What are the alternatives to cold calling?
Back in the golden olden days when the internet was still in nappies, if we wanted to find new customers in the broadcast industry, one proven method was to do targeted cold calls. It was easy to put together a list of broadcasters in every country, pick up the phone, call the switchboard often without a name, try to be put through to a relevant person or department, and then pitch to a stranger. Did I say it was easy? It was deeply frustrating for both caller and recipient and was really a matter of luck of how successful it was.
LinkedIn has made it easier as now you can find names to identify people by relevant job titles, but then actually trying to engage with them is still difficult and sometimes near-on impossible to receive a positive response. There is also the strong probability that they are not actually responsible for that decision or the technology you are promoting. Most broadcasters have hundreds of technology specialists. Multiply this by the number of broadcasters in the world and quickly it becomes very demotivating and ends up like searching for a needle in a haystack.
Cold calling is normally just about being at the right place at the right time and can take on average about 100 calls to get a decent lead.
Is there a better way than cold calling?
It’s down to effective digital marketing. With the correct inbound sales lead generation strategy, it is possible to ensure potential customers contact you when they are interested in buying technology of the type you are offering. And have this working 24×7.
Over 85% of consumers who wish to buy something will research it first on the internet. This is mostly utilizing Google, but also social media platforms can have an effect. But how do you ensure you can be found online when people research your type of technology?
We recently helped an Asian encoding company who were going global but had little experience of business development outside of Europe. They had appointed some distributors, but this was not an effective approach on its own – they needed to also appeal directly to their end user base to raise awareness.
To do this they had to be found and harnessed the power of digital marketing. RainDance Digital Marketing wrote some interesting and educational blogs about their market and the challenges their customers faced. We wrote PR on the success they were having on solving these issues. We wrote case studies about the customers they had and what the problems their technology had solved.
Coupled with reserached keyword links, Google liked this new content, so the company’s content started to appear more in organic searches based on the technology and their chosen search terms as part of the keyword links. Keywords should not only be their company name which you must assume is unknown. They not only promoted this content on their own social media, but RainDance distributed the content to other online platforms too. This started to have the effect that they were being approached by potential customers through their website. And in turn they could pass these new leads through to their reseller channel which motivated their resellers and enabled a positive sales experience to all concerned with a self fulfilling snowball effect.
Combine this with some targeted Google AdWords. And no more cold calling.
Of course, you still have to nurture leads and take them through the sales process, but that’s another story. You now have warm leads to follow up which is much more effective in building up an effective sales pipeline than an ad-hoc cold calling strategy.