Social media is now a huge part in our everyday life, whether that is personally or even within business.
More and more businesses are adopting a social media strategy but what about businesses that in the past have largely relied on ‘cold calling’
A business that offers a service or a product to another business (B2B) for many years has used a ‘cold calling’ technique where they will ring up a business and try to arrange an appointment time for a sales representative to attend and demonstrate the product or service they provide.
This is a method that has a proven track record of success but it isn’t without its problems.
The biggest problem is talking to the person who you actually need to.
The reason for this is many modern businesses have a switchboard that lists many different options to try and assist you in communicating with the right person but what if you don’t know who it is you need to talk to? It is a cold call after all.
Eventually you might manage to get through to the receptionist (or Gatekeeper as they are often referred to) but he/she is trained and instructed not to let sales calls go through, especially when the caller doesn’t know the persons name who they wish to speak to, back to the term cold calling.
Of course a trained B2B telesales executive will have various techniques to obtain the required information from the receptionist (the first call might be a fishing trip where the caller gains the information who they need to talk to then rings back at a later date asking for that person) and therefore on occasion be put through to correct person they need to speak to and can therefore start their sales pitch with a view to arranging an appointment.
This method does potentially have a low conversion rate and can require a large amount of calls to be made to reach the required targets.
So what does Social Media do that Cold Calling doesn’t?
Using social media allows you to build relationships with potential clients/customers via their social media accounts.
This is vital as familiarity will vastly help you to convince a client/customer to buy a service/product from you compared to cold calling.
Even if you aren’t in direct conversation, by putting information about your company and the service/products you provide on your social media potential customers/clients can hear and see all about you and possibility look to contact you if and when they require your service/product.
Another great advantage of social media is to bypass the problems you face with cold calling by actually getting to communicate with the person you require.
An example of this is if you want to speak to John Smith about about providing him a service but you can’t get past the receptionist and you don’t have his direct number you can contact him directly on social media, access that telesales can never provide.
Using social media isn’t as intrusive as cold calling and whilst contacting someone directly on social media may well just get ignored it isn’t frowned upon as much as cold calling is.
So should B2B stop cold calling?
The simple answer after all of that is – no.
Social media is great and does allow you to create and build relationships with potential clients/customers but you also can’t beat the interaction with a human albeit if it is a sales call.
The best method in my opinion is to use both social media and cold calling in conjunction with one another.
By using social media as the first point of contact you can make the follow up cold call be far more warmer.
An example of this is having already made contact with John Smith via social media when I then try to contact him via telephone I know exactly who to ask for with his receptionist and he will have familiarity with my business due to the previous contact on social media and the chances of gaining an appointment to see him have greatly improved.
So to recap the post title, Is Social Media the end for Cold Calling?
No, but what it has done is give the B2B Telesales Executive an extremely important tool to help conversions.