Wednesday, February 20, 2013

'Cold Calling' Shows Little Signs of Life

This is a guest-article by Dan Stepel, prominent Spoke member and expert in the areas of B2B Sales and International Business.  You can learn more by following him on Twitter.  

A few years ago, I noticed whispers beginning to surface among salespeople that “cold calling is dead”.  And while I am not prepared to claim that the value of cold calling has completely died off, I can assure you it's on life support.  And all but those true direct marketers will happily dance on its grave.
Cause of Death  

This day in age, blindly calling upon a prospect is unnecessary at best, and a sign of unpreparedness at worst.  

With the depths of the internet, we have more information at our disposal that we could ever want, even while sitting in the back of a cab or at 32,000 feet in the air.  You could land in a strange new country tomorrow morning, and with a quick post or tweet you could be blasted by friends and connections with insider tips.  And it doesn't take a very deep network to produce quality local information, insight, and even new local connections.  So what does this have to do with the death of cold calling?

Local knowledge and connections give you the edge.  The same is true in sales.

While I will rarely (or never) know the decision maker at a prospective company, there is a very good chance that with a small amount of tact, I can leverage my network to build a tunnel to someone within, or adjacent to that company.  It takes an understanding of my social networks, but more importantly, an ability to new and open information platforms on top of them -- this is the secret sauce, and exactly where a tool like comes in.  By following a strategic set of companies, people, and topics on Spoke, I can know--effortlessly--what is going on with and around a potential prospect.  This is automatically delivered through press releases, industry bloggers, financial publications, etc. and if I couple that intelligence with my own personal network, I find out how to reach the company directly, one of the company's partners/suppliers/etc, someone influential within the company's region, or within the company's primary industry verticals.  This tiny bit of Creativity is worth its weight in Sales gold. 

Welcome to the next generation of sales intelligence.  It's time to get creative, and piece new, advanced (and free) information tools into your arsenal. 

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