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Can you cry underwater? Or sweat while swimming? Do fishes swim while eating or how long do they wait to swim after eating?
These ancient questions have perplexed humanity for decades, but for many sales representatives, the question that’s left them troubled is whether cold calling still works or not.
There’s tons of research that highlight the idea that soon enough cold calling will be discarded. Whether it’s going to be forsaken is up for an argument, but what’s certain in the minds of many sales leaders is that it’ll be less frequently used than other prospecting methods and lead generation techniques.
Cold calling was one of the most effective prospecting strategies but in the last 4 decades, a host of other alternatives emerged.
While we can’t say that cold calling is never successful, necessary, or useful. It’s a wise move to ensure that your other prospecting strategies are solid enough so it’s not your go-to technique.
Why? For one, cold calling has a 2% success rate. Imagine driving with your eyes closed. That’s what you do with your marketing every time you opt for a cold call.
As a salesperson or marketer, you have more information, technology, and tools at your disposal than has ever been available for a quality sales process. And the worst move you could make is trying to make sales blindly with cold calls.
Once you’re able to generate leads without cold calls, you’ll dramatically boost your marketing budget ROI.
So let’s go through the list below and explore 15 alternatives to cold calling geared towards helping you hit your future sales targets.
Before that though, let’s see why you need cold calling alternatives.
Why Opt for Alternatives to Cold Calling Lead Generation?
Cold calling is an ancient sales strategy that works by calling persons that you have no relationship with. It still is infused into the sales reps’ contemporary workflow, but there are far better ways to implement this outreach.
For example, a great prospecting strategy must be:
- Consistent: That is it can reliably generate fresh leads continuously.
- Targeted: A good prospecting strategy should connect you with relevant prospects, not random people.
- High Returns: A solid prospecting strategy pulls in a huge number of prospects for the equivalent amount of energy put in.
Cold calling achieves none of this. With it, you’re calling people you have no connection to and the conversation is just about your offer.
And when you relate this to the statistics available, you can see why this approach isn’t efficient anymore. For instance, more than 200 million people are on a national list for “do not call”.
That’s not all. Most businesses are not even taking calls except you want to speak to a contact you already know. And telecom giants like T-Mobile are offering data-only packages for mobiles.
All these make it clear that the desire of humans to talk to people over the phone is fading, most especially if those calls are unexpected.
Besides, potential customers can now research brand reviews, information, and feedback. And every kind of data online about your business. All these things make cold calling appear as an unnecessary nuisance.
Potential customers don’t need sales reps how they used to.
It’s even fair to state that any random person who interrupts your day with an unexpected 3-minute call script may have to do some impressive speedy talking to stop you from ending the call.
What’s worse is further research reports that cold calling is ineffective 90% of the time and another study revealed that 63.27% of people reject or ignore calls from businesses and random numbers.
This means that if we assume a 0.3% booking rate for appointments and a 20% success rate, you would have to make 6264 cold calls to get 4 sales! That’s horrible!
The odds are certainly not in your favor if you stick with cold calling as your only lead generation strategy.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a huge list of alternative techniques in this piece to enable you to properly and effectively generate leads. You can also merge the strategies below for better results.
LinkedIn is an excellent way to build a personal relationship with a prospect before calling them. That said, it’s also valuable for increasing your network audience.
For instance, tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, are great for locating leads that satisfy your buyer persona and taking full advantage of your mutual connections to build relationships with top-level decision-makers.
90% of business-to-business (B2B) executives do not respond to cold calls anymore.
Also, these LinkedIn messages create room for personalization from prospect and company research, which is information that usually isn’t evident in a cold call. And they take much less time than cold calls. That’s not taking into account the loss of drive that can occur in a harsh cold call rejection.
You can share content on LinkedIn as well to initiate organic interactions with your current connections or generate inbound leads. This is a form of “thought leadership” that’s rapidly gaining popularity amongst salespersons to prospect fresh leads.
