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CORM Calling: Planting for a Good Blossom!

By: Omar Schiavoni (Business Development Executive)

21 July 2016

You are probably wondering what the Corms (gladiolus, freesias, irises, etc.) that sit on the shelves of your local florist shop have in common with a translation company’s activities, or if we simply uploaded the wrong heading. We did not!

CORM is a quirky phrase we've developed. It may be a bit gimmicky, but we find it useful while we are discussing tactics for COld vs. waRM direct sales calls. CORM calling is the art of warming up cold calls. Just like growing Corms in our garden, CORM calling involves cultivation, finesse, patience, and some good luck. 

Cold vs. Warm

We all know what these expressions mean, but just to recap...

  • Cold calling is the solicitation of business from potential customers who have had no prior contact with the salesperson conducting the call. 
  • Warm calling is a sales call that is preceded by some sort of contact with the potential customer or prospect, such as a direct mail campaign, an introduction at a business event or a referral.

Numbers help us identify the success of both cold and warm calling methods. Cold calling generates an average success of 2% and warm calling reaches an average of 30%. SEO/SEM/DEM campaigns, events and connections evidently do work towards our objectives in a staggering way compared to “cold” searching for needles in a haystack.

But, does this mean you should stop calling prospects with whom you have had no prior contact? I would not!

Every sales professional has to admit that cold calling was the first step in his/her career. Doing cold calls tested and probably expanded his/her sales ability. Picking up the phone and introducing him/herself to row after row of companies on a list (mostly with no contact names), allowed them to experience and grow skills to “smash that switchboard” and speak with the decision makers. It took tenacity, promptness, devotion to objectives, and astuteness. This is a kind of magic potion, but it is not possible without education, exposure, training, and inclination.

 Interestingly, a DiscoverOrg survey reported that 60% of 1,000 polled senior executives from the IT industry took an appointment or attended an event after receiving a cold call or unsolicited email.

So is the strict dichotomy (cold vs. warm) useful?

What makes a call considered warm calling, in my opinion, is if the contact person is waiting for my call. If I was not in their calendar, I consider it a cold calling activity.

However, my simple advice is to not waste time stressing about whether you are cold or warm calling your prospect. Make it the warmest you can! Do your best to make every call “blossom." 

Do you think that the person you are calling realizes whether the call is cold or warm? Could it be that the reputation of both activities actually is conditioned by the comfort sales people have in making calls? At a final stage, are you still considering “calling without prior contact” the coldest contact method, having so much information available about prospects online?

I personally have experienced negative feedback calling people I have known for years, and then on the other hand had super-positive experiences with huge companies I could not have entered in any other way than by cold calling them the first time.

Even if SEO and PPC offer a lower cost of acquiring new customers by leveraging inbound marketing tactics, they are not always enough to score the big name accounts. Lower costs in acquiring usually means lower deals.

It is clear that companies cannot base all their strategies on inbound marketing. Doing so, they risk not reaching the large-scale deals in the market. Combining the two (inbound and outbound activities), marketing automation systems can be extremely useful in providing sales people valuable data to identify warm prospects not converted through the Web. This is helpful, but it still requires your effort in contacting them, which could mean via e-mail, Social Media or…CALLING!

Put Words into Actions: How to CORM Up a Call

If direct calling makes you anxious, or if you are looking to enhance your direct calling methods, consider these steps to help you "CORM Up" (warm up cold calls):


  • What is the goal? Please, do focus on it! Which is the action your call aims to?
  • What is the right audience? Build lists sorted by, but not limited to, sectors and company size.
  • Who is the decision maker? Turn over the earth under your feet! If you do not want your hands dirty, just check on the Web! Browsing their company website and social profiles allow you to focus on their probable Localization & Translations’ needs and provide them solutions before they express them. This is the best way to impress people and keep the message in their minds.


  • How to introduce yourself? Clearly. Truly. Respectfully! You are not the first person calling to sell, and you are taking up their time, even that of switchboard operators.
  • Update your list’s data while calling. Your interlocutor could provide you information you could not have ever found on line. Ask! They could light up your way to decision makers and allow you to use their name as referral.
  • How to continue? You should be prepared to answer detailed questions about your services. Let the buyer judges…Provide pragmatic cases (respecting NDAs) where your company provided solutions to companies within their industries. Get your foot in the door, as much as you can.
  • Not the right time for him/her? Ask for a better time to call. “Would this day at this time be a good time to call?”
  • Do not give up! Respect their openness, but be persistent at the same time. It could mean even 4 calls before closing the first sales.

Again, what matters most is not whether the call is "warm" or "cold." Each engagement is an opportunity. The key is to have a goal, consider your audience, and practice your approach in a way that makes all calls the warmest that you can.

Good luck!

Omar Schiavoni is a Business Development Executive at MoGi Group. He has experience managing key accounts in the localization and translation industry as well as extensive experience in digital marketing and communications. He has worked in many industry sectors including: Life & Science, Legal/Financial, MKTG/Sales, Publishing and Technical. He has degrees in International Communication and in Project Management.