Cold Calling, Is It Dead or Not?
Following the #AAISP #LS2017 this past week in Chicago, I am sure that I am not alone in saying that the new #DigitalSales economy is changing the reality of cold calling. The days of pushing thousands of cold calls into a campaign strategy with an expectation of converting “X” are fading into oblivion and are not a valid strategy in today’s inside sales environment. We are learning that the sales funnel has changed and no longer are we seeing cold calls converting into new sales like they did before.
Today’s new sales funnel reality begins with a focus on the prospect and their interests in your products and services from a knowledge base perspective. As a SDR/BDR we need to be easily accessible through all channels and be the situational expert of our products or services. Your new social media sales reality will look something like this:
Once the Prospect has identified you as a resource, you need to become their go to knowledge partner and a value added contributor to their sales cycle. You need to give the impression that you provide more value than all others and only then will the prospect select you as the right choice to support their needs. All of this is based solely on the relationships that you develop in this new sales funnel realty.
“Your Prospect is 80% Through the Sales Cycle Before Your First Contact”
Personally, do you ever take a cold call? This answer should help drive you to the ultimate conclusion that “Cold Calling is Dead” and if you are not hedging your bet or increasing your potential with today’s contact center technology stack, your competition probably is.
People still are the most important factor when it comes to sales, we just need to better understand their individual capabilities and how they fit within this new sales reality and our organization. Much of this insight can be achieved through #PredictiveAnalytics a #TeckStack solution from Criteria or Koru, which both provide pre-employment capability and personality testing.
Your prospect is 80% through the sales cycle before your first contact. They are personally equipped with the technology to do most of the research required to make a purchasing decision. No longer do you depend on the sales professional to guide you through the options and educate you on the features and benefits. A sales associate is normally not involved until the prospect has narrowed their choices, but prospects still need the human connection to reassure them that they have made the right choice. This is also where your SDR/BDR, account managers or customer service representatives will continue to professionally represent your organization and reinforce the products and brand. Without people you will not be able to easily connect with most of your consumers.
The SDR/BDR initial role during this new sales reality will be far less cold calling and more writing and sharing content including, white papers, blogging, LinkedIn groups, tweets, posts, etc… Your sales professional must be perceived as a valued resource to be successful.
“Customers Want To Be Sold To On Their Terms” – Meridith Elliott Powell
Customers want to be sold to on their terms. This being said, you will need to #TechStack the odds in your favor to be able to provide the most opportunity for your sales staff. I could write a book on the digital sales solutions that are now available for today’s contact centers, but I will primarily focus on the best in class solutions currently available from a ten thousand foot level. At a minimum you should have at least:
Some of the most popular and proven #CRM solutions are SalesForce.com, and MS Dynamics, but any #CRM solution that fits your organizations needs could also be easily integrated with most of today’s tech. Email tracking and communication management solutions can be as extensive and rewarding as #Outreach, #HubSpot, #Marketo, #Pardot or as simple and cost effective as #MailChimp or #ConstantContact. Lead distribution and call management functionality exists in both the CRM and contact center tech, but I have found that there are too many to list and if you need some direction, do not hesitate to contact me directly. It would also be nice to have in addition to these minimum requirements some of the following:
- Gamification technology like #Hoopla or #Badgeville
- Video conferencing tech like #Yelp or #Join.Me for mostly free or for pay services like #WebEx and #GoToMeeting
- Training & coaching technology from firms like #MindTickle
- Quota/Territory management tools that are available as stand alone solutions, but should already exist within your #CRM platform.
With these #TechStack minimum requirements or these nice to have enhancements you will now be able to better develop, prepare and segment both your prospects and sales staff to align their skills to the appropriate prospect or customer segment, ensuring your success. Once you have identified your top performers in each inside sales role, you must also focus on developing their individual business acumen and situational understanding of your products and services. Without this you will be limiting their potential and your organizations success.
Hopefully this article has provided you with some insights on the evolution of inside sales as it stands today. I encourage your comments and hope to enhance this article for others with your feedback.
Dan Cilley has been providing electronic resource planning (ERP), contact center development and customer experience (CX) consulting for more than 20 years as the principal consultant and CEO of telemaximum. He is the local South Florida chapter president of the AA-ISP and a advocate for the professional evolution of the inside sales role nationally. He is also a founding member of the Sales Enablement Society, he feels that sales is a noble profession and strives to to be awesome every day.