Cold Calling Isn’t Dead and Here’s Why

Is cold calling actually dead? Should we listen to all the gurus or follow the numbers?

8 Min
-
December 9, 2022

A dial tone: probably the worst sound to hear if you’re making a cold call. It’s usually a sign that the person hung up and isn’t interested in having a conversation with you. The second worst sound? The constant ringing as you linger in anticipation for someone to answer on the other end and it goes to voicemail. Let’s get real; no one likes cold calls or answering those unknown numbers. Cold calls are typically considered an inconvenience, too sales-y aka telemarketing and can feel like an intrusion, but the truth is that they don’t have to be.

When you have all the right pieces in place (a dialer, reps that are trained properly and willing to go the extra mile and lead lists at the ready) cold calling remains a great opportunity to achieve your business goals.

What is Cold Calling?

Cold calling is when a sales rep reaches out to potential customers who haven’t expressed interest (yet) in a product or service they’re selling. This is the opposite of warm calling where the call is invited and comes later in the process. Your team has the chance to turn cold calling into something more than just an annoying solicitation and instead make it a successful lead generation tool if it’s done properly.

What are the Benefits of Cold Calling?

It’s been discovered that 41% of sales people believe that the phone is the most important tool they have for work along with CRM software, email and social media. Cold calling is also said to be five to ten times more effective than email campaigns and over half of senior-level buyers and decision makers prefer to be contacted over the phone. All this tell us is that the phone is a crucial component to winning the sale and is the preferred method of communication to get the deal done.

If you are open to adjusting your strategy so that customer experience is top of mind then cold calling can be a benefit to your company. Crunchbase shared that organizations that don’t cold call experienced 42% less growth than those who use the tactic and that 69% of buyers have accepted cold calls from new providers. This means that when done properly, cold calling is a solid tactic to grow and develop your business.

A few noticeable benefits?

  • Personal connection: As mentioned above, the phone is preferred and cant be a great way to start the relationship with a potential client and receive immediate feedback.
  • Remote work: Since the pandemic this has been the ideal set up for many workers around the world and cold calling is an easy one that lends itself nicely to this category. It’s also a particularly cost effective method for sales for startups or small businesses.
  • Practice makes perfect: the average rep makes about 33 calls a day which gives plenty of time to perfect that sales pitch.

Based on the above, we know that cold calling is effectively “living its best life” and isn’t going away.

What Are Some Tips to Cold Calling?

Here are some things to keep in mind as you’re cold calling.

  • The best time to cold call is between 9am-4pm with the sweet spot being between 10am and 2pm.
  • What is the best day of the week to call? Tuesday
  • 60% of customers say no four times before saying yes hence the importance of a follow-up.
  • 63% of sales professionals who use social media to find new prospects say LinkedIn is one of the most effective platforms. AKA don’t sleep on the work networking platform and use it to your advantage.
  • Need and budget are the two biggest factors in whether a prospect connects with a rep so make sure to do your homework and connect with decision-makers right out of the gate on the things that mean the most to them.
  • 18% of sales reps say their second most effective sales tool is email. If your cold call to a prospect doesn’t seem to be working then perhaps a follow-up via email is the right approach. The more you practice cold calling the more you will recognize these types of opportunities when they present themselves.

And if you’re looking to make that in-person meeting happen? 82% of buyers say they’ve accepted meetings after a connection that began with a cold call. So, in addition to continuing to learn about best practices what else should you know? It’s all about your approach and sales technique. The next section will coach salespeople through some thought starters and cold calling tips. 

Cold Calling Techniques

Is it your first call? Even if it’s not there are some things to keep in mind when considering effective cold calling techniques. Successful cold calls typically use cold calling scripts or templates for phone calls, but there are some things to avoid in your sales pitch when it comes to openers to avoid the hang up. Based on research done by Gong, the most popular opening cold call open-ended question is, “How have you been?” It came in at 6.6x higher success rate than the baseline. You see? Some of the best sales techniques can come from the most simple of situations. 

In their research Gong found, “Opening your cold calls with some version of “How are you?” correlates with a 3.4X higher likelihood of booking the meeting compared to the baseline.” It’s so simple and yet, effective so don’t knock it until you try it. They also suggest that beginning with a proactive reason for your call increases your success rate by 2.1x and it makes sense. Basically, give the person on the other end a reason to stay on the line.

The research also discovered that, “Compared to the baseline, using “Did I catch you at a bad time” to open a cold call makes you 40% less likely to book a meeting.” You’re giving the person on the other end a chance to think on it and realize it’s never going to be a good time and skip out on any next steps. We recommended staying clear of this one or removing it from your repertoire moving forward.

Go over tactics and key learnings with your sales team on a monthly basis so you know what’s working and what’s not. It’s crucial part of the sales process to share this information upfront with sales training reps so they can be set up for success from day one. Cold calling can’t be the way it was in the past and needs to be focused, targeted and strategic outreach from start to finish.

What are Some Challenges and Pain Points to Cold Calling?

You have to build a dynamic team that can handle the pressure and provide them tools to overcome obstacles they will encounter. Call reluctance is a common issue in cold callers centered around fear and cold calling just isn’t meant for everyone. It takes an average of 8 call attempts to reach a general prospect so persistence is key. In addition to training, creating routines and focusing on the wins and sometimes just faking it until you make it can really make the difference.

Within your strategy you also need to leave room for DNC list considerations and make sure that you are in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s rules and regs (consult with your legal counsel to discuss). Neither has to be a deterrent to your teams. AutoReach actually includes DNC management capabilities that prevent agents from dialing numbers that are stored in the internal AutoReach DNC list. Furthermore, you can leverage the integration into DNC Compliance (aka DNC.com) to help with your compliance needs.

How do Outbound Dialers Help You with Cold Calls?

For a long time, sales professionals were flying blind. Now there are ways to make cold calling not only a successful method for your business, but enjoyable for clients and potential customers too. Outbound dialers are part of the key to cold calling success. Outbound dialers allow sales reps to automate the calling process so they can focus on the customer experience and be efficient with their time.  Every year 43% of people change their phone numbers. That’s a pretty high percentage which means your business needs to be integrated with the right system to be equipped to handle these types of changes easily and efficiently. Making quick updates and adjustments will only push those average calls a day up.

When it comes to sales prospecting there are a few things to consider. Unfortunately, 42% of sellers claim that they lack the data necessary for making a good cold call. Prospects can come in from a variety of different areas like referrals (which are always welcome) or social media or maybe even a cold email response. Either way, you want to make sure that your team can access the information they need to make the deal and move on to next steps. AutoReach allows for background information to be readily available for agents and easily updated.

There are also integrations to consider when utilizing an outbound dialer. AutoReach has prebuilt CRM integrations and open APIs with bi-directional syncing that lets you connect your business applications. With AutoReach you can also integrate data and track metrics so you can build dynamic call lists for your agents. Depending on the dialer, AutoReach has dashboards so you can track your outbound campaigns in real-time. This helps your team stay tracking on progress and take away key learnings.

In the end, cold calling + dialer + trained sales team = winning combination. Cold calling certainly isn’t dead and can be the key to your team’s success. If you have questions on how an outbound dialer can improve your cold calling process contact us.

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