I’ve been saying this for years. Cold calling is dead. Warm calling is the future. And, today the UK Government put one more nail in the cold calling coffin as they announced a clamp down on companies who are cold calling in the UK.
The Telegraph reported today that changes to the law will make it far easier to punish offenders. Furthermore, that the directors of firms using such techniques would be liable to personal fines of £500,000, according to the Daily Mail.
Cold Calling Laws In The UK
Currently companies can only be punished if the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can prove a call caused “substantial damage or substantial distress.” However, from April 6th 2015, this legal requirement will be removed. This means that just one complaint will be enough to trigger legal action.
So what exactly does this mean to UK businesses and sales teams who are out there developing business?
Well it certainly doesn’t mean that you can outsource your cold calling business to other countries and avoid fines. The ICO are clear on this. UK companies would still be liable.
Instead it means that it’s time to minimize your risks and modernize the way you sell. Now is the time to introduce social selling as a layer in your sales processes.
Moving Away From Cold Calling
Let’s look at what social selling is.
Social selling is when salespeople use social media to interact directly with their prospects and clients. It involves leveraging their brand and filling their pipeline with the right people, insights and relationships.
Typically it requires you and your sales team to:
- Build a strong personal brand so you look and sound like a professional.
- Data mine and capture sales intelligence.
- Have a deep network of advocates.
- Listen for opportunities and engage with your audience.
- Be there at the critical moment of the decision making buying process, or the ZMOT, as Google calls it.
Businesses who embrace social selling see their sales teams hitting their targets, achieving shorter sales cycles and retaining more clients. Some benefit from 45% more opportunities; reduce the time they spend prospecting by 70% and are 51% more likely to hit their targets.
Now if these benefits aren’t enough to convince you, consider a few more statistics:
- 50-70% of the buying process happens before sales executives get involved (Forrester).
- 90% of CEO’s and IT Directors say they NEVER respond to cold emails or calls (InsideView).
- 97% of the time cold calling is ineffective (IBM).
- 91% of IT buyers are now involved in social media (Forrester).
- Social media produces almost twice the leads from trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC (HubSpot).
- Social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than the average lead conversion rates (HubSpot).
Whilst these statistics are insightful, I always tell my clients and social selling students that there are two key things to note:
Firstly, results like these can only be achieved when social media is used strategically and tactically for business development. It’s not the be all and end all. It needs to fit into your methodologies as a layer in the overall business development process. Regrettably, when it’s used in the wrong way, it will do nothing for your business aside from waste resource, time and money.
Secondly, social media hasn’t replaced traditional sales tools, like the phone. The phone is very much needed. And, it’s as useful as it’s ever been. However, by learning social selling, you can support your efforts on the phone. When you use the phone after using social selling tactics you’ll be able to use it intelligently. You’ll be prepared and you’ll gain trust with your prospects faster so they’ll invite you in for a meeting.
And, if you get really good at using social selling i.e. by socially surrounding your prospects; working with marketing to feed them content to help build trust, and recognising the buying triggers and signals so you can be there to help, at the right time, you can radically change the 1 in 200 success rate that many salespeople experience with traditional cold calling.
Now I want to hear from you…
Tell me in the comment below:
- How will you be managing your cold calling when these changes take place?
- Are you planning to modernize your sales and marketing efforts with social selling or have you already done so?
Please share your stories and experience here, and if you’ve got a question, just pop it down here. If you want to contact me for a strategy call click here.
Thanks for being a sport and participating!
P.S. Finally, if you know someone who’d LOVE the insight from this cold calling post, please send them a link. You’ll find business owners, consultants and yes, even sales and marketing managers who manage people who’ll be interested to hear about this.
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