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Sales Prospecting Perspectives

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Are Social Selling and Cold Calling Mutually Exclusive?


Social Selling vs. Cold CallingI had the opportunity last week to participate in a webinar AG hosted with Hootsuite and Salesloft about setting up an effective work process. The recording can be downloaded here. We covered the secrets to sales prospecting success, how social selling can enhance the sales process and what tools should be used to support your prospecting efforts. My portion of the presentation had more to do with setting up an effective inside sales team, but I did field some interesting questions at the end of the webinar. 

One of the more interesting questions one of the attendees asked me was, "How has social selling transformed your business and how has it changed the way you engage your prospects?"

Short answer: It hasn't. At the end of the day, my team still needs to pick up the phone in order for us to produce the quality leads our clients have come to expect. Don’t get me wrong: we have definitely embraced social selling, but for an inside team it must be looked at as an additional resource available to us. Those of us who have subscribed to the theory that "cold calling is dead” in my opinion are secretly afraid to cold call, but we all have to own up to the fact that it is a necessary evil in order to see the best results possible from your campaigns.

After the webinar I had asked the other directors and managers how they felt the question should have been answered. We all had a similar response. It hasn't necessarily transformed our business; all it has done is enhanced how we are getting in front of our prospects.

I recognize that I'm a bit biased on the subject, but there is nothing better than picking up the phone to get what you want. Granted, no one likes getting kicked around and being told "No" all day long, but that’s all part of the game. Just like combining voicemail and email when you prospect, in my opinion, social selling tools only work if you combine them with phone calls. Is it possible to effectively communicate with prospects without using the phone?  A quality conversation is needed to qualify leads at the top of the sales funnel. It would be very difficult to qualify leads only through email or social.  Therefore, the “cold call” is still a necessary step in the sales cycle, but with the combination of email and social engagements, the conversation may be of a higher quality.  

I'm not suggesting that cold calling is easy. In order to be successful it requires a call plan, melded with the right technology and the right attitude of course. In addition to the question above regarding how has social selling transformed your business, we must not forgot one critical piece that is essential when you're tasked with cold calling all day: your company culture. The job is tough enough at times, so your culture will most certainly play a major factor in your team’s motivation. Point is, a bad culture will eat an inside sales team's productivity for lunch, making cold calling and social selling the bologna and cheese.

I came across the topic from Pearl Zhu’s Future of CIO blog. She approaches the topic from the CIO’s standpoint, but the overarching theme resonates within any department.

How do you motivate your sales team? What's your opinion about social selling's effects on sales?

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