February 9 by Patrick Wolf
There has been some debate as to whether or not “cold calling is dead.” Certainly that statement is an opinion and depends on whom you’re asking. Is it true? Is cold calling certainly a non-factor and a dead sales tactic that should be abandoned altogether? Or has things changed with the help of new technology, and cold calling isn’t necessarily reaching out to a cold lead, but rather a more qualified, informed lead? Well, that is up for debate. That is an argument that sales professionals could dispute for hours. What is true, however, is that there are a large number of alternatives to cold calling available to your sales teams.
If you feel that you’ve exhausted cold calling as a strategy for your team, then these 9 cold calling alternatives can give you new opportunities to generate leads.
Cold Calling Alternatives That Can Help Your Sales Team Generate Leads
Running Email Campaigns
Email campaigns are an exceedingly cheap and effective avenue to draw interest by sending the necessary content to potential leads. Through email, you are able to send specific information to large groups of people at once. Email also allows the recipient to read when they have the time, dispensing with one of the limitations of cold calling. It is exceedingly important to put time into creating and growing your email list. A well-organized and expansive list connects you with your customers.
No matter the quality of the list, however, content is king. An email campaign is only as powerful as quality of content behind it. Emails must be personalized, informative, and include a call to action.
Using the Power of a Blog
Blogging can be incredibly important as a marketing tool for all types of businesses. One of the most important functions is the generation web traffic. They act as click-fodder. By ranking in search engines, people will click on the blog and, in turn, be drawn toward the company website. Other ways that blogs prove to be great marketing tools are becoming known as an expert in the field, getting published, and generating leads through the collection emails addresses.
Hosting Valuable Webinars
Webinars are truly important in spreading the necessary knowledge surrounding your product and company. Webinars can increase your credibility in the subject and prove to potential costumers the value of your company. By providing the base knowledge of the industry, or the product, you prepare leads for future conversations. Along with blogging, webinars help to establish you as an expert in the field, along with establishing a loyalty among the audience. If you do it well, again much like blogs, people will come back for more.
Expand Awareness With Social Media
Social Media is obviously a large part of any marketing strategy and is only getting more important. The main social networks are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, however there are smaller, more niche networks that are growing in importance as well. Facebook does well at directing people towards blogs and similar created content. LinkedIn can provide many of the same things as Facebook, but a more professional context. The big thing that LinkedIn provides, however, are additions to your email list. All major social networks help gather information about the costumer that can be crucial in directing marketing techniques.
Along with the two big ones, there are scores of smaller, niche social networks. These networks are more targeted, and therefore can get more of a return. It is very likely that your industry and audience has there own community online.
Membership Only Content
Not all of your content needs to be shared immediately with the general public. Save some for only the highly engaged. Create a member sign-in section on your blog that can only be accessed if the costumer provides their email address. This strategy allows you to acquire significantly more email addresses of warm leads. You must bear in mind, however, that web memberships are most effective when your blog or website already has a sizable following. People don’t want to give there email addresses to companies they know nothing about, causing premature implementation to drive some people away.
Referrals from current costumers can have a major impact on generating new leads. They have a different perspective on the business than you do. They understand the value of your product from the costumer point of view and they can relate to future costumers. They might be able to explain a more nuanced success story about your product. Tap into your existing costumers as a resource! When you conclude business with a customer always ask for a testimonial. Reward them for bringing in new business by giving them discounts or extra services. People generally need an incentive to go out of their way to help.
Work With Referral Partners
There are always other companies whose business centers in the same pool of costumers. They are not in competition, but offer a different or supplementary product. Reach out to these companies and possibly enter into a referral-based relationship. If they come across a costumer that has a problem that your product addresses, they can refer them over, and visa versa.
Networking Through Events
One of the biggest problems with cold calling is that it is impersonal. It is important not to underestimate the value of face-to-face meetings and personal relationships. Take the time to attend events and meet people as a way to expand the reach of your business. Be proactive in your approach. If you know the companies that are going to be represented at an event, take the time to do some research so that you are well informed and engaging when you meet them. Don’t expect to close deals on the spot; when the conversation ends get a business card or ask to connect on LinkedIn. When you follow up in the future, you already have a warm base to build your relationship. If there are surprisingly no events that bring together your costumer base (or even if there are), create your own events to initiate conversations and build knowledge for your product.
Good Old Direct Mail
Probably one of the more expensive and difficult of the above alternatives, Direct mail can still be effective. People will respond if you send information that is well crafted and persuasive. It is important that the content being sent has a strong hook and a design that stands out to make the prospect read it in the first place. Also since continued use of mail is slow, old, and expensive it is necessary to bring the engaged prospects into your online community. Give people incentives to sign up to your email list and instructions on how to proceed. Lastly, make sure that the mailing list you are using is correctly qualified and targeted. Wasting direct mail is expensive and unnecessary.
Although cold calling is still important for many companies, there are a large number of alternatives that can expand the marketing scope. Using the above suggestions will generate more leads and warm up prospects that might not respond well to cold tactics. It is better to through a wide net when it comes to engaging potential costumers.