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Cold calling doesn't work because no one like to be on the receiving end. (and most likely, your sales reps hate it too). Are your sales reps cold calling hundreds of prospects a day without seeing much success? It's time to quit the old-school tactics.
Do you like being cold called? How often do you respond? When was the last time a cold caller got you to actually buy something? There is objective data proving that this tactic is one of the least effective ways your salespeople can spend their time.
That's not to say that you should stop calling leads entirely -- far from it. Calling leads is an incredibly valuable part of the sales funnel.But how you do it needs an update. Today's customers, whether they're consumers or business buyers, are expecting more personalization. But how can your salespeople learn what the lead needs and who they are before calling?
Research your prospect on public forums such as LinkedIn, Twitter or the company's team page. Try to read a couple of blogs they've written recently. This will help you understand their pain points and objectives, and have a more productive conversation. With my sales reps, I've implemented a mandatory "2-minute research" before any of their calls. In addition to helping build better rapport, it helps them ask better questions and qualify leads much faster.
Calling a prospect that has never heard about you or your brand doesn't work. However, if they have, then your chances to connect and actually have a successful conversation with them increase significantly.
Start by warming up your account, either by sending them relevant information via email, social media or by targeting them with ads. This will ensure that they are aware of your brand before you call.
One of our clients at Growlabs has seen tremendous success "warming up their leads" by sending a series of highly targeted emails, in addition to adding these leads to a dynamic ad campaign (by pushing the emails of their target accounts to the ad audience).
It's best to focus your time on leads that are actually in the buying process. Knowing who to call and when is extremely difficult. However, technology can significantly help with this. Invest in a sales and marketing software that allows you to track when a prospect opens one of your emails, or downloads the e-book you sent them, or even visits your website.
Set up a trigger to notify your reps to call them as soon as they engage with your content. For example, you can send them a Slack notification or create a task in your CRM automatically if a high-value lead has opened a certain email or piece of content more than three times.
Before you call, try making the initial contact through social media, such as LinkedIn or Twitter. Let them know that you'd like to have a few minutes to discuss your product offering and that you'll try to give them a call later that day.
If they really aren't interested, they may just respond right away and save you some time. If they are interested but are just busy, your chances of connecting with them increase significantly by this simple act of respecting their time.
Once the customer has responded to your salesperson's outreach, the next challenge is to nurture the relationship and keep the conversation going. For best results, the sales representative should ask the lead enough questions to understand their pain points and personalize their pitch accordingly.
The most successful way to do this is to look at your lead's engagement: which piece(s) of content have they looked at? Did they attend one of your webinars? Make sure your reps are familiar with the content you've made available and that they share the relevant pieces with their prospects.
Of course, getting to know your leads and customers is time-consuming, or at least can be if done manually. Once you've started to see some successes, it's time to automate and scale. Make sure your reps are targeting the right accounts and know when to call a specific account by setting up a lead generation and sales automation software that aligns sales and marketing campaigns effectively.
Cold calling is dead. However, calling prospects that have been "warmed-up" can lead to great conversations and more success in closing deals.