It’s 2016 and there’s one thing that won’t change this year: with technology comes disruption.
While this statement doesn’t come as a shocking surprise, it does however spark intense debate amongst hard core traditionalists within the sales industry.
It’s happened in the music industry with Napster and Apple, Uber in transportation, AirBnB with accommodation and hospitality, and the list goes on.
It’s now happening in the world of sales. LinkedIn, literally, dominates the scale at which salespeople can operate today. Twitter opens doors to vast amounts of engagement. This is true if your buyers are online. If they’re not, do you think this will always be the case?
The Hidden Agenda of the Traditionalists
The radio waves of the sales industry are littered and hijacked with traditionalist propaganda. They claim all sorts of things, such as:
- Social selling is a pipe dream,
- Social is too hard to implement,
- Social can’t be measured,
- Social can’t be reinforced,
- And basically anything that implies that social selling just doesn’t work.
They hide behind statements like:
- It’s not that we disprove of social selling, it’s that cold calling training should come first.
- If the one person you sell to isn’t online, there’s no need to learn how to navigate the social & online world.
- There’s no way that “x%” of the buying journey is done online before a company reaches out to a vendor.
These statements aren’t facts, they’re opinions. And, really far-fetched ones at that.
I get it; with change comes fear of the unknown. Businesses that used to do things a certain way for a long time now have to contend with trouble-makers in the social world espousing the benefits of social media! But, we’re not losing our marbles here. We have rock-solid data and experience to validate what we’re saying.
Breaking Down the Silos
In the world our buyers live in, you can’t afford to operate in a silo. You need to operate with an integrated approach. Cold calling can’t be the only thing you do. It has to be a part of a larger strategy that finds, educates and engages buyers – whether that’s offline or online.
Ultimately, we must engage buyers in the mediums they wish to engage us. Not what works for us or in ways we think are best. A great example is this interview that collaboration provider PGi has done with some of the top IT buyers in North America, in which they describe how they choose to be engaged. The results will shock you because these buyers are saying that they hate being cold called and are urging sales professionals to contact them on social media.
There’s a reason why traditionalists aren’t sharing this information with their clients. It severely hampers and contradicts their messaging and position.
The Bottom Line
No one is recommending you stop using the phone or even cold calling. But used exclusively by itself, with no other modes of outreach, absolutely comes at a price. As the cold calling success rate decreases year over year, our sales quotas certainly don’t.
In fact, according to Openview, cold calling has less than 1% success rate and it now takes an average of 18 attempts to get a response from a prospect. Contrast this with buyers being 4.2x more likely to give you their time based on a common connection.
And herein lies the rub that no major sales trainer or traditionalist wants to tell you: cold calling by itself doesn’t boost your chances of success.