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BizCloud® Network | July 24, 2014

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Is Cold Calling Dead?

Is Cold Calling Dead?

For professionals who dealt with consumers such as mortgage and real estate brokers, cold calling died years ago when the FTC launched the Do-Not-Call List. For business to business service cold calling is still a great method for reaching potential prospects. It is true that cold calling alone is not effective enough by itself. With the evolution of technology, cold calling needs to be viewed as another communication method alongside web, print, email, social networking, etc.

Since we are not a consumer oriented site, we focus on small business and mid size companies, and in both cases I argue that cold calling and the need for an outbound sales staff to pro-actively target accounts is in demand more than ever.
Cold calling, if executed well, is still a very cost-effective tool in communicating the business value of your products and services.

The problem with cold calling is that most organizations view the inside sales team as a one trick pony. Yes, they are supposed to make calls, engage with prospects, dial for dollars, etc. Maybe follow up with a mailer or an effective email campaign designed by the marketing department.

What we have noticed is that most organizations have marketing and sales operate in separate silos. Each silo works independently of one another. Management is engaged at the top of the pyramid, and the sales and marketing staff interact during trade shows and company events. The marketing department participates in trade shows, designs the generic mailer collaterals for each industry vertical solution. Maybe they write a few case studies on the product and how it is used in the industry. They provide a nice piece of collateral describing the features, benefits, etc.
The inside sales folks are then handed this material, they attend a training with the marketing department, and are left responsible for making outbound calls, sending collaterals using the Customer Relationship Management system and following with the prospects who attended the trade shows.

The problem with the above is timing. By the time marketing designs the case studies, draft the collateral and participates in the trade shows, the sales rep is presenting the old product use cases and last year’s generic case studies to the audience on the phone. The material that marketing produces in masses does not speak to the needs of individual clients and prospects, but rather to predefined demographics that management identified a year earlier.

This methodology may have worked in the past, but with the amount of information overload, SPAM blocking, filters, various gate keepers, and lack of participation in trade shows by customers due to the current economic meltdown and increased competition, I argue that this can no longer be an effective method in penetrating new business opportunities. This is the reason for the death of the sales man and the death of traditional marketing. Today I received a 50% discount coupon on attending Web 2.0 conference. This would have been unheard of 2 years ago. Simply going to conferences is a great way to inform your competition as to what your business is up to, but you no longer engage with prospects due to the budget costs.

The economic downturn has had an impact on turnover of staff and talent. This is the wrong approach. A huge turnover of talent in each firm, as they all struggle to meet the needs placed on them by the market, is a waist. Companies should think about the money they spend on recruiters and benefits, and retool the sales and marketing staff instead of replacing staff. We have seen this lead to the ultimate turnover of the executive team. The VP of sales or marketing gets replaced after he has replaced the sales reps and managers with little result. The new VP of sales gets on board and decides that the problem is the CRM system or the lack of outbound sales activity and cracks the whip on the sale staff. He or she fires half of the sales team and brings new bus load of ex-coworkers on the job. They each bring a new rolodex, a few trusted customers that result in some sales. For a few months they taste the success, and after those contacts and deals are depleted, they face the same dilemma as the previous team- lack of results, lots of hours and effort in trying to reach new prospects via trade shows, phone calls and email campaigns, and are later replaced again with a new team and a new rolodex.

What some sales and marketing managers fail to realize is that the process of reaching the customer has changed. You have to have a multi-pronged approach in order to be able to penetrate accounts effectively. Having traditional marketing and sales departments each working within the company silos will no longer pay off. Yes, you can have exceptions to this. I argue that even if you have a revolutionary product in today’s competitive landscape, your marketing, public relations, direct and inside sales need to work in unison.

Bizcloud has created a novel way of working with organizations to help integrate the needs of future prospects and clients and place that at the core of the originations and unify all activity of your company on reaching a multilateral communication methodology to your prospects.

