What is the chance that you will answer an unknown number, not saved in your contacts? Probably slim to none.
With more sophisticated caller ID systems identifying spam calls, answering a stranger’s call is highly unlikely. This is a major obstacle for sales professionals and sales development representatives (SDRs). Cold calling was the traditional method used to pique interest, set appointments, and close deals. Yet, do cold calls work?
Multiple studies have pronounced that cold calling is dead. Harvard Business Review reported that cold calling is ineffective 90% of the time and 9 out of 10 top-level B2B decision-makers no longer respond to cold calls. With hundreds of cold calls happening on sales teams daily, research further shows that only 1% of cold calls convert into a booked appointment. So why are we still cold calling?
According to Bob Apollo, the Founder of Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners, calling is about quality rather than quantity. He says, “the most effective way of increasing the quality of every outcome is to research, prepare, and personalize every outreach.” Our calling strategy needs to change.
What Is a Warm Call?
“Warm calling” involves contacting a prospect that a salesperson has already connected with previously. This could be through email, social media, an in-person exchange, etc. The goal of a warm call, or sales prospecting, is to educate and inform rather than sell.
Buyers already know what products and services they want and need. Businesses are constantly conducting research to increase efficiencies and reduce costs. Data from Accenture confirms this: B2B buyers have usually completed 57% of the buying process before speaking to a sales development representative. Thus, an SDR team often speaks to a prospect in the final stages of the sales process.
To gain insights into a buyer’s journey, useful data on businesses and people is readily available. Beyond information found on LinkedIn, social media, and through mutual acquaintances, credit card purchases, web page visits, and location data on mobile apps are accessible and tracked. Moreover, data providers like Bombara and ZoomInfo consolidate this information allowing sales professionals to better identify potential prospects that could benefit from specific products and services.
This in-depth research supplies sales professionals with much-needed information to solve a prospect’s business problems. Rather than cold calling out of the blue to immediately sell an individual, warm calling or prospecting a client is one component of a multi-pronged approach to support a buyer as they work to make a purchasing decision.
Best Cold Calling Tips: Make Them “Warm”
Here are some helpful tips to ensure a more effective call campaign:
#1: Adopt the Best Practices in SEO
Augment your marketing with the best practices in SEO (search engine optimization) and building a content library. The goal of marketing is to pique the interest of a prospect. SEO starts with identifying keywords and the questions prospects are asking online.
Whether blogs, videos, web pages, or case studies, develop content relevant to prospects’ needs by including these words in order to appear on the first page of a Google search.
#2: Use Multiple Touchpoint Marketing Campaigns
Reach out with multiple touchpoints. Research suggests that to activate a prospect, an individual needs to reach out 11 to 14 times. This includes personalized emails, LinkedIn messages, sample sends, handwritten notes, webinars, and more.
Rather than working to close an individual, each touchpoint provides an opportunity to educate prospective buyers. Set up a multiple touchpoint campaign using tools that share relevant content including case studies, testimonials, or videos.
This engages leads organically, and allows them to be part of the buying process. Track a prospect’s journey and online interactions through email opens and link clicks. This can help to determine which prospects are interested in learning more about your products and services.
#3: Use Prospecting (or Warm Calling)
Follow up with “warm calls”.
Rather than a first impression, prospecting for sales with a warm call is an additional touchpoint. Instead of randomly dialing a call list, the research gained in the previous steps offers ways to better know where a prospect is on their buyer journey and what they might like to learn more about. Use the call to follow up to see if an individual received an email, a sample, or a note, to ask if you can provide further information, or to set up a time to talk with an expert.
For an SDR team or salesperson to be effective, this process and the tools at one’s disposal can make calling more effective, increase the number of prospects in the sales funnel, and successfully connect with individuals to drive business.