Does Cold Calling Work? – Future of Cold Calling
Cold calls are unscheduled calls made by sales representatives to a person or business in order to sell a product or service to them. The person or business at the receiving end is generally contacted unexpectedly for the very first time.
Whether it is B2C or B2B, we all dread cold calls. You are in the middle of a presentation to your teammates about the new launch and you receive a cold call urging to engage you for a couple of minutes. It would not only ruin your flow but also the pitch that the calling salesperson had prepared. This is what generally happens in a cold call.
Is Cold Calling Effective – Does Cold Calling still work?
If you are one of those salespeople who wonder “does cold calling work”, read the survey that says only 0.3% calls result in appointments. Further, only 21% of these appointments resulted in actual sales.
Cold calls are time-consuming, frustrating and sometimes even abusive for both parties. Sales representatives call hundreds and thousands of prospects just to get a handful of customers out of them. An experienced salesperson can spend up to 7.5 hours to get a qualified lead that results in an appointment.
That being said, you definitely need an answer to “is cold calling effective”. Well, of course not! Cold calling has frozen today. There are several reasons that have a hand in making this tactic an old school practice. If you are still asking your salespeople to cold call, here are some reasons why they should stop it.
Why Doesn’t Cold Calling Work Anymore?
The history of cold calling dates back to 1873 when John Patterson documented it for the first time. In the last 146 years, the technology, industrialization, globalization and buying processes have changed drastically. However, we are still stuck in this old-school practice. This is the main reason why cold calling is not effective anymore.
1. The caller identification technology enables the prospect to ignore unwanted calls.
2. Buyers are more informed today and thus do not fall into the seller’s trap easily.
3. The increasing number of cyber-scams and fraud cases makes buyers more cautious.
4. The increasing mobility and work pressure for a buyer make the seller’s cold call attempts futile.
5. When everything is available on the internet, why should a buyer engage in talking to a salesperson at an inconvenient time?
6. Let’s admit, we all hate talking to strangers. A buyer hates taking unsolicited calls as much as the seller hates making them.
7. The fast-paced life of today has no room for attending unwanted calls. Moreover, people have become aware that they have the right to their privacy and convenience of rejecting a call.
If Cold Calling Isn’t Effective, Then What Is?
Cold calling isn’t completely dead. The market will stagnate if salespeople stop calling new prospects to grow their market share. However, the method, time and process of contacting new leads have to change with technology. We can say that the coming years will witness cold calling 2.0.
1. Start warm-calling instead of cold-calling
The salespeople should not call prospects that are not active buyers or are not looking for buying the relevant goods or services. Only quality prospects should enter the sales funnel and be contacted by the sales representatives.
The sales process should not start with calling. Instead, approach your prospects through emails and targeted marketing campaigns. Calling should be your last resort, that too, only for those who show interest in your emails and social media marketing.
Through certain functionalities of the CRM applications, you can analyze and understand the amount of interest that your prospect has shown in your email campaigns. You can set such reports as triggers either to send another email to your prospect or to your sales representatives to contact them for the next step.
The future of cold calling is warm calling. There are many advantages of warm calling over cold calling. If your sales process still relies on the fact that cold calling is effective, it is time to read this and shift your sales process towards warm calling.
You cannot target your prospect unless you know enough about their work and industry. It is always a good idea to connect with your prospects on social media like Twitter and LinkedIn before targeting them for your marketing campaigns. Understand their work and prepare a customized email campaign for them.
This would typically be the first step in your sales process. It is also a way to warm-up your leads before you contact them directly through phone or meet them face-to-face. Your prospect will also feel delighted to meet or talk to a salesperson who already knows the problems that their company is facing and is ready with a solution.
3. Choose the correct day and time to call your prospect
Simply calling for the whole day and all the days of the week will not give you positive results. Rather, you should plan your calls wisely.
According to a survey, the best day of the week to call a new prospect is Wednesday. Tuesday and Thursday are also considered good days to connect with your prospects for the first time, whereas, Monday and Friday (especially the second half) are the days when prospects are most likely to ignore the sellers’ calls.
The best time of the day to call your prospects is between 11 PM – 12 PM and 4 PM – 5 PM. During the morning hours, people are busy in meetings and planning for the entire day. Between 1 PM – 3 PM, people usually take their lunch and are less efficient during these hours.
Additionally, it is best to call your prospect within an hour after your lead shows interest in your marketing campaign or your content. This can be judged using an advanced version of CRM.
4. Be ready with numbers
A salesperson backed-up with concrete data to prove his product or service a good solution for the prospect is sure to perform better than others. If you successfully sail through the first few seconds of your call, you can win your prospect to take an appointment by showing up the relevant statistics that explain your prospect the need of investing in your product or service.
Also Read: How to Get Past the Gatekeeper – 5 Proven Strategies that really work
4. Customer Engagement
Once the sales representative has qualified a lead, there should be a proper sales process in the organization that can engage the customers and leads them towards a successful deal. To start with, the salesperson can ask a lot of questions to the prospect to customize his pitch to address the prospect’s pain points.
Next, the organization can make some relevant content available to its leads and customers through emails or its website. Further, the organization can make use of technology to study the interest of those leads depending upon the links that they click. This can further help the salespeople in preparing themselves for the deal.
Without a well-structured sales system, qualified leads will not be able to make it through the successful deals. Whether they are cold calls or warm calls, everything will go in vain.
5. Ask for referrals
Even after you warm-up your leads, there is no guarantee that all your “warmed-up” leads will agree to meet you or will be ready to buy. In that case, just remember that professional networking works. Ask referrals of their industry friends who might show interest in your products or services.
Do not forget this rule of sales – a warmed-up lead might generate another warmed-up lead before it gets cold. Saying – Hello sir, do you have a few minutes to spare and listen about this amazing accounts management tool that I have to offer you – will not be as effective as saying – Hello sir, Mr. Spears provided me your reference to discuss this amazing accounts management tool. Can you spare a few minutes to listen about the tool because I believe it will prove to be a good solution to your accounts related problems?
Long thing short, the answer to the question ‘Does cold calling work’ is no. However, a new version of cold calling, called the warm-calling, works. Additionally, there are many other things to be kept in mind while implementing the warm-calling strategy.
Nonetheless, the easiest way to understand and implement the complexity of shifting the cold-calling approach to its latest version is hiring a B2B sales consulting firm that can help you in mending your sales processes as per the latest market and technology trends.