B2B Marketing: Why Cold Calling isn’t working anymore

Ashley SabbouhStrategic ConversationsLeave a Comment

There’s no better combination than a soft couch, a bag of chips, a cat on your lap, and an unknown person (seller) calling you all the time.

Are telemarketing and cold emailing an effective way of B2B Marketing? The simple answer is no.

There are 4 reasons why…B2B Marketing: A man on his phone holding a knife to his head

  1. Even the most ardent fans admit it’s less effective than it used to be.

Everyone’s tolerance of being interrupted whether by phone or email is falling—there’s too much of it because it’s so easy with the new technologies. So there is too much interruption, but increasingly we have the ability to filter it out. And busy, successful people do just that. Filter it.

  1. Cold Calling positions you as a supplicant in B2B Sales and positions you in a negative light.

Successful salespeople know one truth in their guts:

You must come across as not needing their business – and that you are ready to walk away at any time; that you have options.

In B2B Marketing when you cold call a prospect, you demonstrate the complete opposite – that you need their business. At the same time you convey that you are not busy; that you don’t have anything more important to do than ‘smile and dial’. Every time you make a call, you do a little damage to your brand, and to your positioning as a successful expert.

One thing that always annoys a busy, successful person – wasting their time. Given it is unashamedly a numbers game, it has to be a waste of time for over 90% of those you call, because calls are unqualified and unfocused. Why risk starting on the bad side of your VIPs?

Here’s something no-one can argue with: People with influence cannot be reached by phone. Have you tried calling Gates or Obama or Winfrey recently? Gurus don’t have their mobile numbers on their business cards. And if they mistakenly do, they certainly don’t say “call me anytime, day or night. I’m there, just waiting for your call”.

  1. Cold Calling won’t find what we all want: Qualified Leads.

How could it? It is not what cold calling is designed to do. It’s a numbers game; a random numbers game.

And a large and growing proportion of buyers are like me: we don’t take unsolicited sales calls—ever. And if you don’t have permission to email me and it’s not relevant to me, I’ll mark it as spam.

When we start buying, we find the sellers who are well regarded from our networks; that come well recommended with good testimonials. From the advice in this book, you will become one of these.

In the Social Networking Age we all have the ability to leverage our scarce sales time using the amazing new connection and engagement tools. Cold calling, however, only allows you to be in one place at one time. Making one phone call or opening just one door. So your results are strictly finite. There is no leverage in this one-by-one approach.

On the other hand, leveraging Social Networks and other New Media means you can be in many ‘places’ at one time. Create the system and it can almost run itself if you have clear goals and a clear strategy. The results are infinite, and a good B2B sales system builds over time. Money spent is money invested, unlike cold calling where every day is a new day (from hell!).

A sales system stops you from spending time with people who:

  • Have no need for your product
  • Might buy your product at some future undetermined date
  • Have just bought from a competitor
  • And, god forbid, are already a customer! It happens if your CRM is out of date, and whose isn’t??? One of the benefits of Social Networking is it becomes your ‘self-updating CRM’.

And over 90% of cold calls clearly fall into one or more of these categories. A truly sad call might cover all four!

  1. Reason number 4, and it’s the Big One: Sales people hate it!

The biggest reason to think again. Having worked in HR and career guidance for many years, I know the following to be true (not to mention it’s backed up by serious research):

“Love what you do and success is likely. Hate it, and failure or ‘merely average’ performance is inevitable.”

So why choose failure by doing things your team hate? Activity that in some companies has come to dominate BDMs’ valuable time as they plan the calls, make them, record them and finally prepare to justify to their Manager what they’ve done. And, at best, sales people regard cold calling as a necessary evil. Unfortunately they and their bosses don’t know there is another way. In B2B sales it is a system that embeds LinkedIn amongst other online tools.

Overall, these are 4 compelling reasons to find a different approach to B2B sales.

Albert Einstein neatly described the problem around cold calling:

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

If you’re not willing to change your marketing strategy, note that you’re not alone. We’re listing the top excuses for holding onto your old marketing strategy in my previous article.

Learn more about the complex world of B2B Marketing.

Cheers, Toby   [B16]

B2B Marketing expert, Toby Marshall, is the founder of LC