The Reality of Cold Calling for B2B Sales

cold calling Jan 04, 2021
The reality of cold calling. Only 2% of all calls result in an appointment. 50% of all calls received in 2019 were robo dialers.

When you're thinking about your 2021 sales goals, you're probably considering which methods are most likely to generate qualified leads. While we might be able to do more in-person events come summer, Covid is still likely to put a damper on networking for at least a few more months. So a lot of firms are resorting to cold calling to make their numbers. 

Cold Calling Has a Low ROI

But cold calling is a tough way to make a living. A friend of mine used to cold call full time. He kept 2 plastic cups on his desk. At the beginning of each day, one was empty; the other was filled with 100 paper clips. For every dial he made, he'd transfer one clip to the empty cup. When all the clips had moved from the full cup to the empty one, he'd sign off for the day and go home. 

His list was the yellow pages of the phone book. (Do they even print phone books anymore? Do Gen Z's even know what a phone book is?)

My friend wasn't doing any research on the firms he was calling. He was just working through the list, trying to make 100 dials. He memorized a 30-second pitch, which he'd launch into if he managed to reach someone. Every 50 or so calls, he'd get someone to take an appointment to hear more.

My friend knew his numbers. For every 100 calls, he'd get 2 appointments. For every 10 appointments, he'd get 2-3 qualified opportunities, and for every 8 qualified opportunities, he'd close a sale.  

It would usually take 7-10 hours to move all his paperclips every day. It worked, and he made quota. But honestly, working that hard at cold calling would make me lose the will to live!

His numbers aren't unusual. Most cold callers need to make 100 calls to get 2 appointments. And it’s getting worse. The surge in annoying robo-calls make your prospects reluctant to answer the phone.

But even if you do get them on the phone, assuming you're selling something more complex than a Xerox machine, can you actually engage someone in a meaningful conversation if you've called them at random? 

 

Effective Prospecting Takes Research

To be effective in prospecting, to get better conversion rates, it's important to target your outreach to people who will need your product. You'll also be more effective if you can prepare for the call and open with something that will be of interest to the prospect. But that prep takes time. And you can't make 100 calls a day if you have to do prep for each one. There simply isn't enough time in the day. 

So what do you do? You still have to make quota. 

 

LinkedIn Offers an Easier Way to Prospect

If you are like me, you have to fill your pipeline early in the year. You can't use live events for networking for at least the next few months. So you have to find another way. 

I found that LinkedIn gives me a way to research my prospects so that I can completely personalize my outreach. Of course this takes time more time than randomly dialing a list. But I'm getting a 76% conversion rate on my connection requests. Then 71% of those engage with me in LinkedIn's messenger, and 35% of those booked meetings with me. Compare that to a 2% appointment rate with cold calling. 

If you want to know how I did this, click the link below to see a free webinar where I walk you through my strategy. 

Check out our free webinar and learn how to fill your pipeline with qualified leads using LinkedIn.

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