2. Email Promotion
Email marketing or promotion is the use of emails to promote or market your brand and its services. Every email you send to prospects on your mailing list should nurture them as they head towards conversion.
And to automate and segment this process you can take advantage of customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. Email promotion is also a powerful way to keep your business in the mind of people who are interested in it, as well as, induce repeat business.
An email campaign that offers valuable data to your inbound and does not revolve around your offer is an excellent way to connect with prospects.
Plus, offering email content that isn’t just satisfying a sales pitch or meeting requests is a great way to build engagement from leads that may be hard to get to otherwise.
If you get your email leads via your website it offers you information on the user’s behavior. You get to see what they engaged with while on your website and how long. This gives you enough information on how to contact the lead and the target message to use.
That said, it’s vital to state that if you’re in Europe, your web visitors need to opt-in to your email subscription because of GDPF regulations.
3. Sales Process Relationships
Sales process relationships or social selling involves fostering relationships during the sales process by connecting directly or sharing relevant content via mediums like social media.
There are so many techniques in this lead generation method. For example, joining LinkedIn or Facebook groups that are relevant in subjects that are of interest to your target buyers can be a crucial place for interacting with fresh leads.
Also, answering questions on platforms like Quora displays your passion, experience, and expertise. This attracts interest in your skills which you can then follow up with a sales targeted interaction in a non-pushy way.
You can host webinars to share your expertise and knowledge with prospects in your target audience as they’ll be more likely to embrace your solution after listening to you because it shows them that you know your stuff and understand the pain points they need satisfied.
Every form of content like blogs, or vlogs can be used to display the intertwined relationship between your prospects’ pain points and the value your solution offers.
Just sharing relevant content from other sources can also work perfectly in building prospect engagement and fostering your brand’s credibility.
Also, you can use social listening tools like Sales Navigator and Google alerts to set up notifications that show up when a particular prospect puts up a post that’s relevant to your brand or experiences a major change.
So rather than use an out-of-tune cold call, you can engage with your prospect’s content in a genuine way to build a connection before you make your sales pitch.
Did you know that 84% of B2B executives begin their buying journeys via referrals?
Requesting your loyal customers to refer people to your business who are relevant to the same is an effective strategy. Such channel multipliers and partners are especially vital for small scale businesses to grow.
Again, there’s something you can take advantage of with LinkedIn when seeking referrals as the platform allows you to see your network’s mutual connections. This allows you to target your advocates for referral leads.
Plus, direct referral requests are better sent via LinkedIn or email rather than via calling.
Not only can you find referrals in your current customer base, but you can also generate leads through consultants, and coaches.
5. Warm Calling
Warm calling involves you establishing contact with the prospect before you reach out to them.
The connection can happen over social media networks like LinkedIn, or via a mutual colleague introducing you to each other before you try to close the interaction by making a sale.
Normally, warm calling happens through personal referrals, however, it’s very effective when implemented via social media channels.
Analyzing warm calls’s 30% success rate versus the 2% for cold calls is enough evidence that it offers better methodologies for sales reps to implement.
It’s also obvious that salespersons are more likely to get an appointment if they’ve previously built a connection with the prospect. This is another reason warm calling produces better results than cold calling.
Warm calling can also happen after engaging with content that the prospect shared or posted.
We’ve already touched on this previously, but let’s get into a bit more detail. Webinars are online seminars that may consist of panel discussions, interviews, or the host talking directly to the viewer.
Webinars can also be used in lead generation by collecting prospect contact information via online forms in exchange for access to the webinar.
This method even allows you to classify prospects based on how close they are to converting by analyzing what topics they are interested in.
Inviting guest speakers who are known in your niche can pull in a fresh audience as well.
7. Paid Advertisements
Online ads on social media channels and search engines are a quick way to direct traffic to your website, especially if it’s just been launched.
