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FAIL: The Cold Calling Pitch on Cold Calling


Interrupting prospects won't likely put them in a buying mood, so why do companies still do it?

outbound marketingLast year a guy from Stockton cold called me to pitch me on his cold calling skills. He could drum up new business for me, pronto. Here's how things went:

  • Me: I'm not seeking new business.
  • Him: But more leads wouldn't hurt, right?
  • Me: They do if I have more requests for services than time to provide them.
  • Him: Oh really. How do you manage that?
  • Me: There's alot of info at our website. I don't cold call because it interrupts people.
  • Him: Oh, I'm interrupting you?
  • Me: Yes. You are irritating a decision maker by interrupting them.
  • Him: I totally understand. I'll call back.


Sometimes I am blind to the fact that there are pros who still rely on an outbound-only approach. On Wednesday you'll have a chance to hear both sides of the issue as Google+ hosts a debate on the topic of "Does Cold Calling Still Work?"

To me, cold calling is "interruption marketing." Someone has purchased or scraped a list, calls out of the blue, and starts the sales pitch. That doesn't put me in the mood to buy whatever the caller is selling. In fact, it's a real downer for him if he gets me on the line. And yet, some folks say cold-calling produces some of the highest-quality leads (albeit at a remarkable cost in dollars and brand equity).

The debate will discuss whether inbound marketing tactics such as search engine optimization are more effective than outbound marketing tactics. On the debate panel are Mike Volpe, Chief Marketing Officer at HubSpot; Kenneth Krogue, President and co-founder of; and Anneke Seley, CEO at Reality Works Group. Derek Singleton, managing editor of B2B Marketing Mentor, will moderate. The debate will begin at 11am Pacific (1 pm Central) Time. To watch online and ask your own questions, visit the Singleton's Google+ page.



Rebekah, between you and me and your readers, I'm thinking that the debate will be a waste of time and wonder why such busy talented people are having it. Seriously, don't you remember how many crappy cold calls you were subjected to when outbound was still fashionable? And today, how much supposedly inbound content reads like a cold call script. Wouldn't it be better if we ignored the people that weren't do it to us the way we want it done? Eventually, they'd starve or ask for help.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 29, 2013 11:10 AM by Rick Roberge
Yeah. And I was glad to help, gratis, when a dude who'd been selling lists for 50 years reached out to me on LinkedIn and said humbly, "I'm obsolete. Can you point me in the right direction?" He retrained and isn't starving. 
The other thing that strikes me as odd is that whether or not outbound works is an empirical question. Like you say (in I think the article, who cares what the experts think? Only customers' buying behavior counts.  
Anyway there's a motherload of data from this mid 90s to today from Marketing Sherpa, Enquiro, Forrester, etc etc and it's remarkably  
consistent in establishing a "hell no" conclusion. Volpe will probably reel off some of it in tomorrow's webex.  
Just to be sure, maybe we could ask Anne Holland's team to figure out how to do a reliable A/B test. Yes it'd would be tough to control for all the factors. But time is better spent there than the debating.
Posted @ Tuesday, January 29, 2013 12:51 PM by Rebekah Donaldson
Take two re Roberge article I mentioned: RainMakers, Sales Rock Stars, & Salespeople - What's the Difference?
Posted @ Tuesday, January 29, 2013 12:57 PM by Rebekah Donaldson
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