Before we start, I'd just like to clarify that this isn't another one of those "cold calling is dead" articles people with no real business experience write. Cold calling works - that's a fact.
That said, cold calls are getting colder and colder because your market (whatever it is) is more saturated that it's ever been before, meaning your decision maker's phones are ringing more than they've ever rung.
Frustratingly then, no matter how much you invest in training your salespeople, no matter how much your prospects need what you're selling, if they received a similar call 20 minutes ago from a competitor, your odds of even speaking to them are slim-to-none.
And that's why you need to find a new way which doesn't just rely on cold calls, but drives more warm leads into the pipeline, too.
Why should I? Cold calls still generate leads.
The government recently introduced laws to stop the ridiculous number of nuisance calls being made. While I'd never compare your business to the kind of companies making those calls, this is a symptom of that fact that people are getting more calls than ever and it's becoming a bit annoying.
Now that’s not your fault, your calls I'm sure are quality and made with intent.
But prospects are getting so many bad calls that answering the phone is the thing people find annoying these days, not the call itself.
Those laws I mentioned are a symptom of a wider problem, too; as people are becoming more and more sensitive about data, cold calls are going to feel more and more invasive.
Cold calls have been a salesperson’s bread and butter since Alexander Graham Bell invented the phone, so we're not suggesting you simply hang up your phone now because of a growing trend, but resistance growing as markets become even more saturated and similar salespeople try to sell similar services to the same people.
What's more, proof of this trend comes in the fact that results are dwindling and cold calling isn't delivering the same ROI it used to; according to HubSpot, cold calling now costs at least 60% more per lead than other methods.
So, as a business leader, it's your job to find the next best thing (which is what bought you here to our blog, no doubt).
Surely, there's a better way by now.
A way that can help to warm those cold calls up before they happen.
A warm lead, by definition, is one who already trusts your business or someone at the business somewhat. And as we all know, in business...
Trust is everything
No matter whether you're selling someone a pen, a house or a yacht, nobody will do business with a person or company they can’t trust.
Cliché alert: trust takes time to build, but can be lost in an instant.
Cold calls can actively build distrust; not all of them do, of course, but by their very nature, they are pretty invasive.
We’re not saying you should never pick up the phone. In fact, 41.2% of salespeople still say their phone is still the most effective sales tool at their disposal.
But you need to know when to pick it up.
So, when is the right time to call?
The main point we’re trying to make is that there’s a much, much more effective way to call now than going straight for the kill with a cold call, which involves warming a prospect up before you pick up the phone.
This is done using content - just like the piece you're reading right now - that specifically helps your prospects with the challenges they face.
To answer to the above question “When is the right time to call?”, the answer is when a buyer has been warmed up and has come into your pipeline as a marketing qualified lead.
An MQL is a lead who likely isn’t ready to buy today, but is searching for new, better ways of doing what they do.
MQLs tend to come in from people searching for answers to big questions on Google and finding your website as a result.
When a lead like this does come in off the back of a guide download or form submission, the conversation you have is 1000x warmer.
Suddenly, your conversation is starting with:
“Hi I saw you downloaded our guide on [challenge your business solves], is that a key concern for you at the moment?”
Which is a much easier way to start a call than:
“Hi, we’ve never spoken before but...”.
Far too many sales teams are still relying solely on pure, self-generated sales leads which have had nothing to do with marketing whatsoever.
This hits your conversion rates hard, because these leads are so much harder to nurture and engage with.
Marketing should be filling that pipeline
To generate more leads that you can actually close, your sales team needs to be backed by a marketing strategy that drives warm leads into their pipeline every month.
In just the same way that it’s harder to go up to a stranger at a bar without an introduction from a friend, it’s much easier to close a lead when there’s a starting point to the conversation.
For more on how to go about that (the warm calls bit, not the chat up lines), click here.