The days of hitting the phones trying to get sales meetings from cold prospects are not yet dead, but certainly, they seem to be dying. This will cause some sales people to breathe a little easier, as most hate the thought of cold calls, but others will be left wondering how to reach out to new sales prospects.
The state of Cold Calling in NZ
In New Zealand, the use of cold calls is still part of the armoury but is becoming less and less viable. The cost of a sales person is increasing and the question is more and more about how valuable it is for them to be spending time making cold approaches. In the US and the UK being able to call a company and speak to the decision-maker out of the blue is redundant – a cold call just does not get through.
To answer this question for your own company, the answer will lie in monitoring where successful leads are coming from, and find what the ROI is for sales team activities and trial new approaches, including adopting technology.
Marketing Automation and Content Marketing
Shifts in the last few years have seen a significant movement towards marketing automation and content marketing, which brings the old foes of marketers and sales people closer together. The challenge here is that our lives are so rich in information that we have to question how to specifically target our potential clients to pull them closer towards our organisation.
Content marketing has a focus to deliver value relevant to either a current customer or to attract a new customer from a well-segmented target audience. Marketing automation is the platform or the technology in which information can be provided to multiple channels.
Marketing automation is being used more and more to catch the eye of a prospective client, nurture the relationship by adding value, and also upselling to current clients. To do this effectively, the more information you can gather about your clients and prospects can allow you to more effectively segment your database to provide the correct information at the right time.
At a recent Sales Syndicate workshop on marketing automation, delivered under the slightly controversial title ‘Death of a Salesman’, it predicted a decrease of 22% of sales people in the next 5 years as marketing automation takes over from current prospecting methods. This means salespeople will only become involved later in the sales cycle and will need to be offering a higher level of value in the process. The buyer is becoming more knowledgeable, and to avoid being part of the 22%, a sales person will need to keep increasing their knowledge to keep one step ahead of the customer.
If the future of prospecting is shifting closer towards generating sales leads through utilising technology to provide relevant content, it means the value of capturing information is more important than ever, and that products like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics are to become even more important.
The data these systems hold, especially if integrated with a company’s accounting and backend databases, then can become gold. Gold for segmenting, forecasting and overall decision making. Then there is the future artificial intelligence and “big data” opportunity if the data sources are big enough. Net, it’s time to be reviewing the amount and effectiveness of time your sales teams are spending cold calling. If you haven’t looked into marketing automated lead generation, you need to. If you have, you need to be refining the campaigns to get better and better results.