Cold calling is the bane of the sales experience. Or so goes the common manta against the tactic of cold calling. After all, cold calling is a disruptive practice that if done poorly can not only be ineffectual, it can turn off the very people that would otherwise be interested in your product or service.
But for all that's wrong with B2B cold calling, success rates show that it still works, and there's still no better way to bring in new clients than to get them on the phone and show them what they're missing out on.
If you've paid any attention over the past few decades, you'll know that there are those that have been calling the death of cold calling for quite some time. But businesses still leverage cold calling for one simple reason -- it works!
Sure, you could wait for businesses to knock down your door, asking for that demo or walkthrough, but you'll only capture a fraction of the business you could get by building a better and bigger net, and cold calling is a uniquely viable way to do that.
Some might even think that cold calling has been replaced by email, but that's merely just another tool in the cold calling toolbox. Ultimately, it's about how you use your tools that dictates the success you'll have, and wrongly using a tool is not an indictment of the tool itself.
Just because most businesses do cold calling with low success rates doesn't mean that cold calling doesn't work, it just means that they need to up their cold calling game.
What Is Cold Calling?
For the uninitiated, cold calling basically means placing unsolicited phone calls to prospective clients. You may have a number and contact information for a particular individual, but they haven't yet expressed interest in your offering. With a cold call, the reasoning goes, you can bring them into your sales funnel and eventually turn them into a paying client.
Many businesses use cold calling to meet their sales objectives and quotas, but in this always-on digital world, is cold calling still a viable option? Most individuals don't like placing or taking cold calls, and it's also built up a poor reputation as being a nuisance.
Realistically, however, that's because most companies do it wrong.
Most B2B Cold Calling Success Rates Are Low
It's well known that most B2B cold calling success rates are low. Single digit low. Low single digit low. In fact, according to Kenan-Flagler Business School, most cold calling has just a 2.5 percent success rate. That means you'd have to place 40 calls a day to generate a solid one lead.
If you're training a sales team, you'll have to hire, train and feed 40 pieces of contact information to each sales person in your stable to make a good go at cold calling during the month.
It's doable, but not really sustainable. You'd have to build out quite the team, and that says nothing about job satisfaction, turnover and whether or not you can turn those leads into legitimate clients without too much of a drain on your resources.
That's why true cold calling, or mindlessly dialing numbers, is kind of a waste of time, and it can also jeopardize your standing in the industry if you push too hard and end up annoying all your prospective candidates out there.
That said, B2B cold calling can be an effective way to boost your sales success rate if you take the time to do it right.
How To Cold Call - Don't Start Cold
Oddly enough, the key to cold calling is to not jump in fully cold. Instead of making more bothersome calls, the key to effective B2B cold calling and boosting your success rates is to first reach out and vet your prospective clients with a friendly nudge through email, on social media or anywhere else you can make a quick introduction before the big call. If a client recognizes your name or the name of your company when that call comes, you're already well ahead of the game.
In this way, cold calling becomes the inevitable next step in a process, and that means more beneficial discussion when the call finally comes. It also makes cold calling more successful because you're not trying to generate a lead out of thin air. And if done correctly, it may even reduce the need for cold calling in the first place -- you may be able to advance a prospective client past the cold calling phase altogether.
Rather than looking at your cold calling process as the be-all, end-all at the beginning of your sales funnel, cold calling should be part of a comprehensive marketing plan where leads are validated before that first cold call or approach. That'll enable you to approach prospects, not cold leads that may not even know who you are or what you do.
Improve Your B2B Cold Calling Success Rates
If you'd like to improve your B2B cold calling success rates, here are some things that you can do.
First, it's important to narrow down your targets. If you can identify the decision maker, don't waste time on their random subordinates. Get that decision-maker on the line and don't settle for just anyone. You'll probably end up making fewer calls, but the calls you do make will have more of an impact.
Secondly, don't even think about picking up the phone unless you're familiar with who you're calling. Bring up their LinkedIn or another social networking page to help you identify your angle. Appeal to their interests or find some sort of common ground. By doing this work up front, you'll be able to get more out of that cold call, even if it's rescheduling a call for another time.
Things like reaching out first via email or social media can also give you a leg up when that call does come in since they'll remember that prior contact and be more likely to give you a few minutes out of their busy day.
The Better Way To Do Cold Calling With SalesHive
If you're sick of managing a huge and expensive team just to produce viable leads each day, SalesHive is a better way of doing things. Instead of paying an in-house team thousands for each individual -- in addition to costly commission, benefits, onboarding, training and resource costs, not to mention months of ramp time, hiring costs and turnover -- you can outsource or augment your company's existing lead generation capabilities with SalesHive.
Learn about our next-generation B2B cold calling here.