by Kevin Gaither, Vice President, Inside Sales
One of the perils of being in business in 2013 is finding the best way to reach new customers. Whether you are in sales, marketing, or in the survey business, you are constantly looking at ways to keep your core assets awake and alive in an age of overwhelming modes of communication.
As a Sales exec, I’ve come across many articles that declare cold calling dead and instead, promote a new software, technique, training program or social selling method that has replaced the human connection. As somebody who’s been practicing for almost 20 years, I wanted to dig deeper into the argument, and test the hypothesis of whether a “cold call” has indeed become irrelevant.
I’m fortunate to work for a consumer and business insights company that has access to over 12 million qualified panelists worldwide. So I thought that this would be a great question to pose to uSamp’s B2B Panel.
The goal was to survey 100 respondents to find out about their perceptions of cold calling. Instead of asking the Yes/No question right out of the gate, I asked respondents to self-identify as either a sales or business development professional, provide their own definition of a cold call and if they felt that their definition of a cold call was dead, and whether or not they agreed with my definition:
If a Cold Call is defined as a phone call where the person didn’t fill out a lead form, didn’t download your content, doesn’t know you, is not a referral and is not expecting your call, IS COLD CALLING DEAD?
In light of all the rhetoric out there, the results might be surprising:
87% of respondents felt that their definition of a cold call was “not dead”:
and 82% of respondents felt that my definition of a cold call was “not dead”:
I also posed this question on several LinkedIn Groups and Twitter to add a qualitative flavor to my research. Paul Castain of The Sales Playbook wrote:
“I don’t think it’s dead . . . I think it’s lonely and in need of other kinds of ‘touches’ to keep it company.”
And Trish Bertuzzi of The Bridge Group wrote:
“Apparently cold calling is alive and well and AMEN to that! BUT it is the cold that is dead not the calling.”
So what we’re left with is that, while cold calling is “alive and well,” there’s more to it than that for a cold call to be effective with today’s savvy buyers. Armed with FACTS and not self-serving opinions, I was able to crystalize the focus of my team and change strategies based on the level of the decision maker.
Bottom line: This is just one example of how a business panel can be useful for professionals. This is bigger than the simple question of whether cold calling is dead. This is about gaining better business insights, improving productivity, and testing and justifying methodology with FACTS. Why businesses should start employing research to examine daily practices –and improve upon them, making for a better work environment all around. Market Research is not just for industry professionals but spans to any individual role within a growing company – helping each team function more intelligently and ultimately, improving and refining their skill set to make them more successful.
What do you think? What business questions do you want answered?
Kevin is a passionate and recognized Inside Sales Expert & Leader with an 18+ year track record of growing early-stage and multi-million dollar businesses. Find him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.