Cold calling stopped being a viable lead generation option years ago. But for some reason some companies hold onto it like it’s an art form. It’s not. It’s futile.
I argued the point in 2009, Cold Calling Is Dead: There Are Better Ways to Generate Leads. This is one of my all-time most popular articles, and the argument still holds true today.
Cold calling works, but not for lead generation.
Cold calling is slow and inefficient
Cold calling is like walking.
Walking is a great mode of transportation to get around a dense urban environment, or to explore the wilderness. But if you need to cover a lot of territory, there are faster modes of transportation.
Planes, trains and automobiles all trump walking when you need to travel a distance.
There’s a place for cold calling, but not when you need to reach a large audience and generate a steady supply of sales leads.
Cold calling is futile for lead generation
A well placed cold call can be highly effective to open a strategic account or engage a targeted buyer, but that isn’t lead generation. That’s using a cold call for strategic business development.
Let’s define lead generation:
Lead generation is a process of generating interest or inquiries in your products or services, and creating sales leads that could convert into sales for your organization.
Effective lead generation programs are multifaceted, and engage the largest audience possible of current customers, past customers, potential customers, and referral partners.
You could have your sales people cold call the database monthly for lead generation, but you’ve got to ask if that’s the best use of their time? And more importantly, are there more effective ways to engage your audience?
Ask your customers what they want
If you’re still hesitating if cold calling should be used, ask your customers:
- Ask your customers if they appreciate your sales people cold calling them.
- Ask your customers if they gain value by being interrupted with cold calls.
- Ask your customers if they hold your company in greater esteem for cold calling them.
If the answer is “Yes” to all three questions, then by all means keep cold calling. But if you hear “No”, it definitely requires rethinking the strategy and finding better ways to engage your prospects and clients.