Is Cold Calling Dead? No, But It Shouldn’t Be Your Main Sales Tactic

Todd Kunsman

Director of Marketing

12 minute read

Cold Calling Is Not Dead

Colding calling has been around for a while, especially as a sales tactic and it’s pretty obvious what it means.

But if we were to define cold calling, it would simply mean making an unsolicited call to someone to sell a product or services.

Now if you talk to many leaders in sales or marketing, you may have also come across the debate: is cold calling dead? A quick Google search will also drum up a ton of articles for either side of that argument.

Yet as the digital transformation continues, the evolution of sales, and how we connect with buyers, many argue cold calling is indeed dead.

Many times the debate also involves comparing cold calling to social selling, another hot topic among sales and sales leaders.

But is cold calling really dead? Absolutely not. Should cold calling be your main or leading sales strategy? Definitely not.

This post is broken up into three sections:

Why Cold Calling Is Not Dead

Although social media, mobile texting, email, and other online apps have made cold calling seem a bit outdated, there is still value in picking up the phone and having a conversation directly with a person.

While these things have all changed the sales game, here are a few reasons why you can’t completely rule out cold calling.

Human interaction matters

While the digital age made things faster without much verbal interaction, we’ve come to a point where actually having human interaction matters again.

Chatbots, Slack, an influx of email, social messaging has all made everything feel more impersonal. Actually picking up the phone and talking to someone brings that human element back to sales and business conversations.

Less miscommunication when you pick up the phone

This is one of my main reasons for getting on the phone. Emails can come off unintentionally short, crass, rude, the tone may seem off or the content can be misinterpreted.

Now, you have a back and forth email exchange that could end up frustrating or dragging something out that could quickly be fixed with a phone call.

Plus, you can get immediate feedback instead of back and forth chasing that can up being a complete time waster.

Learn about prospects personality

Somewhat similar to the above two points. Email, messaging hangouts/Skype/Slack, and even text can be hard to learn about prospects personality.

Getting to know your prospects and how they interact is important for knowing how to approach them in future communications.

You quickly learn likes, dislikes, preferred method of contact, how they speak and mannerisms, etc. All valuable info to either back off, provide more info, or how to stay in touch with them.

Your competitors probably AREN’T calling

Since there is so much debate about cold calling being dead, so many other techniques, and plenty of sales platforms, most likely your competitors aren’t calling much.

You might actually break through a channel that is now fairly under-utilized that can help you stand out among your peers.

Not a bad way to start off a potential sales relationship with a prospect, no?

4 Simple Colding Calling Tips for Success

While cold calling seems pretty simple or straightforward, there are actually a few tips and techniques to be successful.

There are certainly various thoughts here and as a salesperson, you may fully understand these tips.

But if you are coming back to cold calling and need a refresher, or are a young sales professional and need some simple guidance, the below is for you.

Create a targeted list

Before anything, you need to know your buyer personas. That is what industry, company size, specific job titles, what those job duties are, what challenges they have, etc.

It’s worth working with your company’s marketing department, so everyone is on the same page.

But this information will help you create a qualified list of great companies you want to talk with, get in front of, and ensure you are not wasting time on people who are not an excellent fit for whatever is you are selling.

Research the company

After getting your buyer personas and list of companies, you need to do some homework.

You never want to start awkwardly talking to an executive or decision maker and have no clue about the company or recent news.

This is where social listening, social selling, and Google news come in handy. But more on some of this a bit later.

Don’t start a convo with a sales pitch

This should not have to be mentioned, but the amount of pitches I get in calls and online is astounding.

Doing this right from the start is usually a quick way to be ignored or starting you off on the wrong foot with a prospect. Most likely you are not going to close a big deal on the first call and should use this time to build rapport.

Build a relationship with the person, learn about their challenges, and build a trust with them before going to a sales spiel.

Of course, you want to close a deal and get that commission check, but being too aggressive with a sales pitch up front is a disaster.

Related: Why Relationship Selling is STILL One of the Most Important Tactics Salespeople Need to Master

Leave the desperation behind before dialing

Whether your quarter is closing soon and you need to make sales or you desperately need a sale, leave it behind before calling.

People can feel the desperation and it’s never a great way to start a conversation. I’ve heard of this being a tactic sometimes to close a sale, but I see this more as a begging play.

I’ve been on the other end of this type of call and it has always left me a bit uncomfortable. Even if I feel for them and appreciate the honesty, the desperation tactic is a bad play.

Regardless if you are feeling that way or not when making a call, shake it off before you start calling anyone.

sales tactics

Sales Tactics to Incorporate with Cold Calling

While we know the value of calling and cold calls, it’s still important to incorporate these other tactics as well to your sales process.

Cold calling is not dead but needs to be approached carefully and combined with the below.

Email Outreach

Although email outreach might seem a bit outdated too, it can be less invasive of an outreach than calling first.

It also can give you insight into what prospects might think.

  • Are they just opening it?
  • Are they clicking any links too?
  • Are they replying back?

Sometimes if they are opening and clicking, this might be a good indication to pick up the phone and give them a call.

Of course, this can be challenging too as emails easily get buried or forgotten about. But it is a great place to start.

Social Media & Social Selling

While our team at EveryoneSocial are fans of cold calling and picking up the phone, it also can be more effective by using social media.

Sales being active on social media is dubbed social selling and is a necessity for boosting sales results.

Before doing any cold calling, it is good to start engaging on social media. Here are some social selling steps:

  • Follow and connect with certain prospects on social
  • Study your prospects posts and interests
  • Engage with their social content
  • Post and share content to your social accounts (brand & third-party)
  • Update your social profile so it doesn’t read like a resume
  • Monitor company news and brand mentions

Social selling might sound simple, but there is a technique to be successful in this strategy. Here’s a complete social selling guide that can help you start on the right path.

By regularly engaging with prospects on social media, you are establishing an online rapport and keeping your name in front of them.

This will greatly help you close more deals and when you start calling, you will have a better success rate.

Related: 7 Types of Content B2B Salespeople Should Be Sharing to Their Social Networks

Final Thoughts

The key to any sales outreach is that you add value with every touch. Phone, email, social, etc, if you are not providing solutions to problems and value, why should prospects care?

Even in this extremely digital atmosphere, cold calling is certainly not dead, but it cannot be your only or main sales tactic.

Additionally, the battle between people as to whether cold calling is dead or that social selling is better is really a waste of time. Because combining those and other sales tactics together will ensure conversations will have a favorable outcome regardless.

By deploying a unique sales strategy along with social selling software, Genesys amplified their won opportunities by 22% and increased their deal size by 165%. Download the Case Study.

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