Every salesperson hates cold calling. Every. Single. One. They might not admit it, but deep down inside, they know it to be true.
Sales representatives recoil from cold calling for two primary reasons: It’s incredibly intrusive (they likely don’t like getting cold sales calls themselves) and remarkably unproductive. The Brevit Group determined that it takes an average of eight cold calls to connect with a prospect. Cold calls also have only a 1–3% chance for winning an initial appointment, according to Duct Tape Marketing.
No wonder no one likes cold calling.
So, what’s the alternative? What can you do as a salesperson to reduce the need for cold calling?
Here are 4 sales strategies that work better than cold calling.
Engage Thought Leadership and Public Speaking
Injecting yourself into the seminar, conference, and advisory board circuit can greatly benefit sales success. Speaking publicly about your expertise, product, or service offering with a focus on solving problems positions you as a trusted expert.
The most important thing to remember when speaking to groups is this: Don’t sell.
This is not a sales presentation. You are there to help possible prospects alleviate a pain point, educate them on a topic, and deliver value. This approach builds trust and positions you and your company as a resource to answer more questions and solve more problems in the future.
So, resist the urge to “always be closing” by simply offering a helping hand.
Develop Valuable Content
Write a blog for your company, guest blog for another organization, secure an interview in a prominent industry publication, or hire a ghostwriter to write and pitch your story. Attaching your name and brand to content that delivers value, advice, and solutions to pressing prospect pain points is another path to improved lead generation and sales.
Focusing your content on specific phases of the buyer’s journey rather than on pushing products, services, and why your company is great will be highly productive in the long term.
You will need to have patience, which is tough with sales quotas hanging over your head every month. Once your public speaking and content strategy gains momentum, however, you’ll be thankful you made the effort (and thankful cold calling can now be less of a focus).
Embrace Social "Selling"
Use social media as a way to amplify your expertise, helpfulness, and value to the right audiences. Social media usage is about more than posting once a month or sharing your company’s most recent press release.
Selling via social media can be dynamic and highly productive if you focus on the right strategy. Engaging existing customers in a helpful manner, commenting on and sharing articles that could help a potential customer, and showcasing your thought leadership can become an invaluable lead generation and sales asset.
As cited by HubSpot, Rebecca Lieb, an industry analyst, offered this in the Demand Gen 2018 B2B Buyer Survey Report, "Any salesperson worth their salt will be proactive: answering questions on social media; sharing thought leadership; and just generally being a helpful, sympathetic, and proactive listener and sharer. This creates a channel of communication as well as accessibility. These skills aren't nice to have, they're must-haves.”
Build an audience through social media engagement by establishing expertise and trust, not through hard selling.
Recognize a theme here?
Build a Help-Driven Email Campaign
Develop and execute a targeted email campaign built around helpfulness and delivering value with no strings attached (at first). Work with your marketing team to curate existing content and/or develop new content that will resonate with your various market segments. Then, launch a strategic email campaign that offers solutions and tips for free.
Like any inbound sales strategy, there’s a time for every type of offer. Provide ungated (no personal information share required) content at first. As the prospect continues to engage and moves deeper into the buying process, offer more valuable and sophisticated content, eventually making the ask for an email.
If your campaign is working, by the time they offer an email you’ve already established a relationship and some level of trust, transforming what was once a dreaded cold call into a phone call that feels right for the prospect and the sales representative.
There are many other inbound sales strategies and tactics that can reduce the need for cold calling. The truth is that cold calls will always have to be made, but how much you rely on this highly inefficient approach and how often you have to engage it will depend on your willingness to embrace alternative approaches to generating leads and closing sales.
At Illumine8 Marketing & PR, we work with companies to improve their sales processes. Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help you streamline your sales process and inspire your sales team to close more deals efficiently.