold prospecting strategies, maximize your SaaS sales, and eventually turn that no into a yes.

Crunchbase solution ad

Pohan Lin is the senior global web marketing manager at RingCentral, a global UCaaS, vanity phone number generator, and video conferencing solutions provider. Lin has over 18 years of experience in web marketing, online SaaS business and e-commerce growth, and a passion for innovation and communicating the impact that technology has in marketing. 

  • Originally published August 20, 2021, updated May 3, 2024