In the old days, a sales rep would sit down with a local phone book, call contacts one by one and hope they could convince the stranger on the other end to buy a product.
The sales rep had no idea if the customer had even heard of the product, let alone was interested in it. Even if a customer was interested, walking him or her through the entire sales process was difficult.
In this kind of work environment, how do you train more sales reps? It’s not like sales coaching was possible. There wasn’t a strategy, it was all about logging time on the phone and hoping for the best.
Fortunately, cold call has evolved.
Today’s sales reps are still cold calling, but the leads aren’t as “cold.” In addition, digital tools have advanced the antiquated sales methods that were once the norm.
Here’s a look at how cold calling has evolved:
Leads are now qualified
Rather than picking up the Yellow Pages, sales reps now work from a list of qualified leads. In other words, the people that are on their call list are sales-ready.
Where does this list of qualified leads come from? Typically, the marketing team supplies the list. Sales and marketing now work together. The marketing team launches different campaigns to find and nurture qualified leads.
For instance, the marketing team might put together a white paper aimed at new customers on the company website. To download the paper, interested customers have to provide their contact information. Once the contact information is given, the marketing team might follow up with an email campaign that explains more about a product and ask if he or she would like to schedule a demo.
If a customer asks for demo, that lead is then passed to the sale department. The sales rep is now working with a qualified lead, someone that’s shown interest in the product.
The rise of inside sales teams
In some companies, sales are still conducted through face-to-face meetings. In the old days, people weren’t willing to buy goods or services without meeting the person behind them. While some sales reps still make house calls, in today’s digital age, a lot of the in-person interaction have given way to calls, texts and emails.
More companies are utilizing inside sales. In other words, the sales team “stays in” and uses sales coaching tools to get up to speed and reach customers. They’ll place a call, send a text, reach out via social media messenger or craft an email, when they’re ready to chat with a client.
The opposite term, outside sales, refers to sales reps traveling to meet clients in person. But, a lot of companies realize that this tactic is costly and isn’t necessarily as effective as inside sales.
The average ROI for inside sales people is 46% higher than it is for infield ROI, according to research from Richardson.
Digital tools improve efficiency and eliminate tedious tasks
Decades ago, the only tools a sales rep had were a phone book and phone, now there are hundreds of tools available that streamline the entire buying process. From lead generation tools to sales coaching platforms, here’s a snapshot of tools that help sales reps succeed:
Companies looking for more qualified leads use LeadCrunch, which uses artificial intelligence to analyze your current customers and find other like-minded customers.
To make a sale, you need to know your customers. With Artesian, sales reps gain access to company information, data and relevant industry news that can provide the personalization consumers have come to know and trust. Face-to-face meetings might be dwindling, but the personalization that came with them doesn’t have to.
Ready to bring a new sales rep onboard? It’s not always easy to bring a new recruit up to speed, but with MindTickle sales coaching is simple. A sales rep doesn’t have to shadow a mentor or wait for monthly training, it’s all done inside MindTickle, where managers create structured sales coaching programs for reps to learn quickly.
Empower your sales team with an inbound and outbound voice solution that helps sales reps land more sales. RingDNA offers local phone numbers, call tracking, voicemails, automated emails, and call logs to engage with customers easily and effectively.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it provides a glimpse of how evolved cold calling has become. (For a more advanced list, check out this list of 160 sales tools).
Sales reps aren’t marooned on an island with a list of contacts and corded phone anymore.
The best sales reps are part of a cohesive company team that deploys a variety of tools that make everything from lead generation to sales coaching easier.
A sales rep is still in charge of closing deals, but how they go about it has completely changed.