Not a day goes by that I don’t see numerous bloggers, tweeters, etc. arguing passionately that cold calling is dead.
The problem is that people are confusing cold calling with outbound calling. Picking up the phone still works as part of a Sales & Marketing approach that integrates inbound marketing, social media, great content, lead nurturing, etc.
The part that has fallen by the wayside is the “cold” not the “calling.”
InsideView recently shared Why Cold Calling is the Bottom of the Barrel, here’s an excerpt:
Some of the best businesses in the world were built from cold calling and that was because they found a way to exploit a technology (phones) using a team of people to saturate a market of people that loved to talk to other people. That hasn’t changed a whole lot in the past few years other than the fact that the phone is no longer the best technology to use because decision makers have less time. Sales 2.0 savvy teams will be the next wave of revenue generators for companies, starting in the technology space and moving like a wave through different industries. Social selling will hit resistance and may not apply at all to some companies (I can’t imagine which ones but I’m sure they exist).
I responded in the comments and wanted to share my thoughts here:
So, I am going to split hairs. I think people use the term cold calling when they want to position alternative methods of selling that usually involve their services or products. I agree that no one should be "cold" calling anymore – meaning having a name & number, but lacking a compelling reason to call.
But, Sales Reps can still have success using the information available to them to do targeted outbound calling. In my view, the calling part still works.
Let me be clear, I am not arguing that there aren’t numerous ways to build trust and get found. But not every buyer will be identified that way and not every company has the budget, brand or inbound machine that can fuel their revenue engine.
The danger here is that our sales people believe the mantra “outbound no longer works." Quota achievement %s are lower than they ever have been before; it appears many of them are buying in to the hype.
Tools like InsideView are fabulous as part of strategy combining marketing efforts, social media and savvy outbound calling. We, ourselves, use it daily and with great success. The key to building a revenue machine is to have ALL the tools in your bag that will allow you to achieve your goals and (insert the new term/concept for cold calling) should be one of them.
Ken Krogue from InsideSales.com joined the conversation as well, writing:
While I don’t totally agree with InsideView that cold calling is “bottom of the barrel,” the shifting sands of demand generation and sales intelligence in 2011 means that true “cold” calling will almost be misnomer in the future. Our ability to “predict” who and when to call, what to say when we do, and the value proposition a prospect will most readily respond to will ever increase as the sophistication of the tools we use increases with it.
And finally, one more perspective I found interesting. This one from Brian Berlin at Straightline Strategies:
I've managed a lot of sales people over the last few decades that resisted the idea of cold-calling, and I believe a key reason is they believe they're violating someone's space. Another hidden objection is the fact that sales people don't like to look bad (or sound bad in this case), and if they're unprepared, the prospect will eat them alive.
Turns out, prospects may not be that upset about being interrupted by a cold call. Inc. Magazine identifies a Marketing Sherpa survey where only 11 to 17 percent of business prospects were annoyed by the cold call while 45 to 53 percent said the call had influenced their consideration for the vendor short list.
To launch the sales process you have to have a conversation with your buyer. At the end of the day does it really matter what path you take to get to that conversation?
Let’s not kick outbound calling to the curb just because it needs a name change – let’s just change the name.
(Photo credit: ogoco)