No, the Cold Call is not dead. If you ask adept and seasoned Sales Professionals, they will tell you … It is alive and doing well. It has a new friend now, called ‘Social Selling’ and with all sincerity, the Cold Call has never been healthier.
I had the fortune (and continue to) of making Cold Calls for my entire sales career (smiles). Coming from a Software Development background, when I transitioned into a Sales role, Cold Calling did not come naturally to me. I was petrified of it. I was terrible at it. The first three months of my Cold Calling experience was amongst the toughest professional experience I endured.
Eventually, owing to some amazing mentoring from my Sales leadership at the time and the plethora of mistakes I could make in Cold Calls, I got the hang of it. I (humbly) ended up building a fairly strong sales career on the back of my ability to Cold Call and my sales capability allowed me the climb to C-Level positions. Till date, I believe in Cold Calling. Why? Cause it works. And yes, it still works.
There is a misguided belief in certain cross-sections of the sales community that the Cold Call is dead or at least not as effective a tool. I also hear exaggerated statistics from analyst firms, like “83% of decision-makers don’t accept Cold Calls”. Usually, the quoted figure of decision makers who don’t accept Cold Calls is between 80% and 90%, depending on the report. Humbly, that has not been my experience. Nor is it the experience of many in the sales community who I know professionally or personally.
Execs are still accepting cold calls. They are still hanging up on poorly executed calls. They are still allowing face-to-face meets on the back of good Cold Calls.
There is a percentage of sales professionals who do not believe that Cold Calling works. There is also a percentage of sales professionals who believe Social Selling does not work. However, sticking to either extreme of the belief spectrum is detrimental to sales success.
In today’s business climate, to succeed at Sales, a combination of tools are needed. Some of these tools are as traditional as the good old-fashioned Cold Call, or a coffee for fact-finding. Some are a tad newer, such as leveraging Sales Navigator / Twitter Lists / Google Alerts. Yet others are even more progressive, such as leveraging Hootsuite for social listening, a Chrome plugin such as 360 Social to see a user’s social media activity across over 140+ social media platforms, or using a mobile app such as Charlie to comb through 100s of digital sources and arrive at a one-pager just before a face to face meeting.
So yes, traditional sales techniques work today. Social Selling works equally well. Effective and efficient sales teams leverage all tools along the spectrum. Their aim is not to stick to a sales method they are comfortable with or to disregard a method they consider to be archaic. They harness every tool available to them, to maximum potential.
Whether you sit on the ‘traditional’ or ‘social’ divide of the discussion, you will agree that Sales Prospecting is essential to uncovering opportunities. The Infographic below is based on insights from LinkedIn, InsideSales.com and TOPO. It helps demonstrate a holistic prospecting routine for the modern say sales professional.
Hope you get some value from the below…