Cold calling is tough. Super tough. Some claim cold calling is dead. Other's say cold calling doesn't work. While all of these are true, none of them is 100% true and valid for every sales scenario. B2B software sales are still largely driven by sales teams calling on their target accounts and figuring out opportunities and closing sales with people they never knew before. So no, cold calling is not dead. It's very much alive and still a big part of how sales happen in the B2B world. Now here's an important point though: cold calling done randomly doesn't work. Cold calling to random contacts that you can get for free online is useless and an utter waste of time.
Cold calling into accounts you know nothing about is like banging your head against the wall. When you are selling your brand new product or service, I agree that you must explore and optimize all possible channels of generating warm leads including inbound marketing, SEO, email marketing, webinar marketing and so on. But you must realize that for a large percentage of B2B products and services, nothing happens without human contact and relationship building.
There is no escaping from getting on the phone and building a rapport with your prospects unless you are selling a simple sub-$100 web-based application. So the important thing to consider is how can you maximize the productivity of your sales team's efforts by replacing random cold calling with smart and educated cold calling.
Random cold calling is when:
- You pick up a list from any source available and start dialing
- You call into all sorts of companies without understanding whether or not they are qualified at a high level at least
- You don't know who your key stakeholders are
- You don't understand all necessary facts about your target accounts
- You rely on cheap or free sources of large number of contacts who may or may not care about you or your products/services
- You understand your target accounts and build a specific list based on criterion you know qualifies them at a high level.
- You spend the time (internally or by outsourcing) to understand 3-5 high-level facts about your target accounts that help you to pitch smartly and in a personalized manner.
- You call on contacts with roles and responsibilities that reflect your decision maker and who will clearly understand the value proposition you are trying to pitch and guide you in the right direction.
- You present your sales team with qualified accounts with role-based contacts that are a phone call away.
- You focus on specific data that directly drives productive conversations for the sales team.
- You focus on quality then on quantity.
- You have a repeatable process to achieve this.