Cold calling gets a bad rap—it’s a little old-fashioned, tedious, and prompts sales development representatives (SDRs) for many uncomfortable conversations. However, it leads to business growth. We hear you, but the success the method brings in for a company is irrefutable, and that’s why we’re here to tell you that cold calling isn’t dead; but instead, it has evolved.
Throughout this blog, we’ll focus on the following topics:
Before we start questioning the effectiveness of cold calling, it’s vital to understand what cold calling is. Cold calling is a B2B sales technique where SDRs call prospective businesses to try and convert them into customers. While it may seem like a simple task, there are specific strategies a sales team must follow to do it correctly. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t create an effective cold calling campaign, so it typically lacks an ROI.
- Telemarketing: Telemarketing is a sales and marketing strategy that focuses on B2C relationships. Telemarketing strictly focuses on selling products or services to consumers over the phone.
- Cold calling: Cold calling is the process of pitching or selling a product or service to other businesses. While cold calling primarily consists of calling other businesses on the phone, it also encompasses various B2B strategies such as cold emailing.
Ah, the golden question that every B2B company seeks an answer to—is cold calling dead? And the answer is no; cold calling is not dead. However, it is evolving, and there are better ways to approach cold calling today than in previous years.
A big component of cold calling is calling the right prospects at the right time, providing them with the correct information. With telemarketing, sales reps are handed a list of phone numbers and told to call them as quickly as possible to try and make a sale. Unlike telemarketing, B2B cold calling requires a well-thought-out sales strategy.
A cold calling strategy isn’t as easy as simply picking up the phone and dialing. When cold calling, an SDR has to be intentional about the list of prospects they call. This includes following up with hot leads in the sales pipeline and setting high-quality business meetings.
In addition to the calls themselves, an SDR has to make sure that proper prospecting methods are followed, such as email campaigns, newsletters, targeted social media ads, and more. Integrating these assets into your cold calling strategy supports top-of-mind awareness and increases the likelihood of setting an appointment with a prospective business.
As mentioned previously, cold calling efforts are only effective if you have a streamlined process in place. Sales teams are successful with cold calling when they:
When cold calling, prioritize quality over quantity. Connecting with the right prospects saves sales teams a lot of time researching and pitching products or services to businesses with no opportunity to close business or provide an ROI.
Lists of targeted businesses should be organized based on the type of opportunities you want, such as industry or business size. In addition, you should also keep track of who you’ve pitched already and when you pitched them. If you pitched them in the last week and they said no, then pitching them again would not be effective and would more than likely turn them away from doing business with you in the future.
Cold calling isn’t just about landing a sale; it’s about learning the prospect’s pain points and what matters most to them in a B2B partnership. Having meaningful conversations allows prospects and cold callers to build a relationship and gain trust over time.
A common mistake that SDRs make is following a cold call script too strictly and sounding more like a robot than a human. Although the goal is to secure an appointment, don’t push the sale too hard to turn the prospect off.
Developing a call schedule requires a bit of trial and error. When starting your cold call campaign, try calling various times throughout the day to discover which timeframes get you the most contact and pitches. Make a note of your findings and plan your calls accordingly.
No matter how skilled a cold caller is, they will all experience rejection at some point—more often than not. It may take some time to get used to being told “no,” but eventually, it will become second nature, and you’ll learn how to overcome objections.
Rather than attacking the prospect and getting defensive when they reject you, ask them to share why they turned you down. Without pushing for a sale, you may be able to unlock valuable information about your selling tactics and how to approach the pitch from another angle. Although cold calling may seem outdated, it provides sales reps with useful information and enables them to grow as better salespeople.
Cold calling provides several benefits for small to medium-sized businesses, including the opportunity to:
With cold calling appointment setting efforts, SDRs have the opportunity to speak with prospective businesses and determine if the partnership would even be a good fit. During the prospecting process, SDRs ask a list of qualifying questions to ensure that the prospect meets your standards as a qualifying lead. Lead qualification is essential because it ensures that you set appointments with prospects that bring you high-quality business opportunities.
Cold calling allows your sales reps to learn more about your target audience and what is most important to them. By asking probing questions, they have the opportunity to gather market research data and understand what means the most to them and where their pain points lay.
Salespeople are relationship builders, and what better way to build a relationship than to speak with them regularly? Cold calling allows sales teams to build relationships with prospective businesses and gain their trust over time. Even if they’re not ready to make a switch from your current partnership, if and when they are ready, they’ll think of your business.
