You’ve heard it all before: Outbound Cold Calling v. Inbound Lead Generation. What is working in 2018 and why? Who do you believe? And is cold calling dead in 2018?
From gated content to email blasts and SEO, we’ll analyze why your lead generation tactics might not be delivering to their full potential and how to generate sales leads for your business.
Is Cold Calling by phone dead?
Who enjoys receiving calls from robots or sales people from companies they’ve never heard of? While your services might be valuable, it’s more likely that the interrupting nature of cold calls spoils the sales cycle and puts you on the wrong foot with your prospect.
So, is cold calling dead? It just depends on who you are.
If your brand is big and you have instant name recognition, your call might be taken. If your prospect doesn’t already know your company, you don’t stand much of a chance of success.
Now, are we saying that a cold caller can’t get lucky once in a while? Of course not, and that’s why keeping your lists clean is key to generating sales leads for your business.
But the amount of time invested in even getting a prospect to pick up the phone is enormous, let alone the effort actually spent on phone calls getting the prospect to see you as the best in your industry and sign a check.
Is Cold Calling by email effective?
By now you have probably read Aaron Ross’ book Predictable Revenue published in 2012. He and co-author Mary Lou Tyler make a great case for email marketing with in-depth instructions on how to do. It’s a tremendous treatise on how to generate sales leads for your business in an age of voicemail, gatekeepers and cell phones.
What worked in the years leading up to the publication of the book in 2012 is already obsolete in many respects. Why?
Email marketing, while still producing the best ROI of any sales channel, is now overused and less effective for the following reasons:
- Your email is not immediately relevant to the prospects needs.
- The email providers are more sophisticated too and put your email right into the “junk” folder or don’t deliver it at all if your account has been labeled spammy.
- Overseas marketers are flooding inboxes in the US by the thousands with “message from Google” hour after hour, day after day.
This is rendering much email less and less effective. Even if your emails do make it to the prospect, they may just get deleted unless they are highly relevant and strategically-written.
So what can you do?
First, don’t buy leads. These leads probably haven’t been vetted and you’re usually competing with multiple companies for the same lead.
Next, don’t make your email look like an ad. In 2018, your prospects are more sophisticated than ever before. They know when you’re selling and when you aren’t. Emails that are conversational and educational will have a better open rate.
Is Inbound the answer?
First off, what is Inbound marketing?
Inbound Marketing is a growth strategy that helps you generate leads by creating a content “funnel” through strategic content that the prospect is free to explore on their own time without pressure from a salesman.
Using strategies such as gated email, SEO, social media, website content, original thought leadership and more, you help the user identify their problem with your unique solution.
They provide their contact information voluntarily because they see you as the expert, and you lead them to enlightenment (so to speak).
More and more, we like Inbound for its ability to continually generate leads without cold calling, but Inbound alone is not enough.
To close your prospects, you need brand recognition. This means visibility, which is the first tenet of Inbound marketing.
Before you gate all the content website, ask yourself “why would any prospect want to give their name and email in exchange for your offer?”
But what if you’re the average Joe Blow? Then you’re not getting the download, and you’re not getting their email address. They don’t know you and you don’t deserve it.
Thus, Inbound alone is not the answer.
So How Can You Eliminate Cold Calling?
1. Inbound Marketing.
Great website content with a sound strategy can be a brilliant source of leads for your company. And the best part?
You can follow up with these leads by phone, and the closing rate is far, far higher than with cold calling.
2. Get Speaking Engagements.
Speaking at events for your kep verticals is extremely helpful to finding highly engaged prospects. Find conferences, whether they are local or national, and start booking.
It’s also great for your SEO. Speaking at conferences makes your company more visible, and not just in the eye of your prospects. These events can generate links to your sites which help your site appear in search engines.
4. Have a brand.
Be memorable! Easier said than done. It’s a big deal and takes time, but it will serve you for years.
You’re right, but you have to stand for something, and that “something” needs to be the problem that the prospect needs solved.
So start now. “Just Do It!” Identify what key services your firm addresses and identify the problems your model prospects need you to solve. Start to draw out a plan for your brand that identifies and offers a solution to those problems.
- Build your reputation to build your brand.
- Get the offer up on your website for Inbound prospects to see it.
- If you have developed a brand and they know you, and want what you’re selling, they’ll leave their name so that they can be contacted by you.
- That is “opt-in” my friend and it’s almost as good as a referral.
- Now your salesperson can make an outbound call that’s a “warm call.” Not a cold call.
- And hopefully that leads to a sale
There you have it. How to generate leads in 2018 without cold calling. Still having trouble with the whole idea of a brand? Start with your “30 second elevator speech” and go from there. That should give you some starting focus. Still need help? Consult our other blogs for more details.
Onward and upward!
The author, Bob Ottaway, is President and Founder of Ottaway Digital. Established in 1999, it has been a pioneer in SEO, digital advertising & social media since 2006.