Revenue Fundamentals

Cold calling. Dead? Nope. Just needs a few tweaks...

Yeah, yeah. You're probably already thinking "Oh, wow. Another blog article about how cold calling may or may not be dead, how dull".

Well, I'm afraid you're right. However, given we're still faced with either marketing to our prospects, or selling to them, I think we owe it to the latter 50% and the wonderful history of the cold call to re-define what it actually is, and how, if done effectively, it remains an incredibly powerful outreach method.

The stereotype

Bit of fun to get us going. Picture the sales floor, the smell of sweat and desperation, ego and disposition, and sales folk packed so tightly you'd see better conditions for battery hens.

100 dials, 120 dials, 150 dials to everyone and anyone they can keep on the line long enough to get through their feature-fuelled elevator. Nostalgia tells me this was a GREAT time to be in sales. But honestly, we all look back at it as lunacy, now.

New-breed cold callers: The SDR movement

The rise of sales development, or outreach as you may know it, has seen a new breed of sales teams apply scrutiny, science, technology and creativity to the art of "opening the door".

Cold calling is still very much at the heart of what we do, however has taken on an entirely new identity.  Now, cold calling is simply one of the many mediums with which we approach our prospects:

Email, Social, Video, Cold Call, Direct Mail, Content, Events, Turning up at their office! We now have more ways than ever to prime, nurture, and gain commitment from our prospects.

So how does that change what the cold call actually is AND does it still qualify as a cold call or should we go for an unnecessary re-brand..?

Why the outreach mix?

With the rise of account-based selling, we now take more time to identify the perfect prospect, we take time to learn about them, research them, and carefully curate our messaging that will ensue over a carefully constructed cadence for the next couple of weeks.

Therefore, when the magic moment arises, and our prospect finally utters "hello", we should have the following in our armoury:

  • They have received targeted, personal, resonating messages and information from us already
  • They may well already consciously, or subconsciously know our name or our businesses name, and ideally, associate this with something good
  • They are expecting to hear from you OR may even be waiting to hear from you

Does this now mean we are making "warm calls"? Well, I say no. A warm call is teed up, it's a call that both parties are aware is taking place and why. No unnecessary re-brand. Hurrah!

So, we ARE still cold calling! Cold calling isn't dead! Phew, glad we got that one out the way... We march on.

Creating your ideal customer profile (ICP)

So, the first step to ensuring our cold-call is a sort of cold/warm call is to identify your ICP. I've seen the best sales teams focus on:

  • Commercial fit
  • Technical fit
  • Customer maturity - Are you looking for growing businesses, stable SMEs or fat corporates?
  • The existence of particular role types - For Kluster, this relates to the rise in popularity of Sales Operations as genuine senior leaders
  • Current technology
  • Industry

Ensuring you ONLY approach individuals and businesses whom our research suggests are likely to buy naturally transforms the cold call.

Cold calling dead


We've established that cold calling now fits in with a multitude of different mediums, but how should a modern outreach cadence look?

Give or take a few days (given your industry), Kluster has seen some great success with the following:

  1. Tailored email covering the following: a) Business personal link b) Recent business event c) a “P.s.” quoting something truly personal d) a clever or original call to action.
  2. Video - A short video with a mention to the email, followed up with a personalised and stats-driven reason as to why meeting would be valuable to them
  3. Cold call - of course
  4. Power VM – don’t forget the good old voicemail. Keep it concise and original
  5. LinkedIn connection / message / share - keeping your name under their nose
  6. Cold call
  7. Email - On the theme that's been set out, perhaps offering some more insight or value
  8. Cold call
  9. Cold Call + VM
  10. Video - circling back to the original value proposition
  11. Email
  12. Cold Call
  13. Cold Call
  14. Email - Things are getting a little disheartening now, remind them of the value, how much effort you've put in and start to ask for a definitive call to action
  15. Cold Call
  16. Cold Call
  17. Last ditch email attempt - All cards now on the table. Go in for the kill

I regularly read that 16 touchpoints are now required to be pretty sure there is no interest from your prospect - So, naturally, one extra here!

Conclusion: Cold calling isn't dead

Cold calling isn't dead. It has evolved.

So, let's all go and make some good old coldies!... and send some emails... and some videos... and some LinkedIn messages...

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