Cold Calling Is the Best…Not Really
When I first jumped into a sales, my mentor told me,
"You have to learn to cold call. It isn't something you want to have to do, but you need to learn it so if you have to cold call, you'll be good at it."
I did learn to cold calling and got pretty good at it, but it's so inefficient. Unless you have a very qualified list of prospects, its a dialing game that moves along at a very slow pace.
Marketing automation is the perfect alternative to cold calling. (There are a lot of tools for doing this. You can have Infusionsoft or Ontraport for smaller businesses and Marketo and Eloqua for larger buinesses.) It's really good for using side-by-side with cold calling. It's a great way to develop lists so your team is calling on warmer prospects. You warm them up or identify potential buyers based on their behavior. Instead of having sales teams bang the phones in hopes of running into someone needing what you sell, you call on people that have shown an interests or, better yet, you get interested prospects to call you.
What a concept, huh?
Think of marketing automation as a big cast net you throw into the ocean. It works like cold calling in that you want to cast as wide as possible. The benefit marketing automation gives you is that you are casting into waters that are more fertile. It helps you determine who's interested and who isn't ready right now.
If you know that your target audience is in a certain set of zipcodes. let's say downtown Miami, in a given industry, you could get a list of all the people fitting that criteria and start calling them. If you can:
- call 10 to 15 people an hour,
- actually reach 1 to 2 every hour over the 10 to 15 hours you cold call,
- you would reach 20 to 30 people.
These aren't necessarily people who want to talk to you or have an interest. These are people that picked up the phone or called you back.
What marketing automation does is reach out to that same list of people via email. Every person on the list gets a message and then a series of email messages over a two to four week period. If you can reach out to them using other electronic mediums like social media, that's even better. The goal is to craft a message that gets them to identify their interest in what you offer.
You can do this by encouraging them to click on a link to a blog post on a given topic. You can offer a white paper or an ebook or some tempting piece of information that someone interested in your offering would like. If they click it, download and demonstrate interest, you have someone that' definitely a step forward from a cold call. (They may be a few steps forward.)
With marketing automation, you can follow up with a series of email messages telling them more about yourself and what you offer. You can go direct and call them to schedule a face-to-face conversation. You can mail them a post card. The options are endless.
But you now have the ability to very efficiently identify interested prospects, educate them on what you do, and move them into a very flexible sales pipeline that takes zero effort from the sales team to operate.
And since it is email and it's effective free, you can send them information forever. You will always be top of mind.
Marketing automation might be the automation option you need to consider.