Marketing Automation’s Role in the Death of Cold Calling

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I once worked with a salesperson who told me that she absolutely adored cold calling. She could think of nothing better than opening the Yellow Pages and working her way through a category, pitching her company’s products and services to anyone and everyone who would care to listen.

She was actually very good at the cold call. Constant rejection didn’t seem to faze her. She put the work in and smiled while she dialed. I don’t know what her secret was, but they definitely broke the mold when they made her because most people hate cold calling with a passion.

Marketers Hate Cold Calling

Let’s face facts: Cold calling is pretty inefficient. More often than not, sales professionals are forced into cold calling because of a lack of quality leads from their marketing team. As marketers, it is our job to ensure that any conversation our sales teams have with a prospect are at the very least warm. Anything less is a failure.

The Definition of a Warm Lead

Just because someone has joined your mailing list, downloaded a whitepaper or an ebook, attended a webinar or popped by your booth at an event does not make them a red hot lead. Yes, they may have just identified themselves as an interested party, but that doesn’t mean you should jump on the phone and push for the sales straight away. More often than not, you will frighten them away.

A warm lead is someone who has engaged with your brand multiple times. Perhaps they have downloaded some literature, perused your website and engaged with you on social media. In short, they know who you are, what you do and how your products or services could perhaps benefit them. In an ideal world, this is the point at which a sales professional should make their contact.

Tip: How many times have you been phoned by a company within minutes of downloading a whitepaper? Prospects should be given time to read these documents and digest the information. Once called (preferably at least 48 hours later), the conversation should be primarily about the content and any issues the customer might have. Now is the time to build relationships, not push for the sale.

How Can Marketing Automation Help?

Marketing automation software like iContact Pro will help you build real relationships with potential clients based on their engagements with your brand. This will help you identify who is ready to speak (a warm prospect) versus someone who needs to be nurtured more (a cold prospect). It will also help you remove tire kickers and time wasters from your pipeline (this alone will endear you to your sales team).

Lead Scoring, Workflows and Nurturing

For those of you not schooled in the jargon of marketing automation, the technology can seem quite intimidating. However, as with all good things in life, it’s really quite simple when you look under the hood. Lead scoring, workflows and nurturing are just three great reasons why you should consider investing in smart(er) marketing technology.

  • Lead Scoring: Enables you to prioritize leads based on a number of criteria, including company name, role, previous engagements with your marketing collateral, etc.
  • Workflows: Ensures prospects are presented with the right message at the right time. Less than optimized leads can be placed in a holding pattern, while fully warmed leads are finessed and made ready for the sale with highly targeted, relevant content.
  • Nurturing: Not all prospects are ready to buy. Nurture campaigns will ensure they stay engaged with your brand and help educate them up to the point when they are ready to be sold to. Nurture campaigns will also help remove anyone who is not interested in your product or service from your sales pipeline, reducing the number of ineffective calls your sales team has to make.

If you would like your salespeople to spend more time speaking to people who are interested in your product than facing “cold” rejection, isn’t it time you looked into marketing automation?

This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.

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Marketing Strategist, Author of #BecomingTHEExpert, Content Marketing Trainer, and Cyclist. Check out my author profile:

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