B2B Cold Calling
Cold calling is without a doubt one of the most controversial and discussed topic in the role of a salesperson. Some swear by it, while most, well most despise it. This leads to an enormous amount of blog articles, talks, and even books written on the subject of cold calling. Many claim that cold calling is a waste of time. But others consider cold calling, and specifically b2b cold calling can be the best way to grow your business. Rather than declare one group right and the other wrong let’s take a slightly different approach to the topic. First, we’ll explore 2 reasons why cold calls are a waste of time and then we’ll look at 3 reasons why cold calling is amazing.
2 reasons cold calling is a waste of time.
Many people hate the idea of talking on the phone. Worse yet, they don’t like to be called. If we are looking at cold calling we should keep in mind there are two sides to every situation. Just as much as salespeople don’t like cold calling, most people don’t like to receive a cold call. Most recipients find cold calling annoying. They don’t like to feel that they are being “sold” something when they didn’t ask for it. They don’t like to be bothered. This is a major annoyance and disruption to their day. But there’s a an important couple words in our earlier statement, they’re bold to make them quicker to spot. People don’t like to be sold…but they certainly don’t mind more information if they are actively seeking it. This is our first hint which we’ll explore in more detail later.
The second way that cold calling is most frequently considered a waste of time is from the perspective of the salesperson. We talked about this before, but most sales staff hate cold calling. Why this deep seated dislike for the use of the telephone? Mostly because they find cold calling intimidating. The potential for rejection is incredibly high. Humans crave validation and respect, the act of generating leads through cold calling is a dangerous and risky behavior. As a result, cold contacting random strangers is an intimidating and somewhat terrifying part of their job. The result is clearly found in this statistic:
“The average salesperson only makes 2 attempts to reach a prospect.”
– Sirius Decisions
When cold calling is this intimidating and frustrating the result is a minimum amount of effort put into following up and pursuing cold calling. It’s hard. It’s not fun. The reason is because you are doing cold calling wrong.
Let’s stop for a minute. We’ve now identified that most people don’t like to be called and most people don’t like to make the call. If both sides seem to hate the idea of cold calling why would anyone consider cold contacting a good thing? The answer is simple. Cold calling has been improperly defined in this previous section. The form of cold calling we have discussed so far is annoying and intimidating and unpleasant for everyone. We’ll consider this cold calling failure.
So, what is cold calling success? What type of cold calling is not a waste of time, resources and energy? What would be considered cold calling best practices? Here are 3 reasons why cold calling is amazing. But first, let’s start with a better definition of cold calling.
We’ll consider cold calling to be the act of contacting a specific, interested person with whom you have not had significant personal interactions previously. Notice, this is different from just picking up the phone and calling someone at random. Cold calling done right is amazing for three specific reasons.
3 reasons cold calling is amazing.
1. Done right, cold calling is helpful
Unlike the cold calling mentioned in the first point, cold calling can be incredibly helpful. If you put into practice the definition of cold calling we just reviewed, then cold calling is the actually a helpful and beneficial opportunity for both you and the person you’re calling. The key to remember to make sure your cold calling is helpful is the “interested person” part of our definition. You are not calling random names in a phone book. You’re calling someone who is interested in what you’re wanting to sell (or offer). But how does this happen? The key is to successfully nurture leads before making contact. This not only saves you from having to perform the dreaded unwanted cold call, but it also saves you valuable time. You’ll only call those leads who want to speak with you already. You know they want to because they’ve been nurtured. This lead nurturing is best done through casual and continual interactions.
2. Good cold calling is welcome
The next reason cold calling is amazing is because when you do cold calling successfully you are actually welcome to call. This is because when you know you are goign to be helpful (see above) then you can be confident the lead you are calling is going to be eager to speak with you. They will welcome the call because you will answer their questions! You are not answering questions they don’t have (i.e. pushing something on them) but instead you are answering very real and pertinent questions which already exist in their mind. When they start talking to you and find the help they actually need they will welcome the privilege to speak with you. Great cold calling only happens when the timing is right. Your calls will be welcome and your information will be helpful when the time is right.
3. Following cold calling best practices yields results
The final reason we’ll discuss for cold calling involves the results you should see from following cold calling best practices. Cold calling best practices means taking the two points above and following them precisely. When you do this and stick to it you will find cold calling is amazing because it works. You will join the ranks of the many who proclaim cold calling is critical to your business success and you will be able to point to metrics that back up your claim. Examples like this quote from a recent magazine survey:
“80% of sales take a minimum of 5 cold calls”
– S&MM Magazine Survey
You absolutely need to be persistent but you need to use cold calling effectively. You want to experience cold calling success; follow the steps above. How does this happen? What are the real steps to put into practice to follow best practices in cold calling? We mentioned them in the points above but how do you actually do these things in real life? Cold calling success is found in marketing automation. Marketing automation is software your organization should absolutely be using.
The name might be confusing, but marketing automation is not just for marketers. Sales people who understand and use marketing automation will be far more successful than everyone else. Because, as we shared, marketing automation gives you the power to nurture visitors, random strangers, and generate new leads. Marketing automation software does this through a variety of means which you can read more about elsewhere on this blog. The bottom line is this: Marketing automation takes the pain out of cold calling by making sure your potential leads are interested, wanting help, and will welcome your call. Now, when you perform cold calling you are merely following up on a lead that’s prepared and ready. Your cold calls are hot leads. All of this is thanks to marketing automation.
As you have learned then, the idea that cold calling is a waste of time is in fact not completely true. By following just a few simple cold calling best practices and using your marketing automation software effectively you will learn to love cold calling and your business will be better as a result.