The debate continues between sales experts who advocate that cold calling is “dead” and those who see it as “alive”. Truth is, the traditional tactic of cold calling is very much alive and is an important strategy utilized by sales and sales leaders in high-growth companies.
Despite this “dead or alive” argument, cold calling offers undeniable benefits that would otherwise be lost, such as:
- Keeping up with the high-growth companies that drive new techniques to leverage teleprospecting and telemarketing.
- Getting in touch with prospects that would be difficult to reach by other means, like e-mail.
- Establishing a human connection immediately, which is lost when using outlets like advertisements and emails.
In addition, cold calling is essential to company growth:
To answer the question of whether or not cold calling is dead, DiscoverOrg surveyed 200 sales and marketing leaders about their company’s growth.
They found that, 55 percent of high growth companies – who experienced a minimum of 40 percent growth over the previous three-years – stated that cold calling is very much alive.
The survey also determined that the companies who said cold calling is dead experienced 42 percent less growth than those who said it was alive.
“The study clearly says that companies who are willing to sit down and figure out the process and go to market with a really optimized sales development structure and outbound cold calling team, those are companies that are growing significantly faster than those that don’t.”
Shuck also states that there are many points along the way where companies can say “It’s not for us, our business is different, it’s just not our culture, it’s not who we are to do outbound calling.” But it’s the companies that don’t let these excuses get in the way that experience faster growth.
To help you successfully leverage cold calling, we’ve hand-picked the most recent, credible and key statistics about cold calling, buyers, salespeople and the buying process.
Understanding these rapidly changing statistics and harnessing the new technologies available will help you alter your cold calling strategy to meet the needs of today’s modern buyer.
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Here are 30 statistics that will help increase your cold calling success rates:
Buyers have changed more in the past ten-years than they have in the past hundred. With the rise of social media and other online platforms, buyers can do their research and make smarter buying decisions.
With 90 percent of B2B buyers saying “When I’m ready to buy, I’ll find you,” it’s clear that buyers have the control and the sales cycles are no longer linear.
In fact, due to the rapid changes in the buyer’s journey, Forrester research predicts that one million US sales jobs will be obsolete by 2020. This accounts for 20 percent of the US salesforce.
To overcome these obstacles, Sales Managers need to have a thorough understanding of their typical buyer’s journey. This understanding will help them make necessary changes to their cold calling strategy and adapt to the modern buyer.
Here are some statistics to help you understand the modern buyer’s journey:
- 75 percent of B2B buyers buy online when making business purchases.
- Only 25 percent of B2B companies effectively sell online.
- 57 percent of a B2B buyer’s journey is completed before talking to sales.
- 70 percent of people make purchases to solve problems.
- 30 percent make purchases to gain something.
- In a firm with 100-500 employees, there are 7 people involved in buying decisions.
“B2B customers use six different interaction channels in their buying process, and 65 percent become frustrated by inconsistent experiences.”
Having an a-player sales team is what separates high-performing organizations from underperforming ones.
In fact, 29 percent of high-performing sales team members agree that holding their salespeople accountable for their performance is crucial to success.
On the other hand, only 13 percent of underperforming sales team members agreed with this statement, according to a survey done by Harvard Business Review.
Monitoring your sales team’s performance and holding them accountable for the level of activity needed to hit their targets is critical in your cold calling strategy.
Here are some statistics to help maximize your sales team’s cold calling performance:
- In 2007 it took 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it takes 8 attempts.
- 78 percent of decision makers say they’ve taken appointments or attended events that came from a cold call or email.
- 50 percent of sales go to the first salesperson to contact the prospect.
- 80 percent of sales require five follow-up calls after the meeting.
- 44 percent of salespeople give up after one follow-up.
- Nurtured leads make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
- Companies who nurture leads have 9 percent more sales reps hitting their targets.
“58 percent of buyers report that sales reps are unable to answer their questions effectively.”
To help ensure your sales reps are fully prepared to answer their prospect’s questions, we have compiled two cold calling scripts from Mike Weinberg’s New Sales. Simplified. and Jeb Blount’s Fanatical Prospecting.
Download the cold calling scripts at the end of the article.
Sales has always been about doing business with people you know. Networking and leveraging relationships through meetings, conferences, organizations, etc., has been the traditional path to create connections. With the rise of social media, gone are the days of sitting at your desk “working the phones.”
Sales leaders need to make sure they’re adapting themselves and their sales teams to take advantage of technology advancements – social media. Those who have adapted and now leverage social media in their prospecting exceed their targets 23 percent more often than those who do not leverage social selling.
Here are some statistics to help you use social media to your advantage:
- Social media has a 100 percent higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing.
- 5 percent of B2B sales teams consider social media a successful lead generation method.
- 58 percent of buyers said that blogs are an important resource when making a purchase decision.
- B2B buyers who use social media to make purchases spend 84 percent more than those who don’t.
- Social buyers make 61 percent more purchases than those who don’t use social.
- You are 70 percent more likely to get an appointment with someone if you are in a common LinkedIn group.
- 96 percent of sales reps use LinkedIn at least once a week for an average of 6 hours.
“84 percent of CEOs and VPs use social media to make purchasing decisions.”
Every minute your sales reps wait to make their first call greatly reduced their chances of converting the prospects.
Making contact with a prospect within one minute of the lead being generated can increase your conversion rate by 391 percent. If your sales reps wait 24 hours to contact a prospect, there is only a 17 percent chance of conversion, according to Velocify.
Evaluating your current cold call strategy and making changes based on current data and trends, will help your sales team increase their conversion rates.
Here are some statistics to optimize your cold calling:
- Sales reps make an average of 46 calls per day.
- 42 percent of sales reps feel they don’t have enough information before making a call.
- By using a headset, you are 50 percent more effective on the phone.
- Tone is 86 percent of our communication, especially on the phone. The words we use only account for 14 percent of our communication.
- The best days to call are Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6:45 am to 9:00 am and 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
- The worst days to call are Mondays from 6:00 am to noon and Fridays in the afternoon.
“When leaving a voicemail for a prospect, the optimal length is between 8 and 14 seconds.”
It’s clear the telephone is still an essential tool in the sales dialogue. While there have been technological developments causing you and your sales teams to re-evaluate your cold calling strategy, it is still an important strategy in business development.
By leveraging the preceding findings you can formulate an effective outreach strategy to increase your cold calling success going forward.
Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.
He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.
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