Cold calling is an unfashionable part of new business development. But with sales and marketing budgets being squeezed it is an important consideration in the mix. Many businesses find it invaluable. Done well, it will be a cost effective way of finding new business. Done badly, it will probably harm your company’s reputation.
I will also draw the distinction here between business to business calls (B2B) and consumer calls (B2C.) Here I am purely referring to B2B calling. Different rules apply, and indeed the legal context is different and stricter if you intend calling people in their homes. For most businesses who trade with other businesses, in what I call 9-5 phoning, telemarketing or telesales can give you cost effective benefits.
- It helps you learn about what your customers want because you’re in conversation with them. No other form of traditional or even modern marketing does this. Advertising or e-mailers will not tell you what people think of your proposition, who they’re currently using and what they think. Nor will trendy social media.
- It shows interest in your customer base. This is dependent in part of course on having well trained people in dialogue with your customers and prospects.
- Cross-selling and upselling is much easier when you call people and talk to them. It is much more difficult to do this with the printed word. The risk of offering too much choice is that you confuse your customer and they switch off.
- It is the most cost effective way of delivering a sales message to your customer base. Admittedly a sales visit is even better quality contact, but with an outbound telemarketing or telesales person, chances are you can engage in 20-25 sales presentations (DMPs) to customers per day. And all without the costs of cars, travel and expense accounts.
- All activity is instantly measureable. You can (and should) know how many calls are being made in any given period, and how many customers or prospects are being spoken to. Ultimately you will know how many sales appointments or leads or sales are made as a result. It is therefore easy to work out your RoI.
- It informs management decision-making. Speaking to lots of customers and prospects helps you understand the market. What are your competitors up to? What offers or promotions are going on at the moment? You won’t glean this from advertising or editorial.
To Market has been built on cold calling, and the 200+ clients we’ve dealt with over the years each started with a cold call. We also help people in our client companies do cold calling more effectively. So we are slightly biased. But it’s still a valid opinion! Even if it isn’t particularly trendy.
To make cold calling work effectively for you, it needs ;
- A plan – throwing a Yellow Pages at someone to make some calls isn’t a plan!
- A well targeted list – Your call list or database is the engine that powers your sales effort. And you wouldn’t expect to win at Silverstone with a smoky old Trabant engine would you?
- Training – if you want prospects to warm to you and want to deal with you, they will need to feel you’re friendly, clued up, honest and action-orientated.
- Measurement, monitoring and motivation – Good cold calling doesn’t just happen. It needs to be nurtured, and kept an eye on.
If you want a sounding board, to explore some ideas on how to win more new business through more effective proactive calling, we can help.
We have extensive experience in helping organisations like yours across the East and West Midlands : in Birmingham, Coventry, Lichfield, Solihull, Derby, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough, Leicester, Oakham, Uppingham, Loughborough, Coalville, Market Harborough, Newmarket, Cambridge and St. Ives