It Makes Sense to Revisit the Usefulness of Cold Calls in 2013

Where possible it makes more sense for technology businesses to implement what we have referred to as coordinated direct marketing campaigns than it does to merely implement unsolicited telephone calling, otherwise known as “cold calls”, as a means of breaking ground on engagement with a market sector.

IMB Enterprises, Inc. offers considerable current experience with both approaches. In our opinion, the costs associated with the amount of wasted effort that can be made on unplanned, ad hoc, “cold call” programs are prohibitive, regardless of whether the costs end up being shouldered by a third party service provider or by a technology business, itself. Of course, carefully planned campaigns that make use of cold calls may, in fact, be successful.

A number of factors, including

  • the quality of a contact list given an objective for a campaign
  • the titles and responsibilities of prospects targeted for calls
  • the visibility of a company’s brand in a chosen market
  • and, finally, the level to which the reason for a call amounts to a topic of general interest in a market

have a direct bearing on whether or not a cold calling campaign will produce useful results, or not.

Each of the above factors are much better handled within the context of a coordinated direct marketing campaign. For example, a dedicated effort can be made, in advance of actually initiating the kind of campaign that we recommend, to put together a truly useful set of names for a contact list. In fact, the marketing communications piece, itself, can provide a method for testing the usefulness of the names on the contact list. To implement this method, language should be included in the marketing communications piece that qualifies the level of involvement (if any) of specific individuals on a list with a set of targeted activities. For example, specific pieces of marketing collateral can be designed for audiences of technology users, buyers, and even sponsors (meaning stakeholders with a vested interest in ensuring that technologies successfully deliver on their promise).

Following further, it may well be that it will makes sense to provide telephone call follow up for some of the roles specified, while it may not make sense to plan on such follow up for others. Therefore, using a list carefully, and, specifically, in conjunction with a range of marketing communications options based upon role, can help, substantially to ensure that the right follow up efforts are made for the right set of contacts.

In the next post to this blog we will look further at why prospect titles should be used as an important indicator of whether or not it makes sense to follow up on marketing communications with a telephone call.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved


Unique Dynamics of “Cold Call” Prospecting Telephone Sales Calls

Most sales people have a pavlovian reaction to “cold call” telephone sales — quick glances from left to right (anywhere but straight eye to eye contact) and a determined effort to vacate the premises. The fact is that “cold call” telemarketing tasks are uncomfortable and far removed from the type of ego inflating activity that most sales people require to gin themselves up to the task of hitting their numbers on a month in/month out basis.

But the truth is that “cold call” telephone sales provides a highly targeted, controllable method of expanding market visibility with precision. In fact, if properly managed and executed, cold calls can be utilized to increase market awareness of a product precisely as planned. Therefore, I regard this method of prospecting as the most precise and efficient method available to any type of business marketing any type of product or service. While the number of prospects contacted depends entirely on the number of telemarketers at work (I eschew any mention of “robo dialers”, which dialers I consider to be entirely useless and a waste of precious funds that could be better spent on buying a telemarketers time), the contact, itself, is highly effective.

In contrast, advertising (even inclusive of online, context-sensitive display ads) is inherently a broad market passive technique of juxtaposing text, photos, suggestions, etc (which may all have the very same forward, presumptuous characteristics of a cold call) alongside subject matter that attracts prospect interest but, nonetheless, irrelevant to the ads themselves. The return on investment for advertising, I argue, is far less and certainly not appropriate for tight lipped businesses with leading edge technology that need to operate under the radar.

Usually sales people break out into one of two character types–so-called “farmers” and so-called “hunters”. I like to refer to farmers as the guys with the address books, the nice guys who are well liked by their contacts who have usually bought different products from the same sales person (my nice guy) over several sales “lives”. “Farmers” do not like cold calls. It’s the “hunters” who can be taught to use cold call telemarketing techniques. These sales people are generally in sales not only for the money, but also to satisfy a need for competition and achievement.

“Hunters” may not do a good job of maintaining business friendships, but they certainly can be trained in “cold call” telemarketing for prospecting. With a new technique like cold calling firmly ensconced in their quiver of sales methods, “hunters” can relied upon to not only deliver the orders, but to open the market precisely as planned for a controlled, yet covert, expansion of business.

Don’t pass up on cold call prospecting.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2011 All Rights Reserved