At Palmer we are big proponents of supplementing our inbound marketing plans, i.e. SEO, PPC and social media components, with some outbound techniques.
One of the most effective and overlooked methods for generating productive leads is, believe it or not, cold calling, but not in the traditional sense of the word.
If you’ve established a relationship with a lead through inbound marketing tactics, it may be time to pick up the phone and put that personal touch on your relationship. By doing research and prepping yourself for this phone call, you can avoid the obnoxious title of “telemarketer.”
Before you direct your marketing team to start punching digits into their iPhones, there are some important guidelines to follow:
Research your prospects—Marketing teams should be comfortable segmenting leads into likelihood of response, but your teams should also look into who or which position they should be trying to connect with, what products they are most likely to be interested in and what times are most likely to result in a productive conversation. Your “cold calling” strategy should include what to expect, how to respond to certain questions and how to guide the conversation to minimize wasted time.
Create a script—Before your marketing team picks up the phone, make sure they have an overall plan and outline for how they want the call to go. Most calls should be relatively short and simple, but your team should allow for in-depth conversations. Make a list of key information to be acquired if possible, but don’t interrogate the other party. Be sure to hit the most important points of your pitch as organically as possible. This being said, don’t be afraid to allow the conversation go in a direction you weren’t entirely expecting. If the lead wants to talk about something else, it may be best to just listen.
Raise appropriate questions—In initial calls your team will probably be feeling out the company to some extent. It is important to use open ended questions that allow the other party to direct the conversation to a relevant topic. Leave room for the other party to do most of the talking. You should let them tell your team what they want, rather than what your company can offer.
Thoroughly understand the market—It is often important to have some level of commonality between your two companies. Present your value proposition early and allow the other party to provide some feedback about you or your competitors’ products. Your marketing team should be able to provide advantages over others that is compelling.
Use a human touch—The person on the other end of a cold call understands that you are a salesperson of sorts, by the end of the call try to make them feel as though you aren’t. Use each call as a unique opportunity to establish a personal, TRUSTED relationship with a manager or executive. Using humor or enthusiasm can help differentiate your call from the hundreds of others they probably field. The most effective calls emphasize some spontaneity and freshness.
Inspire a response—While only a minor number of cold calls result in a sale, they can lay the foundation for meaningful future interactions. Using the initial call to set up a follow up call or a product demonstration is much more realistic than clinching the sale. Getting email addresses can be critical to developing a follow up through other channels like email marketing as well.
Inbound strategies may have overtaken the business world, but most experienced marketers still recognize the value of an integrated marketing campaign.
“Cold calling,” especially, is important in creating human interactions that may mature into valuable business partnerships.
If you or your marketing team is interested in learning more about how effective "cold calling" can support business growth, please feel free to contact us at Palmer. Click the link below: