Rhiannon Garth JonesJune 9, 2020

Why cold calling isn’t the approach you need right now – and what to do instead

We know cold calling can sometimes have a bad rap. We also know that, for many Sales Reps, cold calling can mean immediate income when they don’t have time to wait for less direct methods.

We’ve written before about how we think there’s a better way to do cold calling in B2B Sales – one that brings in the deals you need while avoiding the pitfalls of modern cold calling.

But there’s no getting around the fact that, with the future uncertain because of Covid-19, things are different now. What worked before may not work now.

For one thing, very few people are in the office so the generic company phone numbers you get from lead lists are unlikely to get you an answer.

For another, everyone is looking at their budgets, their pipelines, and the economy. That means they are less likely to be receptive to a cold approach. You need to be able to address their pain points right away to even have a chance of closing.

In the past, we’ve talked about “warm calling”: using research to qualify your leads, using social media to enhance your connections, using your existing expertise to get more leads and more sales.

If you’re feeling a chilly blast of air on your cold calls lately and want to warm things up, we’ve got some advice on how you can do that.

First things first – and trust us on this – put down the phone.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t focus on outbound, we’re just saying you should switch from calling to emails or LinkedIn to do your outreach. This is the approach we’re taking and we’ve found it’s working very well.

One of our top Sales Reps outlined his current approach to share with you.

  1. I start by finding the most relevant companies to reach out to (here, of course, I use Ocean.io to find similar companies to our current clients) so I know I can address their pain points with relevant examples from existing customers.

  2. These companies are also sometimes found through LinkedIn research – if I get tagged, or see someone posting about investments, searching for something relevant.

  3. Once I’ve identified a list of companies, I spend 5-10 minutes on their website to analyze them, who they are targeting, and identify 1-2 of their portfolio companies, all of which I can use in the pitch itself.

  4. At this point in time some people would grab the phone and start calling but, in these times, you can easily end up calling an empty office if you are calling on the main number. Of course, personal phone numbers are close to impossible to get a hold of while staying within GDPR regulations.

  5. I fire up 23 (the personal outreach video recorder platform) and start recording myself and the screen. This video normally last for 4-5 minutes and I get straight to the point, stating why we do things differently than other companies, and how this could be beneficial for them by using some of their current clients in a search on our platform (those I identified in step 3)

  6. This video is either sent through LinkedIn or email (depending on whether we are already connected or not).

Why does this work?

There are three crucial factors here.

The first is the research done prior to contact, making you outreach much “warmer”, as we’ve advocated in the past. Not only does it make the prospect feel valued instead of a number on a list, it means they are much more likely to feel that you understand their pain points, have experience in addressing them, and will therefore be able to help them.

That research will serve you well in the next stages too: you should always be prepared for prospective customers’ needs because all of your current customers will be relevant. And you will be able to provide relevant case studies and examples because, again, your existing knowledge will be relevant.

The second factor is the video approach. Our Sales Rep explains.

“I think a recorded video is helpful in most cold outreach cases (but 100% not all of them – it depends on what you sell).

If you sell office supplies, it’s not really relevant. But if you work in SaaS, for example, it can be a huge help. The more advanced the product/solution/tool, the better the use-case is for a recorded video.

A lot of people are visual so they can better understand how certain things work when they see it live in front of them. For instance, a crucial aspect to understand why Ocean.io works is explaining how we tag a company on a far more sophisticated level.

Over the phone, this is difficult to convey and often not very interesting. When we visualize how we do it and how that can be used to identify lookalike companies, we find it catches the attention better.

That’s not just true for us but for any complex B2B product.”

The third factor, of course, is the way you reach out. When you have accurate contact information, especially LinkedIn profiles, like we provide on Ocean.io, you are far more likely to get through to your prospect than calling a generic phone number to an empty office.

Reaching out like this also lets the prospect know that you respect their time and have chosen to contact them in a way that allows them to read and reply at their own convenience, rather than interrupting their work with a proposal they are not prepared for.

So you can see why this slightly different approach is much more effective in the current situation. It combines the pros of traditional cold calling with those of a more modern, subtle approach and it creates a more positive rapport with your prospects.

Of course, it helps if you have an amazing product to sell…

In the mood for sharing?