“I’m so glad you called, this is exactly what I needed!”… said no one ever. I think I speak for everyone when I say that receiving a cold call is not usually a pleasant experience, nor is it relevant for the most part. But why have we become so numb to this method that was once a powerhouse in business development?
No Information, No Interest
Why and how have we killed cold-calling? Simply by omitting the single most crucial step in the sales process: knowing your customer. Background information is key. No one likes to receive multiple calls per week about products or services they have no interest in.
Organizations not willing to invest in their sales team, and ultimately their people, have outsourced their Business Development Representative (BDR) process to scripted companies who often do not know the reality prospects live in. How many of these calls are a waste of time and money because we simply cannot measure their impact or authenticity? These subcontractors have their own targets and processes, making them less invested in the relationships they’re trying to build.
With uninformed calling comes the caller’s dehumanization: BDRs become simple telemarketers, a voice at the end of the phone line. Why would you trust them if they know nothing about you? When did being a salesman lose sight of the consultative approach?
Quality Over Quantity
The cold-calling method usually entails mass calling with a low conversion rate. The more you call, the more you have a chance of finding a lead. A simple numbers game, right? However, calling more doesn’t mean reaching more people. Some numbers are inactive; some have retired, and some have flat-out died (yes, it was awkward). Doing your research before calling filters people out. You’ll often find that you don’t even have to call them. By targeting the right people, you don’t waste your time on a predictable “no.” Spend time to save time; it will allow you to focus on quality prospects rather than chasing rainbows and unicorns.
Tailor your approach. The people you call will be much more comfortable sharing information with you if they feel like you understand their struggles and needs. Not everyone has the same pain points; no businesses are the same. What is the same, however, is that you are dealing with individual people at the end of the day. Being able to adapt your discourse to each person is a skill that is valuable to anyone working directly or indirectly in sales.
Being on the frontline of the sales process is not easy. Facing rejection, being stuck in follow-up hell, and feeling like you’re wasting your time can affect mental health and motivation at work. This is why businesses must give their sales team the research tools and framework to allow them to thrive. For example, Big Bang has developed a thorough process to build a strong foundation for the company’s outreach.
One way of doing your research is through a PESTEL analysis, where you determine the prospect’s macro-environment about political, economic, socio-demographic, technological, environmental and legal elements. This task allows you as a BDR to understand the external reality your leads face. Another way to gather information about your business, prospect, and value proposition is through a business model canvas, as shown below
So, Cold-Calling is Dead… Long Live Warm-Calling!
Turning cold calls into hot leads will never be an easy process. There are way too many intangibles for it to be an exact science – this very well may be one of the jobs we can’t outsource to robots. It’s essential to focus on the few factors that BDRs can control:
- Do your research
- Leverage methodologies for researching prospects including PESTEL and business model canvas
- Focus on quality, not quantity
- Adapt processes for both the prospect and the team working to engage them
- Invest in the right software
- Celebrate the wins to keep morale high
Those fundamentals must be constantly kept in mind to reach business targets.
So, next time you’re on a call, you will be confident that you did everything in your power beforehand. What takes place in that conversation will be a direct result of your preparation. This confidence will help you be calm, have better answers, and ultimately build a trusting relationship with your soon-to-be customer.
Until then, happy dialing! 🦄
Learn why we no longer have an official Sales team for a better customer experience.