Cold calling isn’t dead, it’s just warmer


The debate over the alleged death of the cold call has been going on for a while now. Both sides of the conversation are making bold claims, but from surprisingly similar premises. The opinion of each salesperson, marketing director and consultant, over whether you can feel the pulse of the cold call, seems to be dependent over however the person in question happens to define cold calling. For us to be talking about the same thing, we should start with the definition. A pretty good summary of several different definitions for cold calling would be a salesperson contacting a potential customer, who hasn’t been in contact with that salesperson before. But is it dead?

No, but it’s not that cold anymore. Digitalization and social media have changed sales calls, but not removed them. Both sides of the conversation seem to use that same argument against each other. One side figures that if a potential customer has been looking at the company’s website or LinkedIn profile, this counts as prior contact and calling based on this lead isn’t a cold call at all. The other side calls every call to a customer who hasn’t been directly contacted yet a cold call. The first group says that the cold call is dead, while the latter thinks it’s only changed shape a bit. Who’s right?

The first group says that the cold call is dead, while the latter thinks it’s only changed shape a bit. Who’s right? Who cares.

Who cares. Both sides see the same reality. In any case, traditional cold calling based on faceless lists of companies and phone numbers is in the past. Today, it’s all about content marketing and SEO, as a result of which, when a potential customer checks out your offering, your salesperson checks the new leads from something like Leadfeeder and makes the call. They haven’t been in contact with the customer before, so technically it’s a cold call, but the salesperson still knows the customer knows the company and it’s offering. Let’s just call this a warm call.

Targeted warm calls are several times more effective than traditional cold calls, but they require the coming together of marketing and sales, research into customers and functioning systems. The only thing LinkedIn has killed are coffee breaks we don’t spend working.

Whatever your definition of a cold call may be, it doesn’t change the facts that even though sales and sales calls have morphed into something more intelligent and targeted, you still have to pick up the phone. At least if you want do business.