Cold Calling is Dead. Long Live Cold Calling

Amazing things have happened in the sales and marketing process in the last few years.  Marketing Automation Systems (MAS) enable vendors to contact and nurture leads and track their development before entering the sales funnel.  Newer, web-based Salesforce Automation (SFA) systems, make it a lot easier to track deals, develop analytics and give managers visibility into the sales process.

Some would say that cold calling, the bane of salespeople and prospects alike, has been eliminated from the sales process; permission-based marketing means that folks will make themselves known to the vendor when they are ready to buy.  This is a beautiful thing!  With the massive amounts of data that social media sites are gathering on their members, soon advertisers will target their messages so specifically that you will never again be annoyed by messages that are irrelevant.

This may be true, or may be becoming true, in the B2C space but, for early stage technology companies selling a service or solution to other businesses, I think cold calling is still a pretty important part of the sales process.  Now, there is cold calling and cold calling.


Shotgun style calls made randomly with little thought or preparation are a thing of the past.  My first business job after returning to Canada from overseas and going to business school was as a runner for a commercial real estate broker.  This was long ago enough that there were no computers in the office and a new broker was given a desk, telephone and phone book and told to get after it.  Most failed.  This kind of cold calling is dead, and should be.

Disciplined, Focused

When I refer to cold calling – cold calling 2.0? – I mean the disciplined, systematic, calling that a salesperson will make into a company to elicit responses to his company’s offer.  Yes, leads will bubble up from the MAS and yes a salesperson should not spend a lot of time incubating leads that are not ready to buy, but a good portion of the early sales that an emerging technology company will make will be driven by its sales team’s calling.  He will plan his day around a couple of hours of systematic calling, coupled with email, every morning, and will use your SFA and tools like Jigsaw, NetProspex, LinkedIn and InsideView to focus his efforts.  He will target who he calls and have a message crafted for each prospect.

So, I don’t think that cold calling is going away anytime soon.  At least, not for emerging B2B technology companies.

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