Platforms like Facebook allow you to create ads that target particular demographics and keywords to amplify your ad’s impact.
Paid ads are a crucial aspect of any ad campaign and must be a continuous component of your marketing budget till you get a stable organic inflow.
8. Retargeted Ads
Retargeted ads are adverts on search engines or social media platforms that are targeted at your website’s past visitors. This is possible via tracking codes, or cookies, which gather information about people when they come to your website.
You can then use this information to show them relevant ads when they’re off your website. Research shows that retargeted ads are 10 times more powerful in causing sales conversions than display ads.
The moment your website starts getting huge traffic volumes, retargeted ads are one of the best ways to take advantage of it.
9. Direct Mails
Do you recall when last you sent a letter or even opened one? Probably not, either way, many accounts of successful snail mail or direct letters marketing campaigns exist. Why this method works is due to the opportunity for personalization it presents.
Also, a small gift sent alongside the letter can even be included as an incentive without overshooting your customer acquisition costs because of how cost-effective this strategy is to lead generation budgets.
10. Physical Events
Besides networking via social media, there are loads of physical networking events that happen in all regions and industries and such programs offer a huge opportunity to find decision-makers.
These events may be conferences, fairs, and exhibitions as well as networking events. The entry costs to such events are usually worth the number of leads you can generate if you chose the event correctly.
Loyal or returning clients cost less in terms of acquisition than fresh ones, and a great way to pull in more recurring customers is by giving incentives.
Think of running a rewards or loyalty program for clients who sign up. Perks like discounts after making a certain number of purchases or even rewards for referrals are great offers to keep customers spreading the word about your business.
Incentives can amplify your marketing opportunity as popular offers can magnet new leads by word of mouth or online buzz.
12. Gated Downloads
A gated download is content that requires the prospect to take a step like inputting contact details to access the information to be downloaded.
The download offer could be a checklist, case study, white paper, infographics, video, or anything that can be valuable to the prospect’s journey.
The moment you get the person’s information, you can then market them some more to get additional information that’ll push them nearer to your sales pitch.
13. Landing Pages
The first place a web visitor arrives when they click through to your website is a landing page. That said, the term is usually used to imply a dedicated page created to convert traffic to leads.
Most landing pages are used to gather prospect contact information for gated content. You can use landing pages at any point in the buyer’s journey but it’s most effective in the consideration stage when prospects know they need a solution to their problems.
SEO or search engine optimization is the process that a website undergoes to optimize it for search engine algorithms. Websites that have better SEO rank higher in the search engine results pages than other sites competing for the same keywords.
This increases the chances of a prospect clicking on the website. A lot of the SEO changes done to a website can boost its overall accessibility and user experience. And this results in a cycle of traffic boost that further amplifies rankings.
15. Social Media Engagement
Maintain interaction with prospects on the various social media platforms that you have pages on. And always reply whenever a potential client reaches out to you, cautiously though.
For example, if you share or repost a prospect’s content on LinkedIn and they like a tweet from you, don’t send them a private message immediately.
Maintain casual social media engagement by tagging them to content that they may find interesting, follow them, or like any other posts they put up.
By turning your social media visitors and followers who would still be in the research stage into prospects by engaging them you ensure that they’d be more receptive and willing to listen to you when you make your sales pitch.
Since you’ve built a relationship, it’ll be a lot easier to make the sales pitch than if you simply give them an unexpected phone call.
Plus, by looking at your social pages as lead generation channels, you get to connect your marketing team and sales team which results in an effective approach that excels in nurturing leads and closing deals.
Prospects don’t respond to cold calls as they used to anymore and some even loathe receiving such calls. With the advancement of humanity, people have so many ways of engaging with a product or service before the purchase to build trust, that they simply prefer not to make buying decisions randomly.
With that in mind, we listed out these cold calling alternatives that can help you effortlessly generate leads and ultimately improve sales.
Implement them and watch your income rise