Marketing and sales pundits have been quite eager to declare the death of older techniques like cold calling. With the advent of social selling and digital selling, many sales leaders have been inclined to believe these platitudes.

Ensure you know industry best-practices for skill-based training with this  executive kickoff planning kit.

The numbers don’t necessarily lie in this case. While the cold sell perhaps isn’t as “dead” as some would have you believe, there are many good reasons to consider leaving these older methods behind. Newer sales methodologies like social selling have much higher conversion and growth rates. Hybrid sales strategies and alternative selling tactics are reinventing the art of selling. It’s time to stop cold selling.

The Decline in Effectiveness

The statistics about cold selling tactics such as the cold call tell a bleak story. Just one percent of all cold calls convert into appointments. Only about 28 percent of all calls even result in a conversation, and around 90 percent of top decision-makers simply do not respond to any type of out reach any longer. Studies have also shown a cold sale costs more per lead than other channels.

With such poor results, it’s easy to see why sales leaders and pundits alike would declare the cold sell dead. Social selling and digital selling outpace these traditional techniques at every turn. Businesses that adopt these digital selling strategies realize higher growth rates, better conversion rates, and higher quota attainment.

Adapting to the Modern Buyer

Part of the reason for the decline is a shift in the market. The modern buyer has drastically different expectations for interacting with your sales representatives. In fact, almost three-quarters of buyers will choose the sales person who first adds value to their transaction.

This idea of added value is important. The modern buying cycle is much longer and more complex. The average business purchase decision now involves five or more people. Social media also impacts the purchase decision. A sales person can add value for any one of these five decision-makers at any point in the process, and social media is often the avenue for value delivery.

The value-added sales person proposition speaks to a deeper change in the modern sales process. Today’s buyer needs to be approached and engaged quite differently. Relationship building has become more important than ever before. Building relationships with potential buyers and adding value often go hand in hand.

Success with Social and Digital Selling

With the shifts in the modern buying cycle, buyer expectations, and technology, it’s little wonder sales leaders have turned to social selling and digital selling methodologies to drive successful sales teams.

Social sellers report bigger gains in sales revenue than non-social sellers. Their sales teams are often larger as well, and many report the need to expand their sales teams as a result of social selling success. Adopting social selling and digital selling for your business should be the next step you take, if you haven’t done so already.

Is Cold Selling Truly Dead?

Although some will continue to declare the death of cold selling, other sales leaders have expressed doubt that the cold sell is truly gone. It may even be the case that these tactics just need some tweaking for the modern market. The most forward-thinking sales leaders have already realized combining social selling and digital selling with cold selling could be the most powerful methodology of all.

The reasoning is simple. Cold calling teaches your sales people many of the fundamentals of good sales practices. While cold calling may not be effective all on its own, there are still many useful lessons and techniques it can teach modern sales people.

Relying solely on the cold sell isn’t a strong strategy for today’s sales teams. Instead, sales leaders should think about bringing the valuable lessons of cold calling to social selling and digital selling methodologies to truly drive a successful sales strategy.

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Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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