Traditional cold calling is dead. Here are three alternative prospecting strategies.
Those of us who were part of sales teams in the 90s and 00s, will remember the endless lists of names and phone numbers systematically placed beneath one another on paper spreadsheets. The sheet was designed to help the salesperson maintain overview of her leads. Instead she frustratedly crossed them out with a pencil after repeatedly being told the prospect really really wasn’t interested before being left with a door-slamming note of “don’t call me again!”.
Fast forward a few decades and the spreadsheet has been replaced by the CRM, but the frustration with cold calling is still existent; on both ends of the line. It’s not hard to imagine the irritation of someone interrupting your day with an uninvited call to your personal phone, giving you an elevator pitch and doing their best to keep you on the line as you try to make up a respectful excuse as to why you can’t speak right now.
Cold Calling has been modernized, but it’s still done wrong.
From the beginning, the chance of success is not in the caller’s favour. Let’s face it; as you answer your phone wondering which ‘anonymous’ ID is calling you today, you already feel slightly aggravated. But the sales person isn’t having a great time either; continuously rejected, yelled at and ridiculed – at the same time their manager is demanding 40-50 calls a day, countless meetings and revenue made.
In sales organizations that rely on cold-calling, the customer acquisition cost is soaring, the lead-flow is slow and the teams go through daily frustrations. According to the Harvard Business Review less than 2% of all cold calls made actually result in a meeting – That’s 1000 dials to book 20 meetings! Apply your exploratory call and win rates, and you’ll learn it takes thousands of calls to make a single sale.
In the modern business, this type of reliance on human resources lead to incredible costs, employee churn and unpredictable results. If you’re still relying on cold calls to make your business grow, your sustainability will continue to be at risk and you’ll find it hard, if not impossible, to create a predictable revenue model.
Three Alternative Methods to get Warm Leads in a Digital Age: Content Marketing, a Data-Driven Approach, and Building Digital Relationships
However, with the boost of software and the internet there are many methods you can apply to your revenue strategy to future-proof your business, create a consistent lead-funnel and ultimately predictable revenue – and without going through the humiliation of begging a stranger to give you 2-3 minutes of their time.
Here are the best three alternative methods of generating leads:
1) A Content Strategy that follows your prospects decision-making process
Share content that is interesting for your network to follow, read and engage with. Start out by brainstorming topics, ideas, pains and whatever else you believe your followers would be interested in.
Divide them into types of content, and schedule a release every two or three days (it won’t take long – This piece only took me 2 hours to write); Consistency is key if you wish to build a brand your followers will engage with, and enough SEO juice to affect the performance in the search engine. Once you’ve built up a good following, you will see a natural flow of prospects to your service.
Consider how your prospects are making up their minds about your solution. In the beginning they might not even know they have a problem which you want to solve, so make sure to raise the awareness first. After they have read a few pieces about the problem and have realized the need for a solution in their own organization, possibly present them with content around how to solve that problem (through your solution?). Only now you should start focusing on convincing prospects about your solution, with content around features in more detail, pricing, case studies, etc.
Hubspot has released a great Content Marketing Planning Template that will help you cluster your topics, plan your content, and release it effectively.
2) Data-Driven Email Campaigns: Assume, Verify, Tune, Repeat
A good email strategy can be replicated easily, and you have the benefit of ensuring that the pain points you solve get highlighted every time. Simultaneously, the recipient can digest the information you provide in peace and quiet.
Start out by creating multiple versions of your ideal customer profile (ICP). Source leads through LinkedIn, Google or wherever your ICP is hiding; enrich them and verify their relevance by targeting them consistently over a short period of time:
1. Assume ICPs: Build lead lists, pre-qualify and enrich
2. Verify interest: cold-call/email outreach, book demos, test interest
3.Tune: Focus on best performing ICPs and tune your outreach approach
You will quickly be able to determine whether each ICP is a winner or a loser. This should create a natural funnel of meeting-booking and deal closing, and you’ll be able to extract all the data you need out of the process.
3) Build Relationships through Online Communities, Engage by Asking and Answering Questions
The two main online platforms business owners and leaders seek genuine good knowledge form, are Quora and LinkedIn Groups. Readers come to ask in-depth questions about all types of areas, and usually without trolling (that’s right Reddit, relax). It’s an oasis of free traffic, with half a billion visitors each month – and you can guarantee your target group is included in that.
What can you do to take advantage of it? It’s simple. Go to Quora or LinkedIn for an hour a day, look for subjects that are somehow related to your business and start giving responses. It’s important to do this consistently and of course – Don’t sell!
Give insightful answers and you’ll see other users starting to follow your posts, engage in your answers and therefore build your brand and drive traffic to your channels.
Once you’re consistently bringing visitors to your channels, it’s up to you to start converting them into contacts through landing pages, social media and email campaigns – after this process they’ll be far more likely to speak to you.
Once you’re seeing the leads actively going through your funnel, you have a new and powerful approach that will help you nurture leads and close deals through a predictive and measurable model.
Photo by Christin Hume
If you’re wondering how to close these deals in the fastest possible way, check out Accordium.com for more info.
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