By Ted Mercer

Cold calls don’t work.  They are de-moralizing for the sales person, expensive for the vendor company and calls are generally ignored by prospects.  Awareness calls are much more effective.  The difference is a Cold call is made to someone out of the blue without any prior communications.  An Awareness call is made to a prospect who has previously been engaged by your company in a number of pre-defined ways.

The shift in strategy from using blank cold calls to awareness calls has resulted from two changes in the marketplace.  Firstly, Search Engine Optimization and email tracking capabilities have allowed a sales force to more accurately target prospects than ever before.  Secondly, there has been a well-documented shift (see here) in buyer activity to engage sales people later on in the buying cycle.  Previously, buyers would contact three or four of the vendors, initiate discussions with the sales person and gather information from each vendor so they can make a qualified decision.  Now, buyers do their research on the internet using a variety of publicly and privately available sources to gather as much information on the solution they want to purchase before they ever engage a vendor sales person.  The market has adapted by producing and distributing much more content than was ever available before.  With these two changes in the marketplace, a stronger ability to target buyers and a desire by the buyers for more information that does not come from vendors, Awareness calls make more sense than Cold calls.

The following 5 steps should happen before any Awareness calls are made.

  1. Creation of publicly distributed content about the industry, company and solution. Buyers search the internet for this information to form an opinion of the company and its solution.  This content covers the industry with statistics, facts and opinions on the future of the industry.

–          Deloitte has a very good example of this with their TMT Predictions (see here) about the state of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications industry in the upcoming year.

  1. Distribution of newsletters and other forms of communication to the Target Prospect List in a variety of styles, including blogs similar to this one.  The purpose of this step and the next is to make the prospect acquainted with the vendor’s name and value proposition.
  2. Targeted, personalized and informational emails to the buyers and decision makers.
  3. Leave voice mails with those buyers and decision makers – without trying to engage them in a conversation.  The goal is to familiarize the prospect with the sound of your voice before you actually talk to them.  Then the first conversation will have a ring of familiarity.

–          Try calling late at night or early in the morning when the target is not at their desk.

  1. Follow-up emails to the voice mails that refer to the voice mails and ask for a time to call back

At this point, the Prospect is primed and ready for an Awareness call.  If they have paid any attention to your communications, they know your company name, they know your company’s value proposition, they know the sales person’s name and will recognize their voice.  See the next blog for a discussion on how to craft the message and make the call.

For more information, contact Ted Mercer at tedcwmercer@gmail.com or 416 939 5794 to discuss.