Stop Cold Calling Me! 8 b2b Sales Tactics You Must Change TODAY

by Lucas Hamon on November 25, 2014
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Inbound marketing to end cold calling and other annoying sales and marketing habits

"For the love of all things holy, STOP COLD CALLING ME!"

If you're in sales, your b2b sales tactics have probably garnered a response similar to this many times. The more successful you are, the more likely they are thrown in your face on a regular basis. Hearing them means you are doing your job, right?

Maybe if it were the 90s again...

With so many modern sales solutions & technologies today, there's really no reason to continue marching down this beaten path.

I got my start in b2b sales a decade ago when I joined the staffing industry in my early 20s. I am quite familiar with what it means to "cold call," and I am guilty of MOST of the issues I'm going to highlight today. 

Why the change of heart? Well, the environment has changed for one. Google has transformed the entire industry (and continues to do so), empowering consumers to make better buying decisions. They are becoming more demanding for short response times, and they're giving away their business to those who connect with them first.

... and they're sending clueless cold callers to our business rejection hotline.

They are becoming smarter about applying due diligence, and information, including public sentiment, is more accessible than ever. So, this conversation is about shifting to an entirely new direction for sales & marketing, one that is organic, enticing, and much, much more effective. 

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So, let's talk about what sales tactics need to go, and what you can use to replace them:

8. LinkedIn & Twitter Crashing 

Say no to social media crashing

"LinkedIn crashing" is when you connect with somebody so you can bombard them with emails about your service or product offering. "Twitter crashing" comes from automatic direct messages sent after somebody follows you or when you publicly message people you don't know to drum up a conversation about your product or service.

Now, don't get me wrong, I've done my share of LinkedIn crashing over the years, and I definitely experienced positive results from it.

However, like every other aspect of those jobs, this one was an absolute grind, and it was getting grindier by the day. With each unsolicited message sent, my emotional intelligence was shrinking. And now that I've been on both sides of the LinkedIn crashing, I realize that the failures associated with my past missed opportunities were very likely because I was just plain annoying.

(hint, hint to those thinking of friending me just to blast their service on my front door)

Instead, try looking at social media management as a portal to human contact, not a forum for blasting your message.

Connect with people in the real way.... Conversation. Find where they hang out online, and go there... be apart of the discussion. Not only will you better position yourself as a thought leader and information source, but you'll learn a TON about their wants, needs, and pain-points.

7. Junk Email and Mail

I still can't believe how much junk mail I get every day. None of it gets read, and the statistics about its growing uselessness are staggering. To compound the issue, it seems that the more useless it gets, the more I receive. How is filling the landfills with your marketing materials going to entice me?

And, how is it any different with spam emails? ... it's not.

Email drip campaigns aren't bad, but when it's uninvited it is. So, instead, try developing email marketing campaigns that offer value and free content to those who find YOU, not through purchased lists. It's never bad to send a thank-you email or content offers, but they should be helpful, and when they don't get your desired results, you should adjust your approach.

 Of course, this means you need quality marketing to build that list...


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6. FAKE unsubscribe

There is nothing more irritating to me than seeing the unsubscribe language at the bottom of an email altered and funny. You know, when it has an asterisk next to it or a dash between the "un" and the "subscribe..." Because you KNOW that hitting that button will pull you from one email list and plop you into a dozen others. You're better off marking the email as junk, although they'll probably see that on their end and push you into the next spampaign anyway.

Instead, gather those email addresses directly from them and offer REAL unsubscribe options.

Through the Hubspot COS people can remove themselves from certain lists or everything. Even if by doing this you lose the ability to email closable leads, if your SEO is on point and you are offering content your unsubscribers will find to be valuable, they'll be back. And when they DO come back, they'll appreciate how you handled rejection, which can only help you.

5. Video Pop-ups

Okay, so who ever thought this one was a good idea? I go to a website and without pushing any buttons I'm bombarded by a video pop-up or embedded Youtube stream.

I think videos are an awesome way to create intimacy with your audience, just not when its forced. Instead, make them optional, and make them worth the time.  Then, incorporate your videos through a robust social media strategy that involves sharing, not broadcasting. The more you respect your customers and prospects, the more they'll do to help you succeed.

4. The Mystery Message

As a senior b2b sales professional, I attended MANY company meetings where the "bait and switch" method was touted as being the golden lead conversion path. Those who were willing to do it tended to have the highest call-back rates, but the issue itself was polarizing.

For some reason, higher call-back rates didn't seem translate to higher sales conversion rates.

This just in: ... they STILL don't

Could it be because nobody wants to be made a fool? It's disrespectful, disruptive, and it's going to turn off more people than you realize.

3. Wolf in Sheep's clothing

This is similar to the mystery message in the fact that we're dealing with a bait-and-switch. The MOST annoying version of this is when we are led to believe that somebody is considering buying our products and/or services by stating they need your help, but in reality they were just trying to get our attention so they could pitch.

"Hey, I'd like to talk to you about a partnership opportunity," should mean just that, not, "I want my sales team to partner with your buyers so I can make money off of you."

There is no replacement for honesty. Lying is lying, and it puts you in a bad position with your prospects when the first words out of your mouth or read via email, social media or otherwise, are complete and utter nonsense.

2. Misguided Social Media Management

Facebook is not effective as a medium for simple broadcasting. This means that posting the same ads over and over about your product or service offering isn't going to engage your audience. In fact, I like to draw parallels from this type of advertising to receiving cold-calls from the New York Times when you are just sitting down to have dinner with your family. It's disruptive. It's annoying. And it makes us hate the Times.

Instead, develop a real social media strategy, and use it for listening and relationship-building. It's a fantastic distribution channel when you aren't being shouty, but rather, providing helpful original content and/or curating content developed by others. People will do the promoting for you if you can meet those demands, and it's much more appealing to hear my neighbor refer you versus your Facebook billboard ads.


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1. Straight up Cold Calling

I never pick up the phone anymore when it's an 800 number or restricted, and I'm quick to hang up when there's that switchboard-induced delay between my hello and theirs. I may listen to the message at some point, but I'll delete it the second I sense that it's too pushy. Raise your hand if you agree.

Most cold-callers these days don't even leave messages though, and that alone sends the annoyance-factor off the charts.

...it really is a no-win situation.



So, enough already... END COLD CALLING TODAY!

bigstock-Skier-In-The-Mountains-With-A--24131588If you have to choose between being a successful cold-caller and being honest, it's time to drop the gig, not your ethics. You should be worried if telemarketing is your preferred lead development and conversion path, because buyers are not buying it anymore. They've been burned by many who are rowing in the same direction as you, and even if you're one of the "good ones," you're guilty by association.

Worse, you're becoming downright annoying, and why would you want that?

Even if you are the first to plant the idea in their heads through your broadcasting and spamming, you are starting off on the wrong foot, and sending them to the arms of inbound marketers everywhere (by way of Google) who are expounding upon your seeds and nurturing them through quality content and conversation.

Hopefully by now you're able to draw the parallels between cold-calling and and a whole slew of negative connotations. And please... for crying out loud, stop cold calling ME!

Topics: So I've Got a Bad Habit, Social Selling, Inbound vs Outbound, Cold Callers Anonymous

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