With new sales and marketing tools entering the market virtually every week, businesses are ditching older solutions to make way for the new. In fact, research from InsideSales.com shows that companies in North America are already spending more than $15 billion on sales acceleration tools, while Gartner predicts that enterprise CRM alone will be a $36 billion market by 2017. In the meantime, tactics such as “cold calling,” or unsolicited sales and marketing calls, are typically perceived as “old school”– and ones that business prospects are not particularly fond of. The notion of simply dialing a number and hoping someone will buy your product seems like a waste of both time and money.
Technically, cold calling cynics are not wrong. Traditional cold calling is definitely a waste of time. However, strategic cold calling—cold calling conducted by data-equipped teams—remains one of the most powerful persuasion tools. In fact, a recent study conducted by Vorsight and InsideSales.com found that every time a sales or marketing team doubles the number of direct dial phone numbers it uses, they will triple the number of meetings set. Go ahead and read that line again if you want to.
Making strategic, direct, and verbal connections with potential leads holds incredible value. I do not take this role lightly: it’s a fundamental part of my job, and the DiscoverOrg organization as a whole, to help businesses figure out how to excel their growth. So, we decided to do some investigating ourselves. What we discovered only further emphasized that strategic cold calling needs to be a core component of every sales and marketing team’s arsenal. In a survey DiscoverOrg conducted of 200 sales and marketing organizations, their research team found that high-growth companies are two times as likely to see strong results from cold calling.
Every business, especially every small business, needs to be leveraging cold calling – or informed outbound prospecting, if that goes down easier – as a part of their sales and marketing strategy. But, how do you ensure that your sales team is using cold calling effectively?
Here are a few key data points that sales teams can use to make sure “cold calling” is one of their most effective tools:
- Find out who your prospect reports to. Odds are, your prospect’s boss’s needs are more important to them then their own business needs. Therefore, it is incredibly important for anyone making a sales call to understand the ins and outs of who each prospect reports to, and what they would need in order to please their leaders. Business intelligence (BI) solutions can provide your teams with this information in detail, with charts and data on the hierarchy in any organization.
- Know every other technology your prospect currently uses. This may seem like a massive undertaking, but it is imperative that sales representatives fully understand what competing technologies a prospect may already have in place. There is no reason to blindly deliver a sales pitch to a prospective customer who has no need for your solution. There are BI solutions available that can allow your sales representatives to specifically search for any and all technologies that prospects currently utilize.
- Work smart, not fast. If done correctly, no sales call should ever really be “cold.” Every sales representative should be equipped with detailed data on who a prospect is, where they are based, what their unique business needs are, who they work with currently, any past interactions they have had with your company, where they have worked previously, and much more. With these details at hand, sales representatives will have all they need to tailor their pitches in a way that will engage their prospects and close deals. Taking the time to carefully personalize all of these pitches will go a long way.
- Remember that you are having a conversation. Every call will be entered into with an agenda or goal, but don’t forget to encourage your sales teams to pause in order to get prospects’ thoughts and ideas. It’s imperative that a prospective customer feels as if they are having a true dialogue, instead of listening to a one-way business deal. Receiving ongoing feedback from a prospect also allows sales teams to tailor their responses and better steer future conversations.
If you invest in equipping your teams with this knowledge and technology, you can rest easy knowing that hitting the phones will certainly lead to success. So, don’t listen to others if they’re still saying cold calling is outdated or dead. As long as every sales representative has what they need, it can be an incredibly valuable and staple tool for gaining new business.
Author - David Sill is Senior Vice President of Sales at DiscoverOrg, a leading global sales and marketing intelligence tool used by over 2,300 of the world’s fastest growing companies to accelerate growth. The company has been named to the Inc. 5000 list an impressive six straight years. DiscoverOrg’s solutions provide a constant stream of accurate and actionable company, contact, and buying intelligence that can be used to find, connect with, and sell to target buyers more effectively.