Cold calls – are they still an effective tool for getting leads, or just one of the most common reasons why a person wants to throw the phone out the window? We've collected opinions and data, so read about when cold calling is worth trying and when it's better to focus on another way of generating leads.
The future of invocation after the amendment to the Electronic Communications Act
The question of the future and effectiveness of cold calls is also on the table due to the amendment to the Electronic Communications Act. In addition to changes in the area of cookies and personal data processing, it also greatly reduced telemarketing.
Until now, the so-called opt-out principle applied, but with the amendment of the law, it is now changed to opt-in. What does it mean? Previously, the law assumed that a person consented to a marketing call, and if they did not, they would make it known. Today, on the other hand, it is assumed that such calls are unsolicited and annoying.
"In terms of marketing, it will therefore be possible to contact only those persons who are listed in the public list of participants and who have explicitly stated that they wish to be contacted for marketing purposes," Jakub Málek from the PEYTON legal law firm explains the change. This applies to individuals, entrepreneurs and companies.
Public lists are usually created by a provider of electronic communication services, i.e. a mobile operator. According to the amendment, it will no longer be possible to dial random numbers and call them with offers. On the other hand, you can use a database of company contacts, for example the one from the company Merk.
What about the phone numbers that companies and entrepreneurs list as contact numbers on their websites? "The legal regulation in question of the Electronic Communications Act does not a priori apply to contact information published by the data subject himself," explains Vojtěch Marcín from the Office for the Protection of Personal Data in an article on penize.cz. You can therefore call them with an offer, if they do not explicitly define the purpose of the contact (customer support, etc.).
Summarized, underlined: you can call contacts from the public list who have agreed to the call in advance, or to general contact information published by companies, for example on their websites.
When does it make sense to call meetings and when, on the contrary, to avoid it
There have been and will be debates about the benefits of cold calling, but in light of the new legislation, it seems even more so that cold calling has rung its bell. Nevertheless, it still has a place in sales strategies. It definitely makes sense for you if:
- you are new to the market and need to get your first clients,
- you do not have funds for other forms of marketing,
- you want to try and use all sales options,
- current methods are not working for you and you need to try something else,
- you need to revive contacts and restart business.
“Is cold calling useful? If you have a product or service suitable for the B2B segment and a person who knows how to make phone calls, then definitely yes," says David Synáček from Telefonica komunikace, an expert in phone calls who trains and trains businessmen and managers.
Nevertheless, for many sales managers, cold calling is the last option they resort to when nothing else works. No wonder. Marketers must arm themselves with patience, discard ego and expect frequent rejection. In addition, cold calling has a bad reputation in the Czech Republic, and many people do not answer strangers' calls at all.
According to foreign research, only about 2% of cold calls can be described as successful, according to some, there is even one arranged meeting for every 209 phone calls, moreover, ¾ of them are not picked up or answered immediately.
While the effectiveness of cold calling is debatable, it still benefits some by:
- gives immediate feedback as to whether it makes sense to attend to this customer,
- customers from the ranks of senior decision-makers in companies often prefer quick and clear calls to lengthy emails,
- can be interesting in fields where 99% of communication takes place online,
- a phone call is ignored worse than an email.
"I see the main advantage of cold calling in the fact that it helps to get new clients in the fastest way, i.e. by direct contact," confirms David Synáček.
Before you decide to include cold calling in your business strategy, consider the risks, such as:
- wasting valuable time that you could use better than calling hundreds of contacts that you won't get anything from,
- deterring potential clients that you would have better captured otherwise,
- damage to your business reputation – people are wary of phone calls trying to offer them something, which can break trust. Callers must be perfectly prepared for cold calls.
TIP: If you're not using a CRM yet, give it a try. It makes calling easier by having a clear record of all contacts who have made a cold call or are still waiting for it. For each contact, you also record the business potential and other information from the call, which will come in handy to the businessmen to whom the lead reaches for business.
When to outsource cold calls and when to deal with them in-house
If you want to try cold calling, but you don't have enough experience, knowledge or simply don't want to spend your time calling, you can outsource it. "Cold calling is a demanding discipline. Therefore, you cannot do without a suitable person who handles cold calling. However, finding it involves complex recruitment, training, and regular training. Not everyone has the time and people for that. This is why cold calling is often outsourced," confirms David Synáček.
Advantages of outsourcing:
- saving time – leave the calls to experienced experts and devote yourself to other more important sales activities,
- saving money – hiring a call center or operator will be cheaper than employing an in-house expert on cold calls or training one of your co-workers,
- expertise and efficiency – experienced operators have the necessary knowledge and skills to conduct successful business calls.
However, consider the possible disadvantages beforehand:
- the costs of learning and preparing a playbook, i.e. instructions on how to talk about your company, how to conduct communication and how to argue,
- loss of control over how calls are made,
- the risk of data loss if you choose unreliable operators,
- the risk of jeopardizing your company's reputation.
Alternatives - what if cold calling isn't right for you
The most common problem with cold calling is that you are reaching irrelevant contacts. Therefore, you first need to know their needs and problems, for which you will offer them a solution.
How to target potential customers and get leads that you have a better chance of turning into clients or partners? Try:
- content marketing – e.g. blog articles with interesting content, on the basis of which clients will contact you themselves or provide you with their contact information in exchange for additional content (e.g. regular newsletters or e-book downloads),
- emailing – send newsletters and offers tailored to the needs of potential clients to the acquired contacts,
- social networks – for example, on LinkedIn you can easily and effectively find contacts that are of interest to your business (we wrote more about trading on LinkedIn here),
- SEO – optimize your site so that it is not difficult for clients to find you,
- ads – on social networks and PPC ads on Google will make you even more visible,
- events, workshops and networking – participate in events where you can meet potential clients and establish contacts with them,
- client references – ask existing clients for references and let them refer you to others.
Cold calling and other methods of obtaining potential customers are only a small part of the entire business process. Take a look at our hub for business managers, where we advise you on how to set up the process correctly step by step.