shorter sales cycles, new customers, more business, increased profilts, better cashflow

To Cold Call or not to Cold Call …

Jack Dee gives the customers' perspective. But it doesn't have to be like this! Call us now to find a better way.

Jack Dee gives the customers’ perspective. But it doesn’t have to be like this! Call us now to find a better way.

… that is the question.  There has been a debate raging about whether or not cold calling is still an effective way to find new business. We say “still” because cold calling is one of the fundamental and original sales techniques but many people believe it has been completely overtaken by social media.

Our definition of cold-calling is; the act of contacting people who do not know you, typically by telephone.  The purpose is to initiate an engagement that will potentially lead to new customers and new business.  There is no dispute that the act of initiating contact has to happen, but the question being raised is whether cold calling is the right way to do it. We think there are three primary positions to consider:

  1. Cold calling is alive and well – get a list of appropriate contacts and just start dialling or knocking. It is, or should be, a key part of the total job spec for a new business sales person.  If the sales people cannot or will not do it, we would question whether they are truly equipped for the job.
  2. Warm calling is not new and it has always worked better than cold.  The “warmth” comes from doing some research to ensure the companies you intend to contact have the problems you solve.  You need to ensure the person you are going to contact is correct in the sense that they are the one feeling the “pain” of the problem so will be interested to talk to you about a solution.  Finally, your message must be “we understand your problems and we have ways of solving them”.
  3. Cold calling is dead.  So you have no real choice but to make yourself so high profile via social media, web sites, publications, blogs and so on, that prospects come flocking.

There is no doubt that some companies have genuinely made social media work for them, but equally many have not.  Levels of success depend on a number of things and the key one is the type of business you are in.  For most businesses, a blend of approaches to lead generation will always be required and for most warm calling will be an important part of the mix.

We have seen too many companies reject cold calling moving instead to an approach based entirely on physical and on-line networking.  If you are doing this and it is working great, if it is not, then perhaps you should consider an approach built around warm calling.

What do you think?  We’d like to know or help you to make up your mind!  Call us to discuss or send us an e-mail with thoughts or questions.

Learning & Skills Council logo

Learning & Skills Council

The Outcome:

Over a four month period, Performative assisted this particular LSC to reach many of the medium to larger organisations in its area.  Using Performative’s unique business development approach, the LSC gained visit opportunities in 1 out of every 5 potential customers on the database.

“I was delighted with the excellent customer service from the team both in terms of professional advice and responsiveness.” Director, LSC

The Challenge

A local Learning & Skills Council (LSC) had launched ‘Profit from Learning’, a Government sponsored initiative designed to offer NVQ Level 2 training to thousands of businesses across the UK.  Following a successful pilot, and working in conjunction with the local Business Link, they had reached 1,000 companies and provided learning opportunities to around 4,000 individuals in their region.  As a result of this success, and following further investment, the initiative was extended with the ultimate aim of reaching the Government’s target of 12,500 learner opportunities throughout the region.

The LSC Director recognised that to create higher learner numbers they needed to overcome the challenge of developing opportunities in the medium to large organisations, which had previously proved more difficult.  In particular, they wished to gain appointments for LSC Skills Brokers to visit these organisations, in order to discuss the benefits of the ‘Profit from Learning’ scheme.

The Performative Solution

Performative worked with the LSC to structure and run a Lead Generation programme to meet the objectives of accessing larger organisations.  The process followed three phases:

  • Initiation: This crucial phase established the foundation of the whole programme by creating a well-structured framework.  Key elements included:
    • Agreement of the aims, objectives and success criteria.
    • Market segmentation, target companies and contact types.
    • Contact database creation/refinement.
  • Proposition: This important step ensured that the messages were clear and concise:
    • Definition of the detailed market proposition.
    • Tailoring of the message to different target contact types.
    • Supporting collateral.
  • Ramp Up: This phase initiated the actual Lead Generation activity and included:
    • Intensive, but highly targeted telephone calling.
    • Setting appointments and ensuring onward briefing to LSC staff.
    • Review and refinement of the proposition in the light of feedback from various types of decision maker.