Nowadays, it seems that there are countless people—both inside and outside of the marketing world—claiming the death of something.
The death of social media, email, digital, integrated marketing and so forth and so on. Everyone has their own opinion on what’s fading in and fading out. Most of these “(insert phrase) is dying” claims are purely opinion-based, but I’m here to tell you that one method is actually on its way out. cold calling.
There was a time long ago when cold calling was at the top of a small list of methods of outreaching to prospective customers. It was right there with sending letters and door-to-door salespeople knocking on doors.
Times have most definitely changed. Very rarely do prospective customers want to be bothered by out-of-the-blue sales calls, especially if they’re not at all ready to make a buying decision. Where cold calling falls short is in its limited research process and laborious process. Someone on the sales team may have done some homework, but a cold call is and always will be exactly that: cold. Furthermore, most people see these as spammy and annoying.
Today, if someone is looking for a product or solution, they don’t sit around and wait for a cold call. They hit the internet and start searching. This process may take some time—they may not be ready to make a buying decision until they do the proper research and vet the options. A cold call will only aggravate them and dissuade them from using your organization’s services. The organizations who are providing information through content offers and blog posts that rank high are the ones answering the questions of prospective customers and winning their trust.
It is for this reason that cold calling is dead and inbound marketing holds the smoking gun.
Inbound Marketing Draws People In
Inbound marketing is a magnetic pull that draws prospective customers in rather than interrupting the flow of their day with a pesky call lacking context.
It achieves this by first understanding prospective customers. What are their questions? What are their pains? Do they know they need a solution or do they just know they have a problem?
After this, inbound marketing uncovers phrases that these prospects are entering into search engines. With this information, there is enough to start formulating a strategy for attracting strangers to your organization’s website. An inbound marketing strategy will employ campaigns built by content offers (eBooks, videos, spec sheets for example), blog posts and information-capturing systems.
This strategy creates a helpful and attractive online destination that draws people in. They decide to venture there because they’ve found you through their natural search process and want their questions answered.
There is nothing attractive about receiving a cold call anymore.
Inbound Marketing Makes You Credible Because Prospects Are Finding YOU (rather than the other way around)
As I mentioned above, the prospects are venturing to you. It’s not the other way around like the cold calling process.
When someone types their problem into a search engine and they find your answer listed on the first page on Google then guess what? There is an extreme element of credibility that comes with their interaction with that page/blog and your organization.
Inbound Marketing Is Actually Helpful
Sure, a sales call can be helpful, but people know as soon as they pick up the phone that you’re trying to sell them something. That in and of itself isn’t very helpful when you think about it.
Inbound marketing seeks to position your organization as an educator. It helps people understand their needs and how the solutions that best fit them. As I said before, being an educator is key to winning new customers in today’s new business equation. Education equals trust and credibility. Trust and credibility equal long-lasting customers.
Inbound Marketing Powerfully Moves People through the Buyer’s Journey
The truth of the matter is, everyone who finds you might not be ready to make a buying decision. There are three stages related to any buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration and decision. In inbound marketing, our strategies target prospects at each stage of this journey with the intention of helping them move through it.
If someone stumbles across an awareness-level blog post, it’s inbound marketing’s job to move them to the consideration stage. Once they hit consideration, it’s inbound marketing’s job to help them to make a decision.
It’s hard for a cold call to do this effectively. Do you know what stage in the buyer’s journey they’re in? Unlikely. You might be able to figure it out if they don’t hang up on you. It’s more likely that they’ll be so guarded from your cold call that they’ll make their true feelings.
Since inbound marketing attracts people, they come with their real feelings in mind. They’re reading that awareness-level blog post because they truly want to learn more. They’re downloading that consideration-stage eBook because they need more information to make a decision. They’re also doing this on their terms and as part of their own search process rather than being force-fed material as a follow up to a cold call.
At the end of the day, the point of sales is to align your services or products with the needs of prospects. If you’re not doing this effectively then you’re wasting your time.