We cannot say it enough – B2B lead generation has undergone a sea of change over the past few years mainly because of the rise of the digital era. Today, a business prospect has access to a world of information at the tip of a button and is inherently more educated about his/her needs. Approaching a business prospect using the traditional style of interruptive marketing is hardly going to yield good results since before you make the connect, you have to build a connection. Never has the time been better for leveraging marketing content and the social networks to its mercurial extent before picking up that phone to make a cold call. For effective cold calling, B2B lead generation has to utilize both inbound and outbound lead generation strategies to bear fruitful results. The time for the good, old-fashioned grunt work is officially over.The ‘smile and dial’ cold calling method has now been replaced with B2B cold calling 2.0.
To begin with, B2B cold calling needs to take a highly personalized approach and has to be business centric. Creating one killer lead generation strategy and then applying it to all businesses is no longer a recipe for success. B2B cold calling has to adopt a crisp, to-the-point approach that takes into account the pain points of the prospect and offers a solution for the same. While digital channels such as social media marketing, content marketing etc. have become mainstream B2B marketing platforms, B2B cold calling still remains one of the most effective ways of lead generation. However, organizations need to take a very strategic approach to B2B cold calling to realize tangible results and that is what we talk about in this blog –
The first step to B2B cold calling begins with identifying the right target audience. Aiming for the right customer base who can make use of the product or service you have to offer is the first step in the ladder. In order to do so, having an understanding of the business that you are selling to, its nuances and benefits and also loopholes will help you identify your target audience. This will also help in designing a strategy to answer tricky questions when the lead generation professional’s back is to the wall.
Identifying the businesses who can be the potential customers is the relatively easier part. You can get your hands on a curated list of businesses to target once you know ‘which companies’ to target. The difficult part comes when the lead generation professionals have to figure out ‘who’ to target. Doing an in-depth research to find out who is the decision maker in a company usually takes up a sizable chunk of time in B2B cold calling. Often, B2B cold calling strategies fail because the lead generation professionals connect with the gatekeeper administrators and not the actual decision makers. Finding ways to dodging these gatekeeper administrators and discovering a way to connect with the actual decision maker is essential.
Now that the decision maker has been identified, you think just picking up the phone and talking to him/her will get your job done. Right? As much as we would want this to be true, the real cold calling job begins now. B2B cold calling cannot be effective when executed in isolation. It has to be completely integrated into the marketing plan and has to intelligently leverage marketing channels such as email marketing, content marketing, and social media marketing. Personalized messages sent via targeted email, high-quality social media interactions on social networks such as LinkedIn, hosting webinars and podcasts and curating informative and customized content all can be used as a prelude to establishing familiarity with a decision maker before making the physical call.
B2B cold calling also has to have a very mature tone and lead generation professionals making these calls have to be well versed with industry news and trends. For example, if compliance and governance is a big topic of conversation in the target industry, it becomes essential for the lead generation professionals to have some knowledge of the same. While lead generation professionals do have a script that they use during cold calling, they have to be equipped with the most current corporate news to intelligently and ably have a conversation with a prospective client. This goes far beyond the scope of the script. Having domain knowledge and a clear idea of the products and services of the company they are targeting helps in identifying implied problems of the prospective client. With this knowledge, lead generation professionals can work to convert this implied problem to an explicit need, a problem that they can help in solving.
B2B cold calling has to adopt an organic approach if the lead generation professionals want to make compelling offers that solve a problem that a prospective client might be facing. They should position themselves not as sales professionals but as knowledge partners who can help the prospective client improve business outcomes. B2B cold calling needs persistence and patience, a lot of hard work, and a great understanding of the difference between being persistent and being annoying. After all, it is this cold call that nurtures the possibility of a future sale.
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