Cold calling for sales appointments has for decades been the foundation that successful sales careers were built on, but no longer according to some in the sales industry.
‘Cold calling is dead,’ state the many obituaries on social and business media. ‘Long live the new electronic, multi-channel approach,’ proclaim the adverts, articles, email shots, and media posts.
So is it true, do sales people no longer need to make cold calls to arrange sales appointments with prospects?
If it is true there will be a huge sigh of relief from the multitudes of great presenters and closers that hate making cold calls to get in front of buyers. Cold calling has always been one of the attributes sales recruiters look for in job applicants. There are also 3 other indicators of successful sales people that experienced recruiters want to see.
If sales people no longer need to spend time on cold calling there will be loud cheers from sales managers and directors as they reach for their calculators to work out how much to increase sales targets now that their teams have more selling time.
The Evidence for the Demise of Cold Calling
The premise, put forward as the reason for the demise of cold calling, is that there are now so many ways to contact prospects that cold calling is redundant. When communication is combined with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, sales people will know so much about their prospect that they can target them with sniper like accuracy using the channel that will be most effective.
There are several theories being proposed for how this new age approach will work. A blitz effect, where the prospect receives personalised messages via a range of media. The messages can be interesting and informative, and use a consultative style of sales pressure to influence prospects to respond or make them more susceptible to future approaches.
A relationship building approach where the prospects get to know the sales person and a level of trust is created before any sales contact is made.
An awareness campaign that gets the sales message in front of the prospect repeatedly so that when the time comes for a purchase to be made they almost sub-consciously consider the supplier.
Should We Kill Off Cold Calling?
Having read the assortment of informative views on this new approach to target marketing prospects, perhaps it may more effective to give cold calling a makeover rather than euthanise it.
Modern sales and marketing methods provide very effective tools. When used skilfully they offer tremendous benefits to any sales operation. There is no doubt that businesses taking advantage of these cutting-edge methods will generate more warm enquiries from prospects.
But, not all prospects will respond. In the past some prospects responded to advertising, some were more accepting of cold calls as a result of marketing, and some were very cold when called no matter how much marketing had been focused on them. The same is true today, at some point a prospect has to be asked the question and moved to the next step in the sales process, usually a sales appointment.
While cold calling will need to change to become part of the new sales approach, and adapt to be acceptable in today’s world, there will always be a need for someone to contact the percentage of prospects that do not respond to marketing.