Somewhere right now, people are sitting behind desks placing call after call trying to make a connection with someone who might be interested in what they’re selling. There are centers filled with people who are cold calling day after day — and they’re doing it all wrong.
Cold calling, or the solicitation of potential customers who haven’t previously shown an interest in a product or service, has been around for decades.
Even though the process is difficult, stressful, and usually filled with rejection, many businesses still use this strategy for their outbound marketing efforts. They use internal inside teams who make these calls, or they hire cold calling centers to manage this process for them.
Organizations embrace cold calling as a strategy and dump resources into this plan — without even realizing that they’re getting it all wrong.
Cold calling is dead.
And, we know why.
The first problem plaguing traditional cold calling centers and most insides sales teams is that they don’t warm their leads before calling them.
Yes, contacting a prospect before they have shown interest in your organization will always qualify as a “cold call.” But, that doesn’t mean an initial connection has to abrupt, out-of-the-blue, and unwanted. You can warm a lead before you contact them so the introduction feels more natural.
By doing research and using data, you can learn about a prospect before talking to them. Then, when you do make that first personal connection, the caller won’t be shocked, surprised, or annoyed that you are calling. The targeted, “warm” lead will be more receptive to your message.
At qualifiedMEETINGS, our sales development representatives (SDRs) warm our leads before we reach out to them using a unique process that qualifies and defines our prospects (using use cases, personas, and data). We know our outreach calls are reaching the right audiences which makes our effort much more successful than that of generic, impersonal cold calling.
Another problem plaguing cold call centers relates to call volume. Most centers follow the philosophy that cold calling is a numbers game. They place dozens and dozens of calls with the hope that the more they call, the more likely they will be to find an interested prospect.
They are right in that you need to make a high volume of calls for inside sides. But, what they get wrong is believing that placing more calls is the only way to increase their number of conversions. Improving your number of conversions relies on much more than just the number of calls placed per day.
At qualifiedMEETINGS, we stick to the philosophy that you need to make a lot of calls per day. Our SDRs make an average of 150 targeted calls per day. But, we know our number of conversions aren’t only impacted by the volume of calls. We know improving our conversions also relies on improving our process.
Our sales process is set up to constantly track and monitor data (such as time-of-day interactions, time between follow up, number of interactions it took to convert, etc.) that we then use to refine our process and improve our success rates. While call volume is important, we know that other data points are often more influential when it comes to substantially improving conversion rates.
Many cold calling centers take their role too literally. They make “cold” outreach attempts, and they only make “calls” to their prospects. The phone is the primary tool that many inside sales teams use to make connections, and this often leads to their downfall.
We live in a hyper-connected world. There are dozens of ways for a person or organization to make contact with a prospect. So, inside sales teams that only use one method of communication are severely limiting their ability to get in front of their ideal audience.
At qualifiedMEETINGS, we don’t just use phones as our only means of communication. Our SDRs utilize all of the varied and unique contact methods available to us. From video calls to LinkedIn messages to email, our contact methods incorporate a mixed-media approach. We never focus solely on outbound phone calls.
We call this method “digital sales.” It’s a hybrid strategy that allows us to utilize multiple channels for reaching prospects. This approach increases our ability to connect with and convert more prospects than if we focused on phone calls alone.
If you were to see a cold calling center in person, you would see a lot of phones hanging up and names being checked off lists. For most insides sales teams, hearing a “no” or “not interested” during that first call is a sign to remove the prospect from their list and never return to them again.
A major sales problem that stifles a call center’s success is giving up too easily. If the first interaction doesn’t lead to a sale, it’s written off as a failed attempt. This perspective is why many outbound sales teams struggle.
The first cold call isn’t meant to be a sales conversion. It’s meant to be an introduction. Getting to the sale takes way more interaction than an initial call. At qualifiedMEETINGS, we’ve found that it takes on average:
It can take dozens of touches to convert a lead to a sale, and we know the best way to execute the touchpoints to get to the conversion. qualifiedMEETINGS has developed a proprietary path to getting cold customers to convert that includes a defined process of 23 touchpoints for inbound leads and 52 touchpoints for cold leads. It’s an effective process that we’ve proven over 1 million prospect touches.
While traditional cold calling might be dead, inside sales is not. Reaching out to prospects is still an effective way to garner up new business, make connections with potential customers, and build relationships that lead to sales.
But, it is only effective if you embrace the new philosophy of inside sales and toss away old, outdated cold calling center strategies of the past.
Are you interested in learning more about the new age of inside sales? Contact us to learn how our offerings of outsourced sales services and sales development programs and mentorship programs can bring your organization’s sales strategy out of the olden days and into the new age of inside sales.