For years, sales representatives have heavily relied on cold calling for converting prospects into customers. Randomly reaching out to people within a certain target demographic has historically been one of the basic means of building customer lists and relationships. For that reason, cold calling has been widely accepted as a necessity for any sort of sales success.
However, times are changing. With an overabundance of digital options in today's world, it's official: Cold calling is dying out. Consumers now have the Internet at their fingertips and they use it to do their own research, discovering companies and products that can solve their pain points. This ease of accessibility to information has resulted in a new consumer attitude concerning their approach to purchasing from businesses.
Inbound marketing, the strategy of providing quality content that consumers can use, has quickly begun to take the place of cold calling, offering hot leads instead of icy, uninformed phone conversations. Inbound marketing is less invasive than cold calling and most importantly, offers genuine help in the form of blogs and other educational content. Inbound focuses on building reputations and relationships before asking consumers to buy.
Still unsure about the decline of the cold call? Let's dig a little deeper and look at five statistics that truly prove that cold calling is dying.
According to research, out of ten top-level B2B decision makers, nine of them will simply not respond to cold calls. These decision makers know what they need and because of that, they report that cold calls are simply a waste of their time. Apart from the obvious Google searches that supply consumers with information, 75 percent of these B2B leaders also report using social media when contemplating purchases. Since inbound marketing content is heavily linked to both SEO and social media, the possibilities for engaging with prospects on these platforms are rich.
Only 28 percent of cold calls actually start a conversation. This means that nearly three-fourths of the calls that any given sales representative makes will not even result in the other person answering the phone. No company can afford to have employees wasting that much time on the job.
A mere 1 percent of answered calls will become appointments. We just saw how poorly cold calls perform when looking at the number of conversations they start, but the rate of having those calls become appointments drops even lower. Among the people who actually give sales representatives a few minutes to have a brief conversation, the vast majority will refuse any effort to actually set up an appointment.
Here's a statistic from the buyer’s perspective: Only 20 percent of salespeople present any kind of value to cold call conversations. In other words, sales teams do not seem to have a good handle on what the customer wants or needs when they make their sales pitches over the phone. That presents yet another problem that inbound marketing solves: By producing and tracking the content that prospects consume, sales teams have a very good idea of what their ideal target customers want to see. This creates a completely different, more custom-tailored experience than a blind cold call.
Falling in line with the last statistic, further research shows that 70% of executive-level buyers report that salespeople who contact them are not prepared to answer their questions. This means that overall, sales professionals do not have the insight needed to adequately prepare for their phone conversations. They do not know what the likely pain points for their prospects will be and therefore, they are not prepared to answer the majority of questions that arise on these calls.
Each of these statistics is disheartening for the future of cold calling; however, inbound marketing presents a much better solution for sales teams! What about a statistic that shows the difference that inbound marketing makes? According to a study, 74% of buyers say that they will work with the sales professional who was the first to add value and insight.
Sales teams who practice the inbound methodology will have already been supplying their prospects with blogs, eBooks, infographics and more. They will know the likely pain points of each customer and they will have already established their credibility in the minds of consumers. This means that when it comes time to purchase, prospects will be far more inclined to move forward. It's officially time to hang up on cold calling and say goodbye once and for all!