Forty years ago, cold calling was one of the best — and only — ways to identify new leads for businesses. Not only that, but it was also one of the only ways that customers could find out about new products and ideas.
The technology revolution changed everything. In today’s digital world, the days of smashing out 80-plus calls a day to generate new leads are gone.
With over 200 million people on the global Do Not Call list, T-Mobile releasing data-only mobile packages, and corporations not taking calls unless you have a named contact, it’s clear that our desire to speak with people on the phone is dwindling — especially if those calls are unsolicited.
On top of that, prospects can now research company information, reviews, feedback, and all manner of information online. It’s easy to see why cold calling is becoming an unnecessary nuisance — prospects no longer need salespeople.
In fact, it’s fair to say that anyone interrupting your day with an uninvited three-minute script is going to have to do some seriously fast and impressive talking to keep you on the line. Let’s face it; the odds aren’t on the salesperson’s side: Chances are the caller has already had to get creative about how they got through to your desk phone in the first place, and the call itself has probably begun with you being mildly irritated at best.
So while prospects are annoyed that their days are still being interrupted by cold calls, sellers are having a good time either. They most likely have managers who demand more than 20-30 calls a day and expect just as many meetings booked per week.
But expectations and reality could not be farther apart. In sales organizations that rely on cold calling, lead flow is slowing down, the sales team is getting frustrated, and managers are getting increasingly angry.
Don’t want to take our word for it? Just look at the facts. The Harvard Business Review reported cold calling is ineffective 90% of the time, and more recent research shows that less than 2% of cold calls actually result in a meeting. Assuming a 0.3% appointment-booking rate and a 20% win rate, it would take 6,264 cold calls to make just four sales. It’s easy to see why cold calling can be so frustrating.
12 Lead Generation Alternatives to Cold Calling
What can the modern business do to protect its future and get new leads without cold calling? The good news is that it doesn’t involve a circus act or shameless begging of any sort. The bad news is that it requires a completely different way of thinking and some serious energy and hard work. Here are 12 alternatives to cold calling salespeople can use to generate leads.
- Build a personal follower base by sharing interesting content that helps prospective customers solve their business problems.
- Blog, with a focus on creating content that helps your prospects.
- Engage with the right people on social media (people who fit your ideal buyer profile) and build your audience.
- Join LinkedIn groups and answer peoples’ questions.
- Share relevant blog posts or interesting articles in online groups to help kick off the conversation.
- Create a great series of sales emails designed to provide inbound leads with helpful information. Make sure you’re moving beyond your regular sales pitch, regular request for a meeting, or just your product information. Remember, it’s about them, not you. Use this sequence to help prospects learn during their research and consideration phase, so they’re ready to talk by the time you get on the phone with them.
- Track your web visitors’ behavior and understand when the time is right to reach out with a call.
- Set up email notifications when prospects are researching articles on your website that signify buyer intent such as demos, price lists, and product walkthroughs.
- Sell based on your expert knowledge, not Jedi mind tricks.
- Use an integrated and intelligent CRM system so you have a context for every buyer before you reach out.
- Keep in touch with prospects after the sales process. Make sure you continue to send them helpful content even if they decided not to purchase. This helps you do more beyond your initial follow-up and stay in the prospect’s mind.
- Ditch the script: Be human, relatable, and consultative in your calls.
Once you start turning your new social and website visitors who are in active research phase into contacts, and prospect using social media, blogs, and your own email campaigns, your prospects will be be more receptive and ready to talk — unlike when they’ve been unexpectedly interrupted by an unwelcome phone call before their next meeting!
By looking at your website and social pages as powerful lead generation tools, you can get your sales team fully connected with your marketing team. The result? A powerful new approach that will help you nurture your leads and close deals.
Are you interested in generating more new leads from your B2B social media? Download our free beginner’s guide here.