It’s hard to imagine a world without the internet. How would we do our jobs? How would we connect with people? Our lives would look completely different. The craziest part? The internet hasn’t even been around that long. The World Wide Web didn’t become publicly available until August 6, 1991. One thing in particular that looked very different before the internet were marketing strategies.
Today, it’s safe to say that all marketing strategies encompass a mix of different digital components. You could almost call them digital marketing strategies instead of just marketing strategies now. So, what did a marketing strategy look like before the digital age? How did a company target its message to prospective customers? Answer: using B2B appointment setting.
If you look at a B2B marketing strategy from the 1970s or 1980s, you’ll find that it wasn’t much of a strategy at all. The idea was simple: you had a phone book, a phone, and a sales rep who made calls. Sure, there might have been other components like print ads, TV commercials, and radio ads to name a few. But the most effective way to promote your product back then was to simply pick up the phone and start having conversations. Over the years, as digital marketing has become more prominent, cold calling has slowly lost its appeal.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when creating a marketing strategy is not including cold calling because you think it’s outdated or doesn’t work.
Back in the day, picking up the phone to sell wasn’t a choice; it was the only option. There was no LinkedIn InMail messaging, no paid social media ads, and no Google. Your phone was the only way for you to talk to a prospect. You were the brochure, the website, the promotional video. You, as the salesperson, had to tell your business’s story, sell a product or service, and answer every question that was thrown at you. Now, there are so many digital mediums that can help you do this. Heck, these digital mediums could probably sell a product or service on their own. Should you just eliminate sales from the equation? Absolutely not.
Cold calling is still very much alive, here are a few reasons why:
- The power of a human connection. Too many people underestimate the power of a real human connection. When you combine talented salespeople with a proven process and powerful sales enablement content, you have yourself a great marketing strategy.
- Nothing beats a real conversation. Nothing can compare to a real conversation. No matter how authentic your website feels, it doesn’t have the same effect as a real conversation with a prospect. On a phone call, you can get personal and ask a prospect about their business and their specific needs. A website simply can’t do this.
- A phone call is the fastest way to sell. The cleansing process can’t be replaced with anything online. The fastest and most effective way to find a decision maker and learn more about their business is to call them. You can’t determine everything online. A LinkedIn profile or even a database can’t tell you a prospect’s pain points are or what their hesitations are about your specific product. Plus, if you’re trying to sell via email or LinkedIn, your first rejection will be your last rejection. The phone is more of a relationship building tool and you can follow up consistently as long as your salespeople know how to build strong connections with prospects.
Next time you find yourself doubting the power of a sales program, ask yourself, are you not including sales and cold calling in your marketing strategy because it doesn’t work, or because it’s hard?
Today, a marketing strategy looks a little different and contains components seen in the photo below. The word “marketing,” oftentimes throws people off. Even the most experienced people in the field think that a great business growth strategy should only contain marketing components: website design, social media, and ongoing optimizations, and so on. What used to come from a salesperson can now be said on a website or on a social media page.
What’s lost on many people is that the #1 way (still) to reach prospects and turn them into new customers is through phone calls. A traditional marketing plan assumes that you know who the decision maker is; you’ve identified your target customer and you know exactly who you’re gearing your message towards. But the truth is, if you’re not 100% sure that you’re targeting an individual who is the decision maker, you’re wasting your time.
Marketing professional don’t want anything to do with sales, for a number of reasons:
- They think it doesn’t work and feel negatively about it.
- They’re scared of rejection and don’t want to deal with it.
- They think the sales cycle is too ridiculously long.
The list goes on. But wouldn’t things be a lot easier if you could have a conversation with the human being who makes the decision for what you’re selling? Today’s marketing professionals see sales as a completely separate idea and concept; however, sales and marketing together make for an unbeatable combination, one that can grow your business bigger than you ever thought possible. Marketing and sales include different activities, but the end goal is the same—acquire new customers and grow your business.
Digital marketing services and sales should both be a part of your marketing strategy. The truth is, if you aren’t incorporating B2B appointment setting into your business growth plan, you don’t know much about business growth. Cold calling isn’t dead, it’s just evolving. You may think that everything a sales rep could say could be said on social media, on a piece of marketing collateral, or on your website. Then, you start thinking that what you really need is website development services or a social media marketing strategy. This is where you’d be wrong. You do need these things, but they should be used in tandem with the sales process to create an all-encompassing, killer marketing strategy.
Adding B2B appointment setting to your marketing strategy is simple.
Out of all marketing activities, cold calling is one of the few where things are always happening. You can have a conversation and actually cause things to happen instead of waiting for them to happen. This is not to say that other digital marketing strategies aren’t important, but without sales, you’re missing out on a lot of great opportunities. It shouldn’t be inbound vs. outbound marketing, it should be a combination of both.
When you look at a marketing strategy today, it’s basically jam packed with ways to attract a prospect. In other words, how to make yourself look attractive enough to a potential customer so that they buy your product or service. Instead of only trying to attract, why not also attack? Go out there and make things happen for yourself. Don’t wait until you’re attractive enough to get the attention of a prospect, go out there and “make the first move,” so to speak.
If you’re afraid of rejection, or afraid of what prospects might say to you, remember this—
If you’re a marketing manager in charge of bringing on new clients, and you’re not hearing the word “no,” you’re not talking to enough people. You’re doing it wrong.
If you want to grow your business, the conversation should include a yes, no, or not now. If people are liking your posts on social media or leaving reviews on your website, that’s great, but it’s not going to grow your business. It’s great for building brand awareness, but you won’t sell anything. Marketing and appointment setting should work together, you don’t have to choose one. Wrapped all in one, you could have the best marketing strategy of any company in town.
Can you wait for your marketing strategy to build interest for what you do or what you sell? Or do you need to act fast? For example, if you need 10 new software clients per month, can you rely on them to find you? No. Sales is the only way to build a predictable pipeline and it allows you to set realistic business growth goals for yourself. If you’re trying to grow, you need people on the phone selling your product or service.
If building an inside sales team isn’t an option, an outsourced sales team may be the way to go. Abstrakt Marketing Group offers both outsourced sales and marketing services, so you can grow your business effectively and surround your potential customers from every angle. Ready to get started? Book a meeting with us today.