What ever happened to just picking up the phone and dialing? Every day, we are inundated with the message, "INBOUND, INBOUND, and INBOUND!" While I am a firm believer in the benefit of driving inbound traffic to your site and then to your teleprospecting reps, there is still (and always will be) a huge need for cold calling. Over our eight years in business we have amassed thousands of statistics on the success of our programs. There have been only two of those stats that have never changed. We pass more "qualified leads" from the inbound opportunities than we do cold calling, but our clients close leads that have been passed via cold calling at a higher rate than those that have been generated via inbound efforts.
We've had meetings devoted to this, we've surveyed clients, we've polled astrologists, and it all leads to one very consistent conclusion:
Sales reps win more when working a cold call generated opportunity as opposed to an inbound generated one.
We believe the reason for this is simple. Think of the nature of each prospect; the inbound lead, while having most likely received communication from you at some point, is seeking you out. Before you've had the chance to talk to them they have had the opportunity to check you out, check out your competition, and formulate their own opinions on your offering before you've ever spoken to them live. In addition to that, you can assume in many cases that because they have sought you out, they are farther along in their process and have also sought out your competitors. This is all great stuff (and I love inbound opportunities for the simple fact that they give us a chance to compete), but we close more cold call opportunities because we are the first ones in. We set the direction of the prospects evaluation process, and we set the initial expectations of what an outsourced partner should provide. The perceived credibility gained by being the first one in the door is the main driver, as we see it, behind more cold calling opportunities closing in relation to their inbound brethren.
I'll reiterate, I love my inbound opportunities, but without my teleprospectors devoting half of their time cold calling, my company would be a third of its current revenue size. When push comes to shove, when you are selling to a cold calling opportunity you are flying the plane whereas selling to an inbound opportunity, you can at best hope to be the co-pilot.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
Peter Gracey is co-founder and President of AG Salesworks. Peter is responsible for the day-to-day operations of AG Salesworks, making sure that our clients continue to receive the most optimized level of performance available. For more information on Peter Gracey, see here.