21st Century Cold Calling: Why Yesterday’s Approach Is Relevant Today

David Sill, DiscoverOrg

As sales and marketing professionals try to navigate a world increasingly crowded by new technology, which can admittedly automate and streamline many aspects of our work, sometimes there is simply no replacement for making a human connection.

Yet, if you research cold calling on the internet, you’ll find blog posts, articles and essays all preaching the death of the cold call. I would argue this belief is more about perception than reality.

Consider a recent study we conducted at DiscoverOrg on what drives growth at the fastest-growing organizations. It found that high-growth teams view cold-calling as “very much alive” and see “great results from it” two times more often than low-growth teams.

We also found that 75 percent of 1,000 executives polled were prompted to attend an event or take an appointment as a result of a cold call or email – that says a lot about the efficacy of the tactic.

Why Cold Calling Is Still Relevant

As one senior sales executive said in a recent blog on the subject: “Cold calling isn’t dead, you just don’t have the guts!” The post asserts that not only is cold calling alive and well, it’s actually more important than ever before, and even the most successful sales force can’t just rely on SDRs and marketing to provide enough opportunities to hit its numbers. I would add that cold calling actually enables you to get the harder sales.

Here’s why: nothing beats direct and honest human interaction. When you talk to someone in a “live-conversation format,” you can tell a lot more about their interest level and needs. You can hear their voice, register their concerns, respond to their pain points in real time, shift your approach accordingly, and, ultimately, be more effective at convincing them to buy. There is no technology yet that can do all of this the way humans can.

That’s not to say that technology can’t help.

How to Make Cold Calling Modern

How do you make cold calling modern? Make sure it’s informed by accurate data. If you’re doing it right, a cold call isn’t cold at all. Before you even dial the number, that contact is already warm.

Having the call conversation mapped out in advance is one of the most important things you can do, but you also must be ready for the conversation to go in a different direction than what you expect. Preparing and practicing the pitch is vital. By investing time ahead of the call for research, you turn that cold call into an educated call.

 Modernizing a Cold Call

Use a local number. Most people will answer the phone from a local area code, because automated sales calls come from unidentifiable random digits most of the time.

Be picky about who you call. Casting a wide net may be tempting, but by narrowing your list to a targeted ideal audience, you have a better understanding of your customers’ needs and wants and how to approach them.

Employ data that can give you greater insight into what a prospect needs before you ever even pick up the phone. This will help you better craft your pitch.  

Use the live conversation to get even more information. Remember, not all sales calls have to be about sales; use this time to discover more about a prospect’s challenges and tailor your message in real-time to better show how you can help.

Consider opening the door with a “cold email” first. According to a 2016 Reuters article, an online survey of 400 U.S. white-collar workers showed that almost half said they think their use of email for work will increase in coming years. Nineteen percent said it will go up substantially. Use emails to generate creative opportunities that can lead into a cold call, so you aren’t a complete stranger when they answer the phone.

Take that idea of cold calling and hit the reset button. Instead of looking at it like a fearful, necessary evil, think of it as a way to make a true connection with someone who  will benefit by what you are offering.

David Sill is head of sales enablement 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. 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.