Cold Calling – The Odds – Industrial Sales
Cold Calling, what is it good for?
The purpose of a cold call is to make an introduction of the company and machine or product, find out if the product has interest to the Industrial customer, and start a sales conversation. Go from a sales conversation to brochures. From brochure to visit. From the visit to a close. Cold calling is part of the marketing arsenal. When used correctly, the economics make sense.
How does cold calling work in real life?
(Caution – Unscientific results based on in-house CRM notes). The accomplished caller gets to a useful person, 33% of the time. The good caller gets to a useful person 25% of the time. Less good sales people get less. Great sales people get more. Not a lot of difference between good and accomplished.
Salespeople are good at their job. If the new product has any relevance at all (80% of the time on good lists) the potential customer asks for more information. Most of the time 80% the additional information satisfies the customer who may or may not open up the email with the attachment. (Note – see about an email widget that lets you know when prospect opens or deletes the attachment).
Math update. 600 leads = 200 connected calls. 160 brochures sent. 10% = 16 prospects with an interest somewhere between curiosity and seriousness. Of the 16 prospects, 4 have interest and set an appointment. One out of 4 appointments with prospects that take appointments ends with a purchase. Calling 600 people with skilled consistent sales people on a good list means that one sale is made. One-third of one percent of the calls ends up in closed transactions.
The call is important because it sets the stage for the relationship.
Too pushy and sales orientated, and the caller makes his reputation, no matter how good the information, the person is dismissed from relevance. Too weak a call and the salesperson is dismissed as rambling and unfocused. Either end of the extreme is unattractive. The correct tone is focused on the job at hand, delivered as an authentic human being. Everyone takes this sales person seriously except for the front desk receptionist who has been told to reject any and all sales people. Ever wonder why these instructions come to the front desk?
The brochure is the calling card.
It reaches beyond the point of contact of the sales person into the company. Does the brochure explain the entire product? Is it a teaser? One page chock full of facts? Is the brochure a sample? The answer, “it depends” is unsatisfying.
If the product is part of the COGS (cost of goods sold) then a sample is frequently the right “brochure” to send. If the product is a new robot, perhaps a teaser and an invite to the factory is best. If the product is this year’s version of a commoditized product (electric motor, diesel engine, tools, gears, boilers, heat exchangers, etc.) then a detailed spec sheet and a link to an iges (three-dimensional drawing) file is in order.
Send out too little and the brochure is pitched in the trash or deleted. Send out too little and the sales person is pitched in trash or deleted for not recognizing what to send.
Making the appointment might happen on the first call, but probably not. More like six or seven calls.
Remember, each cold call leaves an impression too. Be sure to be sure before burning through your lists.
PS: For fun, check out Scratch Ticket odds
PPS: Check out the post regarding the CRM we use.