Why Cold Calling Is A Waste Of Time (And What You Should Be Doing Instead)
Yesterday I received an (unsolicited) email from a marketing firm telling me how great cold calling is. They assured me that “cold calling is very effective for sales lead generation when executed properly” and “it is a known fact that the phone is still a powerful and effective lead generation tool.”
This is a firm who say they have been in marketing for 15 years and yet they:
- emailed me without permission (don’t get me started – permission marketing is a post for another day)
- had a link to ‘top tips’ and ‘white papers’ in the email which was broken (and further search on their website revealed neither to exist); and
- they not only seem to believe that cold calling is still the way to go, but apparently, it’s a “known fact” that it’s the best way to generate leads.
There were so many things wrong with the email from top to toe – and from a marketing company to whom others outsource their campaigns no less! – but today I’m going to deal with the supposed effectiveness of cold calling.
The Joys of Cold Calling
I think even those who champion cold calls will agree that:
- Putting together call lists are either very time consuming or expensive (or both);
- Most of the time the caller doesn’t want to talk to you – and often you can’t even get past the gatekeeper;
- Making so many calls is extremely time consuming (and disheartening); and
- Cold calls have a very low success rate.
You even run the risk of annoying those who could have been potential customers had you approached them in another way.
A little internet surfing revealed that the stats for cold calls were not encouraging:
- It doesn’t work 90.9% of the time (Harvard Business Review)
- It costs at least 60% more per lead that other methods (HubSpot, The State of Inbound Marketing)
- Less than 2% of phone calls result in a meeting (Leap Job)
I’m not saying that with perseverance, and a lot of time, you can’t secure some meetings through cold calling, but at what expense? Staff have spent time and energy convincing a handful of people to agree to a meeting and that’s it, there’s no guarantee sales will come of it and there’s little to show for all that effort.
It’s time to leave behind outbound marketing and embrace inbound marketing.
Stop annoying and interrupting people with unsolicited phone calls, advertisements and emails. Start attracting them to you instead.
3 key methods for attracting inbound leads are:
# 1. Search Engine Optimize (SEO)
Optimize your website for your company’s keywords so that you turn up in the search engine results when people are searching for exactly what your company offers.
# 2. Blogging
Write a blog about your industry and become a recognized source of valuable information. This will attract visitors, inbound links from other websites – which will help improve your search engine rankings too – and inbound queries.
# 3. Listening
Get involved in the online conversation, in forums, social media platforms, wherever your target potential customers hang out. Listen to what they’re saying and learn from it. Get involved and offer something of value.
A blog post in particular can last forever, once it’s been indexed by the search engines it’s there, waiting for someone to call it up by searching for your keywords.
Just imagine if your salespeople spent the same amount of time creating content for a blog as they did talking to people with no interest?
Think of how many great articles you could have on your website, articles that can be read by any number of visitors – unlike that sales call pitch which is only reaching one person at a time.
Create valuable content and you will attract visitors and people who will link to your content from their own site.
More visitors and links will in turn boost your search engine rankings, thereby drawing in more potential customers all of which will translate into inboundqueries.
The phone will ring and emails will arrive, all from people who actually want to hear from you … now wouldn’t that make a nice change?
HubSpot, the champions of inbound marketing, have a great skit to highlight the point, check out the video below.