Gather data and learn the needs of your prospects – all before picking up the phone.
I’ve written plenty about the plethora of data available to marketers in the age of “big data,” so it surprises me that companies still cold call as part of their overall industrial marketing strategy.
But it turns out that while cold calling still takes place, its days may be numbered.
Derek Singleton, Managing Editor at The B2B Marketing Mentor, recently asked inbound marketing and sales experts whether or not cold-calling still works. His synopsis of the discussion is striking.
Anneke Seley, Founder and CEO of Reality Works Group, says she hasn’t “used the term cold call in about 20 years. In this day and age, there’s no excuse for a call to be cold anymore” because there’s so much information available about prospects on the Web.
Today, it’s relatively easy to learn more about your prospect by connecting on LinkedIn or following them on Twitter. And making this connection can help get your foot in the door so you can reduce the “cold” element of calling.
The group dubbed this “warm calling”–calling only the individuals that have an interest in hearing from you and have been primed to receive your call. While they may not have asked for a call, ringing their phone isn’t as unexpected as an unsolicited call.
As Derek mentioned in his blog post, it certainly is easy to learn more about your prospect. I routinely use LinkedIn and Twitter to not only do my due diligence on our prospects, but also to prime the pump with a non-threatening introduction.
I’ve used the following scenario before:
You have 10,000 new prospects that you want to contact. How can you possibly reach them all? Even at an unrealistically-quick 1-minute per phone call pace, calling each prospect would take 21 work days. At a time when companies are reluctant to add additional labor expenses, would this make sense?
It’s simply not practical to cold call when you can now quickly gather data on, and thus qualify, your leads. As more and more information is gathered on a lead, a “lead score” is developed. Once that lead hits a certain score, it may be time for a call or a LinkedIn InMail message.
If you’re still cold calling, it’s probably time to take a good hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if there is a better way. To echo the words of Ms. Seley above, “In this day and age, there’s no excuse for a call to be cold anymore.”
Photo credit: starmanseries