When you get him/her on the phone, you better deliver! Here’s the dilemma: Seasoned inside sales managers, who would have the right skill set to lead a conversation with the check-writing SVP on the phone, hate quantity-centric telemarketing/cold-calling instruments and don’t use them. A standard staff of cold-callers that are willing to use such instruments almost never get that quality conversation with a SVP.
If you believe a cat has nine lives, cold calling might have about 54,172. It’s been dead and buried so many times by supposed “thought leaders” that the next time we kill it in an article, we shouldn’t even bother tossing new dirt on top of it. That’s just a unit cost that’s probably not even worth it. Should you stop cold-calling? Is the game over? Must you embrace new and beautiful technologies like virtual reality or some thing coded by a guy in a sweatshirt in northern California? Here are some thoughts.
First, take a look at this picture. It comes from this LinkedIn discussion:
The guy who posted that is head of ConnectAndSell, so obviously it’s going to be beneficial to that. Even with that caveat, he’s using eight sales reps and doing 11,405 dials (vs. 480 in the standard set-up). Ultimately (bottom of chart), this approach adds $2.1M in sales pipeline vs. $120,000 in “standard,” meaning you make a little over 1700% more. Most reps, principals, or managers would give their left you-know-what for these numbers. So does it all work?
I think the bolded numbers of 255 conversations and 11,405 dials are essentially BS. I’m not saying those numbers weren’t hit, but who cares? In my view, cold calling isn’t dead — but a quantity-driven telemarketing approach has had cancer since about 1986.
The dials and the conversations don’t mean anything. You are trying to have a quality peer-to-peer conversation. Here’s what I tell people when I work with them: “When you get him/her on the phone, you gotta deliver.” It’s that simple. People are busy as hell and attention spans have been dropping for three-four generations. I know we tend to make a lot of work — all types of work — about the quantity of what we’re doing, but that’s dumb. It’s about the quality. (This is the same reason a lot of professionals in all fields confuse “busy” with “productive.” The second word is about quality; the first is about quantity. Not the same.)
Here’s the real fat dilemma with cold-calling:
- Seasoned inside sales managers, who have the right skill set to talk to the check-writing SVP on the phone, hate all kind of quantity-centric telemarketing/cold-calling instruments and don’t use them.
- A standard staff of cold-callers (the eight people in this image, for example) that are willing to use such instruments almost never get that quality conversation with a SVP.
So, what do you do?
The main thing you are looking for is a scalable way for a senior inside sales manager to get to that quality convo with a SVP on the prospect side. Cold calling as a quantity device isn’t that scalable approach. I think it evolves a little bit year-to-year, but right now email prospecting with some modifications is the best way to get your top salespeople in front of the decision-makers.
With email prospecting, you have time to set up the background, context, connection, and ultimate goal — and people are tethered to their email anyway. (Most people are tethered to their phones too, but people will read an email from a random — and a call from a random is almost always sent to voicemail.) Scalable? Absolutely! A sales development rep (SDR) can send emails from a template in the name of the inside sales manager.
So is cold calling dead? No. Is cold calling as a quantity play a mistake? Good Lord, yes. It’s a more complicated sales world now, and attention demands are much more drastic. That requires a context-heavy mixed approach. 11,405 dials? No one cares. It’s all about having a quality sales pitch with those first 3-4 people to write the check.