In recent years, there has been widespread debate across the blogosphere concerning cold calling. Some marketing pundits see cold calling as dead due to the changing nature of business communication, with more people using VoIP, social media platforms and/or email on their cell phones to engage with prospective or current service providers and business associates. Yet cold calling is far from dead, especially in business to business (B2B) marketing, where it is easy to research your leads thoroughly before calling. Although some marketers insist that inbound marketing is all that matters, outbound methods such as cold calling should be included in your strategy for a varied B2B marketing approach that covers all bases. Read on for six tips on B2B cold calling.
- Obtain a Fresh list of Prospects
Your list of prospects is the most important aspect of conducting B2B cold calling campaigns. It pays to narrow down a list until it contains to businesses that have profiles that make them likely to respond well to your pitch. One of the best ways to ensure a high degree of success is to use prospects whose profiles are similar to those of businesses that you have successfully pitched to before.
If you have a list of prospects that has been depleted of useful options you can also exchange your leads for a fresh list through a lead exchange service. This will help you to avoid exhausting your options in a target location or industry too quickly.
- Do your Investigations
Knowing as much as possible about a business is a must when performing B2B cold calling. Knowing its niche areas of expertise (in the case of a service business) or the finer points of the company’s products will not only give you confidence, but will also enable you to deliver an opening gambit that shows you have done your research and are not a generic telemarketer.
In addition to searching for useful information on Google, platforms such as LinkedIn can provide valuable information to incorporate into your cold calling campaign.
- Create a Winning Script
The best television dramas and films aren’t ad-libbed – a polished script often makes the difference between a smash hit and a dud. The same goes for cold calling – planning what you will say is an essential aspect of securing leads. In the past, cold calling was used for every stage of marketing, from introducing yourself to closing a sale. Now it is used more as an introductory means for landing an in-person meeting.
Write a script that introduces you and your business and explains your products and/or services concisely. It is essential to keep what you will say brief – leave the extensive information (such as product information or the finer points of what you are hoping to gain through a business partnership) for a face to face meeting.
- Anticipate Refusal
Because people may be averse to cold calling, it is wise to anticipate possible refusals or objections, so be prepared to counter these. An effective way to counter a respondent who seems close to expressing disinterest is to politely suggest a day and a time for meeting in person. Using cold calling as an introductory tool in this way can be highly effective, especially when you have researched a business thoroughly as suggested above and have fine-tuned your pitch accordingly.
- Keep Track of Call and Response Data
Cold calling has additional uses to establishing first contact with businesses that might be interested in a mutually profitable venture. The data that you can gather through an extended campaign alone may give you an idea of which businesses will be amenable to forging a professional relationship with you.
Keeping a record of the calls you have made and the responses received will also help you to avoid the embarrassment of accidentally calling the same business multiple times. Keeping notes on each call is also useful for gaining additional insight into the businesses you approach; insight that will help you to hone your cold calling approach so that the following calls are likely to be more successful.
- Keep your Eyes on your End Goal
One of the problems of cold calling is that many small-medium business owners lose motivation after being turned down a few times. Like the aspiring fiction writer who has to field rejection letters in the hope of finding one life-changing publishing contract, cold calling requires keeping focused on your end goal and using every bit of information gained during the process to perfect your approach. Even a ‘no’ from a prospective business partner can be useful, as you might glean useful information over the course of the pitch (as mentioned above).
As an example, a prospect might provide a direct reason why they are not interested at present, and such reasons can provide valuable insight into what steps should be taken to position you for greater success.
If you follow these basic tips for cold calling and persist in following up on well-researched prospects by making well-scripted calls, you are likely to add valuable outbound B2B marketing returns that round out your combined inbound and outbound strategies.