In the age of email, text messaging and online communication, the telephone is often overlooked. Even now, personal rapport creates stronger client relationships, and a conversation can help prevent misunderstandings that cause a deal to fall through.

Despite these facts, sales personnel often fail to make unsolicited calls to prospects. In 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported that companies were actively training their younger sales staff the basics of making a sales call.

What Is Cold Calling Today?

For many, the phrase “cold calling” invokes images of sales staff sitting in cubicles or 1970s-era work spaces, calling random numbers from the telephone book. This outdated perception has led many to proclaim that cold calling is dead. Thought leader S. Anthony Iannarino provides a modern, practical definition of cold calling: It is calling someone who is not expecting your call in order to make a sale. The call is “cold” because the person on the receiving end isn’t expecting it.

However, Iannarino is also an advocate for making connections with prospects through in-person and online networks, and doing preliminary research before picking up the phone. In other words, good sales people take steps to make their cold calls “warmer” instead of just calling random numbers out of the blue. Cold calling is most successful when prospects have already had some contact with your company.

Statistics Back Up the Relevance of Cold Calling

Effective cold calling starts with identifying and contacting potential customers. But an outbound strategy should include preliminary research to enable “warmer” cold calls before sales staff reach out with a sales pitch.

Making the cold call “warmer” is essential to closing sales — but without the call, the sale doesn’t happen. But one call is not enough. Eighty percent of sales require five follow-up contacts, but 44 percent of sales personnel stop after one follow-up. That means almost half of sales personnel aren’t meeting the standard for good lead management.

Nurtured leads make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. Organizations that actively nurture leads make 50 percent more sales than those who don’t. It is poor sales strategy to fail to cold call those prospects already on the company’s radar, and several follow-ups should be a matter of course.

Online Tools Can Assist With the Life Cycle of the Cold Call

Since effective sales strategy includes not just cold calling but researching prospects online, contact initiation and follow up, companies get tremendous benefit from using specialized telemarketing software. Products such as myphoner can help. These packages assist with lead tracking, call organization and scheduling, and provide a record of communications with each prospect. It’s an invaluable tool that allows sales personnel to maintain a personal touch with clients while juggling several potential deals.

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