Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).
Discover the unexpected power of Cold Calling in modern B2B Strategies. Amid digital frenzy, this classic technique remains an essential sales tool.
In this fast-paced, ever-evolving digital landscape, B2B strategies have become a whirlwind of options; paid ads, social media marketing, webinars– you name it. All of them make the old-school cold calling has slipped to the wayside for many B2B companies.
Some say cold calling is dead. Others just wonder who wants to do it anymore.
But here's the surprising truth: Though it’s not always considered the most effective, cold calling is an important technique in any salesperson’s arsenal. It's like the classic, timeless sales tool that never loses its edge.
Why? Because when done right, an answered telephone inquiry will provide immediate feedback on whether or not a prospect is worth pursuing. Also, while younger sales professionals tend to favor digital interactions, older and more senior decision-makers might very well be more receptive to engaging through telephone conversations.
Today, according to the statistics, the average B2B salesperson still makes about 35 calls a day. And 82% of buyers accept meetings when salespeople reach out to them.
Now, the question is: is cold calling still effective for B2B business?
In this article, we'll dive headfirst into the reasons why cold calling is still a force to be reckoned with in the B2B world. From building genuine relationships to unearthing hidden opportunities, this age-old technique continues to demonstrate its effectiveness, proving that sometimes, the old ways can remain good.
Is cold calling designed for your B2B company?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let’s make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to whether or not your B2B business leverages a cold call strategy in the first place.
After all, cold calling can't cater to all B2B companies and situations. But, there are specific scenarios where it shines brightest.
Knowing when to employ the cold call strategy can make a significant difference in your sales outcomes.
Targeting senior or older decision makers
We’ve mentioned it before in the opening paragraph: senior or older decision-makers may prefer telephone interactions over digital channels.
These experienced professionals often have busy schedules and may not be as active on digital platforms, making direct phone conversations a preferred mode of communication.
So, cold calling provides a direct line of communication to engage with these influential individuals who hold the power to make crucial purchasing decisions. Remember that tailoring your approach to resonate with this audience can yield fruitful results.
Targeting high-value accounts
When your B2B company is eyeing high-value accounts with significant potential, cold calling can be a game-changer. These accounts often have complex needs, and personal communication through cold calls allows you to establish a direct connection with key decision-makers.
Using a phone conversation makes it much easier for you to demonstrate your commitment to their success and willingness to engage on a personal level, which can resonate positively with prospects.
The tone of your voice, the language you use, and the ability to address specific pain points in real time can all work together to build trust and credibility with high-value prospects.
Nurturing warm leads
Cold calling doesn’t always have to be entirely "cold." It can also be an effective way to follow up on warm leads, such as prospects who have shown interest in your content, attended webinars, or interacted with your brand in other ways.
A well-timed and personalized cold call can convert these warm leads into qualified opportunities and accelerate the sales process.
If your B2B company has a lead generation system in place, chances are you have collected valuable data on these warm leads, providing insights into their preferences and pain points.
One thing to bear in mind, though, the goal of nurturing warm leads through cold calling is not necessarily to close a sale immediately but to progress them further along the buyer's journey.
Re-engaging dormant accounts
If you have dormant or inactive accounts that were once engaged with your company, cold calling can be a proactive strategy to rekindle the relationship.
A friendly call to check in, understand their current needs, and address any concerns can reignite interest and potentially lead to renewed business.
However, this needs a delicate and thoughtful approach. These prospects may have disengaged for various reasons, such as changes in their business priorities, budget constraints, or dissatisfaction with previous interactions. It’s always best to conduct thorough research about them first before you make a call.
Handling complex sales scenarios
Phone conversations come in handy for navigating such complex scenarios and giving a more helpful guide. And in certain B2B industries, sales processes can be intricate and involve multiple decision-makers.
By connecting with different stakeholders, you can build consensus and address individual concerns, ultimately driving the deal forward. No more lengthy, bulky emails.
Reasons why cold calling is still a good thing in B2B marketing
If your B2B business often faces those specific scenarios, you can capitalize on the cold calling and leverage it as a valuable tool in your B2B sales arsenal. Here are some reasons why cold calling may still be relevant in B2B marketing:
Cold calling allows you to test market hypotheses, build lists of contacts, gather information about businesses, identify decision-makers, and gain insights into the market. It’s a powerful strategy for building comprehensive lists of contacts from scratch.
Even in the first moments of the call, you start collecting essential data that can fuel your B2B marketing and sales strategies.
Whether you're targeting specific industries, regions, or market segments, every conversation with a prospect provides an opportunity to expand your database. These lists become valuable assets for future outreach, nurturing campaigns, and targeted marketing efforts.
Building personal connections
Cold calling offers a direct and human touch that other marketing strategies often lack. When sales representatives engage prospects through cold calls, they can listen, empathize, and respond to their specific needs in real time. This personal interaction lays the foundation for trust and rapport, which are crucial in B2B relationships.
However, it’s mandatory to get to know whom you call. Quality is always better than quantity here. Before you get in touch with a telemarketing company or start calling leads yourself, you need to start by finding as much information as possible.
Many salespeople make a call as soon as they have the contact information without even knowing who they’re about to call in the first place, let alone their behavior and pain points. This is what makes cold call seems like ineffective strategies.
