B2B Cold Calling: Perceived and Real Barriers to Success
Business to Business (B2B) cold calling is one of the most versatile and effective sources of acquiring prospective business clients, and can produce financial results for almost any firm.
Typically B2B cold calling is used to set appointments or drive prospects to a webinar. Many firms refer to it as “lead generation,” “lead gen,” or “appointment generation.” But the entire process starts with the basic cold call.
Before you go ahead and launch a cold calling program, however, consider these perceived and real barriers to success
#1: Cold calling is just like consumer telemarketing.
Equating B2B cold calling with consumer telemarketing, many managers and cold callers themselves project their own negative feelings onto their prospects. Their dislike and fear of interrupting or annoying prospects overwhelms them.
Let me tell you, if you truly believe your calls are negative interruptions, you will never be successful. Your callers will not have confidence and your prospects will not respect them.
I personally regard cold calling as an opportunity to present information to individuals who otherwise would not have access to it, and to provide real solutions to actual business challenges. That’s the belief system successful callers have when they make cold calls. Prospects can hear it in their voices and respond positively.
#2: Cold calling is too expensive.
Many new to cold calling are startled by its expense. Yes, cold calling is labor intensive, making it more costly than an advertisement in a local paper. However, cold calling can be far more effective than a single advertisement. It’s the return on investment that must be considered, not just the cost.
More importantly, cold calling is absolutely affordable to most firms on a pilot (trial) basis. The pilot will help you learn whether you have the potential to succeed in the future – and whether you would be wise to make the investment.
#1: As with all marketing campaigns, cold calling also requires an appetite for risk.
You will not know in the beginning whether your cold calling program will be successful.
#2: Even when cold calling programs are successful, the results are inconsistent.
Firms who succeed using cold calling generally make long-term commitments and view results over extended time periods. Results can vary week to week, month to month.
Typically, when your calling team starts a new list, the results will dip, and after the list “wakes up,” the results will begin to pop. You cannot get concerned about intermittent periods of low results, as long as the overall results are positive.
#3: Lastly, prospects who originate through cold calling typically require a great deal of cultivation by skilled sales people.
Do not mistake them for warm leads. Converting a lead from a cold calling campaign really does require sales skills. Remember, the lead is someone who was not expecting a call, and may not yet have been shopping for your product or service. But, he/she agreed to talk more and now the sales person needs to really shine!
In short, successful cold calling requires a long term view and financial investment, a willingness to take risks, and strong sales skills to close leads.
If your firm can make these commitments, cold calling may be one of your best sources to uncover “hard to find” prospects. It may be your biggest competitive advantage and a source of sustainable revenue and client growth.