Our methodology combines the best of blogging, web content generation, SEO, case study creation, outbound phone calls, lead capture forms, videos, emails combined with proactive outbound telemarketing campaign and sales coaching. This requires much more coordination and effort by every department in the organization rather than a simple sales training. It is not a simple endeavor in its self and requires much more buy-off from every silo in the company.
This is a tough challenge, but results are much more tangible and its impact is immediate. Through our in-house developed methodologies, we have been able to integrate our own outbound sales calls with just-in-time direct marketing pieces, email, web, SEO, vertical and regional channel activity that leverages all available communication methods for reaching prospects.

It is one thing to fish leads and opportunities for others, it is much more difficult and time consuming to teach someone how to fish. Regardless of the needs of your organization, Bizcloud can deliver on both fronts. If you are looking to learn how to combine your sales and marketing strategy, you came to the right place. Our articles and content and Bizcloud.net site can provide you with the basic skills needed to evolve your ways and find prospects. If sales and marketing is an art, then training the artists cannot be done in masses, it requires individual attention and a deep dive by Bizcloud expert team to assist you in realizing the goals of your organization.
In order to truly refine the system and process, we suggest you consider having a Bizcloud trained and certified business experts to work with your organization and apply our skill sets to increase your bottom line.

Simply put, Bizcloud has a team of experts who can consult with your organization on leveraging the best aspects of web 2.0 technology, as part of integral process that combines with sales and marketing, all focused on the needs of your prospects so you can attain your organizational goals.

Remember, we will be happy to find deals and opportunities for you and get paid based on results, or we can demonstrate our methodology by tailoring it to the needs of your business and help you establish a foundation for excellent predictable performance for the future. Typically, these two activities are done in unison so you can increase your funnel by leveraging Bizcloud in the short term and learn how to be the master of your own business destiny for the long haul.

Comments

  1. Vahid,

    Your Title caught my attention because I am currently reading the book “Cold Calling is a Waste of Time.” The book points out, as you do, that there are many more productive ways to prospect – most of which involve the use of technology.

    That said, the points I would like to make in favor of cold calling are:

    1. It will always work to some extent. Granted, the numbers will be low in general, but mostly the success has to do with the presentation and the offer. If you have a professional reaching out to a targeted audience, you will see a higher level of success.

    2. For companies (or more likely independent business owners) that have more “free time than marketing money” it can be a great way to build the business to the point where they are getting referrals.

    Some businesses are more conducive to phone selling than others, but in general, if someone does not have the right skills and understand the psychology of sales, they will likely be wasting their time cold calling. If done correctly, you can do very well with just a telephone and a phone book :-)

  2. The cure for the common cold call is referral marketing. Developing referral marketing strategys makes cold calling not as important. The main advantage to referral markenting is trust and loyalty that you in most cases you do not achieve in cold call customers. The customer you get by cold callings is just a cold call away from leaving. Developing Referral Based Marketing Strategys allow more to grow their business more effectively.

  3. I totally disagree ref; cold calling being dead/redundant.

    My business enjoys significant success using this method on behalf of clients as part of our successful sales lead generation service.

    Its as simple as this: Right product to the right people at the right time at the right price. As far as the more complex services and solutions are concerned, its pretty similar except it takes more time to build dialogue and trust with some email communication support. Top tip is ‘BUY GOOD DATA’, ‘HAVE CLEAR, SMART OBJECTIVES’ and ‘VERY MOTIVATING KEY MARKETING MESSAGES’. USPs are not as crucial as many make out as most are out of date in no time in any case according to my experiences and in depth research.

    Clearly, as Duane Plapp puts it above, referral and recommendations are the way to go but you cannot always rely on such activity when your chips are down and/or you are a new business with an insufficient network to refer or recommend you.

    Deand for our sales lead generations services in particular are really taking off and thats down to word of mouth, some networking, oh and some recommendations and referrals from our happy existing clients..

    If you need help finding new business during this so called recession, you should be speaking to us:-)

    KR
    Duane Lacey

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