Is cold calling still effective these day

Lots of techniques have evolved , thanks to Digital Marketing in reaching out to the prospective Buyers. I am discussing my thoughts on why sales people should Cold Call and continue this Channel of outreach to their buyers.Every Sales person at multiple levels is expected to prospect and get new buyers into the Top of the Funnel which they can nurture in the Middle of the Funnel and take it to the Bottom of the Funnel to close.

In the Pre Email and Pre Internet days, the only option that was left with the sales person was to cold call or to cold knock. Now, with Internet being a leveller and with the entire world as our market, the global competition is competing with us in our locality which had been our stronghold a decade ago because of our local presence.

I see a lot of articles that talks about cold calling dying. It is true that Digital Marketing has matured  and so many channels have opened in the B2B world for us to reach the buyers. Buyers are also searching for information and taking decisions on the internet ever than before. A combination of SEO and Content Marketing (not including the Paid Channels) is spoken/written about as an alternate method to cold calling.

The Sales People and the Senior Management who read these articles get carried away by this and have convinced themselves that they should not call any prospects and should only begun relying on email Marketing and Social Media Marketing in addition to the company giving them leads through other channels.

Unfortunately, this does not necessarily bring in the desired results. Let me explain why?

Cold Calling, as a generic term is a way to reach out to someone who you do not know or who does not know you and sell your products and services.

I accept that cold calling to sell products which does not have great margins and repeat business potential is a bad idea. This is because the Cost of Acquisition of Customers (CAC) will be greater than Revenue that will be given by a customer. What happens when the deal values are bigger and a good portion of the solution is to be customized.

The hypothesis of SEO and Content Marketing is –

  1. Optimise multiple pages using one keyword per page
  2. Place your digital assets in multiple websites
  3. People will use certain keywords to search when they are on the lookout for certain products or services
  4. Your page will get found and your content will be read
  5. Interest will be generated and they will reach out to you

It is also known that a person who browses will not have the patience to go beyond two pages in an internet search to look for information and the right information is given to the users these days because of the contextual search results provided by the search engines.

This means that our content for these keywords need to be in the first two pages of the internet which means we have to be in the top 20. How many companies has the skills and the content that can compete for these keywords and how often can you ensure that your page keeps popping up in the first or second page?

Does this mean that you will never be found by the buyers and never be called? So, what is the choice? When 100 people can be taken in the Top of the Funnel and only 20 comes in, What happens to serious buyers who do not find you on their search or what happens to the buyers who do not necessarily search the internet and relies only on vendors they know?

Connecting on Social Media is another good method, but how many of our connect requests are being accepted and how many of the accepted requests leads into conversations.

Are you leaving a big % of business to your competitors because you are not doing outbound.

On a typical day, a buyer gets at least 200 cold emails (a ballpark) in addition to internal emails and existing vendor emails and the bulk of these emails go into Spam. Who has the patience and the time to read all these emails and respond?

The fundamental question is – How do you let the buyers know about your existence that your Marketing is unable to reach?

Long story short – Cold Calling coupled with a few smart techniques!!!!.

What actually is Cold Calling?

As stated, cold calling is another channel in addition to the other channels. The purpose of the cold call is not to sell but to tell. The idea is to get the person to listen for just 45 to 60 seconds and schedule a subsequent meeting to speak in detail. Many people assume that the purpose of a Cold Call is to sell and hence say that it is impossible.

With around 20 years of Cold calling by myself and by the teams I have led, i accept it is frustrating. However, it is also true that many of the cold calling scripts are written for the company or for the Founders and not for the buyers and hence it is not surprising that buyers hang the phone on the sales people leaving them very demotivated.

We will look at how we can make cold call work in future articles.

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