When starting your cold calling program, it’s important to compare your outcomes with the industry standards. Here are some recent cold calling statistics gathered by SmallBizGenius:
Representatives must make an average of 18 calls to reach one potential buyer. A common mistake with cold calling is that many sales reps believe that after a prospect declines to meet for an appointment, they think they need to get them out of the sales pipeline. However, this is not effective in building a sustainable sales pipeline. Even if a prospect declines an initial meeting, follow up in a few months to see where they’re at with their partnership.
82% of buyers say they have accepted meetings with salespeople after a series of contacts beginning with sales cold calls. A keyword in this statistic is “a series of contacts.” As mentioned in the statistic above, it takes several contact attempts and discussions for a prospect to trust you and schedule a business meeting with you. After several phone calls to nurture the lead, more prospects will accept an appointment because they’ve developed trust in your business.
Nearly two-thirds (57%) of C-level executives say they value information from phone calls with sales reps. Cold calling still works, and we know this because C-level executives are gaining value from these phone calls. Even if they are initially against a meeting, they’re learning new information that provides value for them in the long run.
About 51% of company owners say they would rather hear from sales reps via phone compared to email, faxes, drop-in visits, and other media, according to phone call statistics. When smartphones started becoming popular, people became a lot more reachable. This makes cold calling more effective today than ever before because more and more people are using their phones for business. Smartphones allowed companies to expand the way they approach their sales and marketing efforts.
Ready to maximize your B2B lead generation efforts with a cold calling program? Contact us today to schedule a demo of how we generate leads for businesses in industries like yours!
There are many reasons why cold calling works—and the statistics speak for themselves. Now that we understand why it works, how can we effectively cold call leads? Let’s dive in:
Key decision-makers (KDMs) are the individuals that SDRs want to aim to set an appointment with. KDMs are the people who understand the product or service you’re pitching to them and obtain buying power, making it more likely to close business. By identifying and pitching a KDM, your calls will be much more effective than pitching someone who does not know what you’re talking about.
Before calling prospective businesses, do some research on the prospect. This could include the company itself or the individual you’re trying to contact. By researching the industry or the KDM, you have a higher chance of relating with them and understanding their personalities before speaking with them. Using this sales prospecting information can enable you to tailor your pitch and grab their attention from the get-go.
When pitching a KDM, it’s important to remember that they’re more interested in learning how you can benefit them than learning about the business you’re representing. During the introduction of your pitch, propose a benefit that’s so compelling that the prospect can’t say no to learning more.
After several months of implementing your cold calling services, track your efforts and determine whether your program has been successful. If it’s not providing you with the ROI you anticipated, uncover gaps in the process and strategize new ways to optimize your cold calling campaign.
Each business has its own approach to B2B lead generation. If you do not see the results you want from your current program, reassess what you have in place and discover ways to approach new business opportunities.
There are two ways to approach your B2B lead generation efforts: outbound sales and inbound marketing. Here are how companies approach both styles generating new business:
Cold calling is an outbound lead generation strategy. It’s performed by business development representatives (BDRs) because they are focused on leading businesses to new opportunities rather than making sales. BDRs are often outsourced because they provide businesses with a greater list of prospects and high-quality leads than an in-house team.
When practicing cold calling, something to consider is whether or not the process itself is efficient or the person that’s calling prospective businesses. This is an important thing to think about because it allows sales teams to either rethink how they approach cold calling or train their BDRs to land more appointments.
On the other hand, some businesses take a more indirect approach to B2B lead generation. Inbound marketing is when a company uses strategies to bring a company to them rather than directly reaching out to the prospect. Successful inbound marketing is achievable through website optimization, SEO best practices, and targeted social media ads.
While inbound marketing can be successful, it is even more successful when you implement a cold calling program in addition to your inbound marketing efforts. Integrating a cold call program ensures that each lead sent your way is qualified and meets your business criteria. Without cold calling, there are very few ways to qualify leads, if at all. Anyone can fill out form fills or subscribe to a newsletter. Even though these are leads, it doesn’t mean that they are high-quality leads that provide you with a substantial ROI.
Whether you practice outbound sales or inbound marketing, there are lead generation providers out there to help you scale up your small to medium-sized business. Cold calling is a proven process to generate leads, but only when done correctly.
If you want to optimize your business’s cold calling process, contact Abstrakt Marketing Group today to learn how!