Why Cold Calling is Still a Great Way to Generate B2B Leads

By Liz Lemarchand, Chief Operating Officer, MediaDev
In Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio successfully closes sales deals by cold calling

Everyone loves to hate cold calling. Maybe that’s because it’s often viewed as the black sheep of sales outreach tactics – long equated with low-level offshore telemarketers bothering people at inopportune times. But while it comes with a bad reputation, cold calling can provide value to prospects (if it’s done right).

While social selling and email marketing have become popular ways to educate and nurture prospects about your offer, the time it takes to convert those contacts into sales opportunities can feel like forever. Messages often go unanswered for days or weeks at a time, and sales reps need to get more creative to craft pitches that resonate with their buyer personas to stand out from the crowd. In addition, the sheer volume of emails prospects get these days means most emails don’t even get read at all. Reviving cold calling outreach is not only necessary to cut to the chase, it’s also a great way to build character as you generate new sales leads.

Let me explain.

Cold calling makes most people wildly uncomfortable. It takes guts to pick up the phone and call someone you don’t know, and many run from the idea of putting themselves in such a vulnerable position. I’ve heard that some reps may even get physically ill just thinking about it.

The problem is that, when you’re apprehensive about cold calling and you do pick up the phone, you bring with you the energy of a person who is scared, worried, or stressed. We all know that you can feel the energy of the person you are talking to on the other end of the line, and who wants to talk to someone who’s nervous from the get-go? For this reason, many calls don’t go well right out of the gate. 

While it’s true there is a high level of uncertainty equated with cold calling, you can train yourself to rewire your thought process to find the experience exciting and exhilarating instead of terrifying. And when you call with that type of positive energy, the outcome is naturally much better. In fact, when you are passionate about the topic and can engage in high-level discussions with your prospects about it, there is no faster way to get leads.

Cold calling takes out the wait time associated with other outreach tactics – enabling you to directly ask the questions you need answered in order to qualify your prospect’s pain points and interest in your offer. It can help you get the necessary pieces to the puzzle and bridge to your call to action in minutes instead of days.

The key to being successful at cold calling comes down to some fundamental elements: having self-esteem and confidence in yourself, knowing your buyer personas so you can position your product or solution in such a way that it provides immense value to your audience, and persistence. It takes shedding the false belief that you are bothering people when you call them and that they won’t want to talk to you. It takes vigilance to make the volume of calls needed for you to have enough conversations each day.

In the end, all sales outreach is a numbers game. The more you put yourself out there, the more likely it is that you will generate leads. So limiting the channels you use by not calling is only cutting yourself off from a touch point that can create visibility for your offer to your target audience.

Here’s a suggestion: Allot two hours every working day to cold calling. Start with a list you consider solid. Then tally the qualified leads you end up with at the end of each week. Commit to this for three months and then add up the closed or nearly closed sales you would never have gotten without the cold calling. Good luck!

Liz is the chief operating officer of MediaDev, a global IT marketing firm. She has 20+ years of marketing experience and provides strategic counsel to software vendors large and small.