Is cold calling dead?
As long as there are phones, there will be a place for cold calling in the B2B sales process. While we acknowledge that advanced technologies like Caller ID and call blocking software have made it more challenging, the phone is still the preferred method to connect with B2B clients.
Relying solely on a network, social media, or email will lower your conversion percentage - so it is critical that cold calling remains part of your prospecting strategy.
A good salesperson will know how to adapt to technological changes to reach prospects - even the busiest people - on the call list. In this blog, we outline some of the most common challenges and offer some tips to sharpen your cold calling skills to ensure this strategy remains an important part of your sales and marketing program.
How to Reach Extremely Busy Prospects
Technology and busy schedules have made it increasingly difficult to reach people over the phone. Just getting five minutes with a prospect seems like a daunting task.
Despite constant changes in the business world, effective salespeople have learned new techniques to reach prospects.
Jill Konrath, the renown sales strategist and author, popularized the SNAP system for how to cut through time constraints. These principles from her book, SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today's Frazzled Customers, are valuable for your sales team reaching prospects.
- Simple: Keep the message short, succinct, and to the point. Why are you calling and what are you offering?
- iNnvaluable: Clearly identify the value you are looking to add to the prospect’s company or the solution that addresses a need.
- Aligned: Meet the prospect where they are by understanding their position, timeframe, or constraints.
- Priority: Always stay top-of-mind as the trusted adviser and value provider. When the prospect digests the information from your phone call, they will be ready to follow up.
Unfortunately, many sales teams have given up on cold calling because of technology and schedule changes. They are now relying on cold emails, but there is a myth that sending out a batch of emails is a better option than picking up the phone.
No Phone Contact Does Not Mean Email Preference
If a prospect does not answer the phone, will not return your voicemail, and is too busy to discuss your solution, that does not logically mean they will return an email. This pool of prospects simply will not respond at all.
Fortunately, the tough-to-reach crowd represents a small segment of the business population. But, if you build your sales process around trying to reach these individuals, then you are setting yourself up for frustration and wasted time.
The key is not to focus on this pool. There is still valuable information to be gleaned as you reach out to these prospects, such as the demographics of people who show zero willingness to respond to you, which helps refine your marketing database. But, not as much time should be spent targeting these businesses.
Why Cold Calling is Still Effective
There is a larger population of B2B prospects that are willing to have a conversation about your solution or how your company can help them capitalize on an opportunity. You just have to understand how to reach them. And, cold calling is still the preferred method to make the initial contact.
Your sales rep will be able to cover more ground in a one-on-one engagement with a prospect over the phone than any other prospecting channel. Whereas, sending out a mass email campaign requires the prospect to actually open the email, read the content, click on a link for more, and reply/call your company back.
The chances of a prospect actually completing that process through an email campaign
According to InsideSales.com, the conversion rate on a cold call sales plan is 5-10 percent. This compares to less than 1 percent for a cold email campaign, according to B2B Marketing Zone.
Clients who rely on an email campaign to initiate contact with a prospect try to justify it as more timely and cost-efficient to send out a mass number of emails to a list of prospects than sitting on the phone.
But, we would argue that’s an inefficient “Hare” mentality covering a lot of ground, but never really winning the attention and connection game. Whereas, the successful “Tortoise” mentality is to make the connection through a disciplined cold call approach, convert those connections into actionable leads, and advance to scheduling a Sales Meeting.
That’s how cold calling outperforms an email campaign. And, why cold calling is still a valuable way for your sales team to drive business. The sales industry simply has to adapt to technological changes in order to reach B2B clients who need your company’s product or solution.Learn how ProSales Connection helps companies reach qualified prospects with our Sales Appointment Setting program that connects your business with real prospects.