In our digital era, it should by now be of no surprise that the use of cold calling is declining. With so many experts wrestling whether it’s already dead, this match seems fairly close to a pin. But is that so? Before answering that, I’d remind you that it’s been a long time since marketers debate on the use of email marketing and on the importance (or the lack of it) of search engine optimization. However, SEO holds strong. Email is the preferred communication channel for business purposes of 86% of professionals (2017, HubSpot). So what is really going on with cold calling?
- Just 28% of contacted people engage in conversation, only 10% of cold calls bring to an actual appointment, and less than 1% would end up in a deal closure (NoMoreColdCalling).
- More than 90% of cases prove call calling to be ineffective (Harvard Business Review).
- In the US only, the landline use has decreased by more 50% in the last 15 years
- In the UK, the number of minutes of landline calls decreased by 52% in 2017 as compared to 2012.
All of the above do shout out loud, that cold calling is in decline. However, I would not call it dead as many others do. As Seth Godin once said, we blame the tailor for a bad suit when no one accepts our marriage proposal. From my own experience, I’d say that if you are well-prepared for the call, you will still bring value to the company you represent, even if you do not close a deal right away.
The results of cold calling are as you expect them to be
That statement should not be understood as ‘each call you make will end up in a conversion’. Your positive attitude and suitable approach will result in a good impression of your company and of yourself, even if you get a ‘no’.
The success or failure of a cold calling marketing campaign is analogous to most other types of campaigns, but especially to cold emailing ones. If you are well-prepared, send neatly formulated copy showing a high degree of personalisation and unveiling the value you can deliver to the company you are contacting, you are very likely to be successful and achieve a solid conversion rate.
Engaging actively on social media on both your page and in various groups, getting busy interacting on various platforms, delivering exceptional content are just a few of the lead generation alternatives one can use today. But none of these would allow you to reach the level of understanding similar to a human-to-human dialogue.
A recent research study revealed that actually 1 out of 2 salespeople are afraid of cold calling. Moreover, 53% of B2B professional salespeople give up too fast or too easy when cold calling. About ⅓ of professional salespeople report having trouble with finding the key contact person of the company. No matter how effective the methods and techniques that you are using prove to be to others, these will not work for you if you sound apathetic or frustrated right away, and chances are high that you will get a ‘not interested’ pretty soon increasing your future frustration.
Getting ready for each cold call can be really troublesome, even if you have a sales database of your own. Bad data can end up contacting the wrong people and generating zero sales. For example, using inaccurate data you may reach out to the wrong person or highlight the least attractive aspects of your product for the person you are talking to just because you have the wrong information at hand. In the end, bad or inaccurate data can have a decisive impact on your results and, as a consequence, reputation.
To conclude, I’d say, first of all, that I do believe that cold calling is still a thing. Yes, it has become more difficult than it has been before for many reasons, and that is why the conversion rate for cold calling is so low. Despite that, with the right data, level of preparedness and an appropriate attitude you increase your chances to fit into that 1% of successful cold calls. Don’t forget, that regardless of the result, you will deliver value to your company by setting base for a positive perception of your brand.