It is an old term that tends to send shivers down the spine of most. Cold Calling. Perhaps you have been on the receiving end of a cold call poorly conducted. But done well, cold calling remains a valuable and effective tactic for finding new prospects for your business, you just have to make sure you are doing it right.
This blog looks at where we are at with cold calling. It breaks down the key differences between cold and warm calling, That is, what they mean, which is better, and how to master each approach.
Cold Calling Definition
Cold calling is contacting any prospect who currently is not “raising their hand” at the moment. So even if you call your best client and ask for business, guess what? When you call them, it’s still a “cold call” because the prospect wasn’t raising their hand nor asked to be contacted nor was expecting your call. It is still an interruption. And you know what? That is okay!
A salesperson should not base the prospect’s “temperature” on how much they know about the prospect but rather, how much the prospect knows and has an interest in the product or service a salesperson is selling.
For sales reps, businesses, and everyday people, cold calls are viewed as an annoying practice. It’s any wonder that 48% of sales professionals are afraid of making them (valueselling.com), but cold calling is still prevalent in today’s B2B sales environment.
Many sales professionals believe cold calling is dead because of its tendency to be unenjoyable. Thankfully there is a “warmer” alternative to this perceived relic.
What is Warm Calling?
There is one key difference between cold and warm calling: warm calling involves contacting a prospect that has had prior contact with you or your business. Because they have shown some form of interest in your business, your call does not come as a surprise.
By establishing contact with a prospect before you call, you will have already built a certain level of trust with them. Because of this, potential customers will be more likely to listen to your pitch and consider whether your products can fix their current issues.
IS COLD CALLING DEAD?
As opposed to cold calling, warm calling can be a more efficient way to generate leads and boost sales. But does that mean that cold calling is “dead” as so many in the sales world have been declaring of late?
The short answer is no! Cold calls have their place, and always will. But if your sales team jitters at the thought of cold calling, then why not warm them up?
6 WAYS TO WARM UP YOUR COLD CALLS
Whether your company already uses warm calling, or if you’re still making cold calls, there are always improvements you can make. Here are some ways to ensure that your outreach is effective:
1. Clean Up Your Data
Cold calling is already a daunting task. But doing it with bad contact data guarantees failure.
Low-quality data is the biggest problem facing B2B sales reps today. In fact, inaccurate data undermines customer experience efforts for 69% of organisations (edq.com/contact-data-quality-statistics/). Rather than cramming in as many cold calls as possible, take a step back and make data maintenance a priority. Ultimately, without it, a massive amount of the calls you make will be dead on arrival.
2. Prioritise Your Research
The prospect may not expect your call, but that is no excuse for you to be unprepared. Gather every bit of information you can about the company. That includes, goals, recent performance, growth, potential needs, and so forth.
When faced with a long list of prospects to cold call, sales reps understandably avoid extensive, time-consuming research. But entering any call completely blind is yet another recipe for failure.
3. Actively Listen to Your Prospect
When cold calling a prospect, it is important to remember they have not shown interest in your business. Pressuring them with a quick pitch of your products puts you on the fast track to rejection.
Instead, look to learn the information that your data and research have not provided. Show you are eager to learn about the issues they face. Surprisingly in return, they will want to learn about your business. Try it!
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4. Social Selling
Social media has changed the way we do business. That includes how we reach potential buyers. It can be a valuable tool at every step of the selling process. That is, from prospecting and targeting to engaging and connecting with buyers.
Using social channels is effective in initiating your audience. The next step after the initial touchpoint is releasing your best pitch. This means nurturing your message. Social selling takes a little more patience, but allows an easy communication flow between conversations, messaging, and touchpoints. Is your sales team ahead of the competition in Social Selling?
Compared to B2C selling, B2B selling relies heavily on building and fostering customer relationships. And those customers can be a golden ticket to your next business partnership. Rather than calling a prospect out of the blue with nothing but your sales pitch to back you up, consider seeking a referral. See if you have any mutual connections with the contact in question that can give you an introduction. It is more than worth the effort!
6. Direct Mail
It may seem like an outdated method given current technology, but direct mail campaigns are still effective. 3% of B2B sales and marketing leads come from direct mail (2020 B2B Marketing Report, 13th Edition), compared to 16% from telemarketing.
While it requires a bit more work, sending a prospect a piece of personalised direct mail before contacting them with a pitch significantly increases your chances of making a sale.
- It’s clear that sales has changed dramatically with the digital advances of the past decade.
- The cliché of a sales rep rifling through a stack of anonymous prospects is no longer accurate.
- There are new ways to get in touch with a prospect before dialling their phone number. Take advantage of them!
- Examine ways to introduce warm calling techniques and perfect your cold calls with the right data, preparation, and communication.
Make your team the first to master turning cold calls into warm calls, get them on a bespoke HBB Group Social Selling Workshop. This can be onsite or virtual, it is all tailored to your team and up to you. Contact the HBB Group 1300 833 574 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an exciting conversation.