Cold calling is alive and well, or completely dead, depending upon who you talk to. Marketers will tell you that cold calling is dead, many salespeople still include cold calling in their daily activities. Cold calling can still be effective. One of the ways that marketers can help salespeople be more effective with cold calling is to provide them with great content.
For this post, great content is defined as content that is useful from the user’s point of view. It addresses a problem or challenge they are facing. It doesn’t necessarily solve the problem for prospect, but it may show them how to go about solving the problem, i.e., what to look for, things to consider. symptoms vs problems, etc. Great content focuses on the needs of the buyer, not the qualifications of the seller.
Great content takes time and effort to create. Great content, coupled with an inbound marketing system may eventually replace the needs for methods like cold calling, but it won’t happen overnight. Until it does, here are 5 ways you can use great content to make cold calling easier.
1. Content Helps Overcome Call Reluctance
Do you struggle to get your salespeople (or yourself) to make calls? Sales people experience call reluctance for a variety of reasons. One way to overcome call reluctance is to change your mindset from “I’m interrupting people in order to ask them for something” to “I have some valuable information that people similar to you have found helpful and I thought you might find it helpful too”. In other words, changing from asking to giving; from selling to helping. This shift in mindset takes the pressure off of the salesperson as well as the prospective customer – helping you overcome call reluctance and increasing your chances for starting a conversation.
2. Content Helps You Get Past the Gate Keeper
Another benefit of changing your mindset and having valuable content to is that you can stop dreaming up creative ways to get around your prospects’ gate keepers and inlist them in helping you connect with the right person. I know of a software reseller who cold call script goes something like this – “This is Joe from XYZ company. I have a special report that shows construction companies how to increase the profit on their jobs without buying new software. Is that something you’d be interested in? It is, great – what email address should I send that to?”. More often than not, they end up connecting with the decision maker or a key influencer.
3. Content Gives You a Reason to Follow Up
Do you hate making “just checking in” calls”? So do your prospects.
“Just checking in” is like asking “is there anything we can talk about?”. Sharing great content gives you something to talk about. It gives you the opportunity to ask questions about what your prospect wants to talk about – them and the issues they are facing.
Rather than just checking in, try asking:
- Did they find the content helpful?
- If yes, which parts were helpful and why?
- If not, what would they have liked to have seen? Do you have other content that can help fill that need?
- What other questions did content raise?
- Didn’t have time to read it? Would you like me to give you a 30 second summary of what is covered or point you to the section that addresses your particular question(s)?
- Do you know anyone else who would like to receive this information?
Provide great content and give yourself, and your prospect, something to talk about.
4. Content Helps You Lead with Solutions Rather Than Products
Professional service firms and B2B companies often bundle several products and services to create a comprehensive solution for their customers. One of the challenges they typically face is getting bogged down in a discussion about a particular product or products before they have chance to get the full picture of the challenges facing their prospective customer. This may lead to smaller sales, sub-optimum solutions, and/or wasted time backtracking or reconfiguring solutions.
Sharing great content that educates and builds trust can help alleviate these challenges by setting the stage for the higher level conversations that will help you and your prospect take a solutions based approach to the challenge they are looking to solve.
5. Content Helps You Have a More Productive First Conversation
Sharing great content during the prospecting stages of your sales cycle leads to better, more productive discussions when you do get invited in for a sales conversation. In essence, you’ve already started your sales conversation before the meeting. Now you can quicly get to the heart of the matter – do they have a problem that you can solve and are they willing and able to pay you in order to do so.
These are just a few ways that great marketing content can help you shorten your sales cycle. For more ideas on how to apply these content ideas to your business, request a free consultation or download our free Content Creation Guide.