After conducting research, you might as well create an exhaustive interview guide to ensure that the contact with the prospect runs as smoothly as possible.
Immediate feedback and adaptability
Unlike email campaigns or social media ads, cold calling provides instant feedback. You can gauge a prospect's interest, address objections, and adjust their pitch on the spot.
This immediate feedback loop helps you tailor the conversation to resonate with each prospect's unique circumstances. By establishing a personal connection right from the start, cold calling lays the groundwork for fostering meaningful relationships with prospects.
The ability to adapt and pivot in real time is such a powerful advantage in the fast-paced world of B2B sales. A well-done cold calling allows you and your sales team to fine-tune the approach continuously. If you get better over time, it will be much easier to increase the chances of making a compelling case and closing deals.
Unearthing hidden opportunities
While inbound marketing tactics attract prospects actively searching for solutions, cold calling excels at uncovering hidden opportunities. Some prospects may not be aware of your B2B company or may not have considered your offerings as a viable solution until they receive that personalized cold call.
Cold call strategy comes in handy for approaching those who may have fallen under the radar. Rather than passively waiting for prospects to discover your brand, you seize the opportunity to reach out to them directly, positioning your offerings at the forefront of their consideration.
Through personalized conversations, you can carefully articulate the value of their products or services, tailored to the unique needs and pain points of each prospect.
Not to mention that cold calling can be particularly effective when introducing innovative or disruptive offerings. New technologies or revolutionary approaches might not yet have made their way into mainstream awareness, but a well-timed cold call can create curiosity and intrigue around these groundbreaking solutions.
Complement digital strategies
Cold calling doesn't compete with digital marketing strategies; it complements them. B2B businesses can use cold calling to reinforce their digital efforts, creating a cohesive and comprehensive sales approach.
For example, a cold call can follow up on a prospect who downloaded a whitepaper, enhancing their understanding of the content and guiding them toward the next steps. It makes sure that no prospects fall through the cracks.
That means integrating cold calling with email campaigns or social media interactions creates a multi-dimensional and engaging customer experience. The synergy between cold calling and digital strategies reinforces brand awareness and enhances the overall effectiveness of B2B marketing efforts.
Overcome objections and build resilience.
Most of us know that you and your sales team quite often face rejection, objections, or even verbal abuse. Merely 5% of sales representatives are open to taking a risk with an unfamiliar prospect, and the remaining 95% are apprehensive about rejection.
However, this also presents a valuable opportunity for personal growth and resilience.
Sales professionals who master the art of overcoming objections and handling rejection can develop a valuable skill set that extends beyond cold calling. The resilience developed through cold calling can positively impact the overall sales team, driving them to achieve greater success in their endeavors.
The experience gained from handling objections equips you to tackle challenges in various aspects of your B2B career, fostering confidence and tenacity.
Despite the rise of digital marketing strategies, cold calling remains a valuable and effective tool in B2B marketing.
When executed strategically, cold calls can turn cold leads into warm prospects and ultimately into satisfied customers.
Why do some cold calls fail?
Now we have some reasons why cold calls may still be relevant as a sales tool for you and your sales team. But cold calling is so much more than just picking up the phone and making calls. It requires a well-thought-out strategy, effective execution, and a keen understanding of your target audience.
Like any marketing or sales approach, cold calls can sometimes fall short of expectations. Understanding why some cold calls fail is essential to refine your approach and maximize the effectiveness of this powerful technique. Here are some common reasons why cold calls may not yield your desired results:
Lack of research
We’ve mentioned briefly the importance of research before. Failing to research and understand the prospect's business, industry, pain points, and needs can lead to a disconnected and generic cold call.
Without this crucial information, tailoring your pitch and demonstrating how your B2B company's offerings can provide genuine value to the prospect becomes challenging.
Timing can make or break your cold call. Failing to recognize when a prospect might be busy or preoccupied can lead to a negative first impression, impacting future interactions.
No one wants to hear a sales pitch at inopportune moments. So, it makes sense why some cold calls often end up in rushed conversations and missed opportunities.
Lack of personalization
Prospects can immediately detect generic, one-size-fits-all scripts. If you call them and use script-based or template-based talking without any personalization, they don’t even want to get interested and connect with your conversation.
Cold calls must be personalized to each prospect. The personalization shows that you understand their unique needs and are genuinely interested in helping them achieve their goals.
Overly aggressive approach
Being a salesperson is full of targets that you need to achieve for your business.
And sometimes, you just want to reach those targets quickly and meet your goals. However, it's essential to remember that success in sales is not solely about the numbers; it's about building meaningful relationships with customers and providing value to them.
Adopting an overly aggressive approach may seem tempting to close deals faster, but it can ultimately harm your reputation and deter prospects from engaging with your B2B company.
Pushy or aggressive sales tactics can quickly turn prospects away. By all means, cold calling should be about fostering a positive and helpful dialogue, not pressuring prospects into a decision. Focus on building rapport and understanding their pain points before presenting your solutions instead.
As the B2B landscape continues to evolve, successful companies understand the importance of diversifying their outreach methods. In this case, cold calling goes beyond merely making sales pitches. It serves as a powerful data collection tool for B2B businesses and connection-building between the business and prospects.
While most B2B companies recognize the significance of digital marketing strategies, integrating cold calling into their sales and marketing efforts can unlock a treasure trove of valuable insights and opportunities.
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