The No. 1 thing sales people need in order to sell effectively is someone to sell to. Cold calling used to be a great way to get prospects and set up appointments, but with the vast amount of information at consumers finger-tips today, inbound marketing has become a much more efficient way to sell. Inbound marketing works better than cold calling because it delivers warm prospects who are receptive to speaking with a sales person.
Digital Killed Cold Calling
Before caller ID and texting, cold calling was a great way to get leads for businesses. But when was the last time you answered a call from a number you didn’t recognize? More and more consumers avoid answering unfamiliar numbers so businesses are not getting the return on investment that they used to.
We live in the information age where we know instantly who is calling, and we can turn to Google for any question we may have — at any time day or night. Consumers do their research online at their own pace, and are only ready to speak with a sales person at the final stage of the buying process.
Today, an average salesperson makes eight dials per hour and prospects for 6.25 hours to set one appointment. That means, on average, one appointment is made for every 50 calls made by salespeople.
At the same time, salespeople tend to have negative experience being on the consumer side of cold calling, making it difficult for salespeople to feel good about make cold calls day-in and day-out. Salespeople, who cold call frequently, often suffer mental fatigue and drop in productivity, resulting in quick burnout and high turnover.
Cold calling is an inefficient use of a business’s time and resources. Your salespeople are great at building relationships, so to squander their time and talent dialing cold leads (a job that can be easily automated, by the way) is criminal.
That’s Where Inbound Marketing Comes In
Unlike cold calling, inbound marketing provides salespeople with a list of warm prospects that have already made contact with you through online marketing efforts. These warm prospects may have subscribed to your newsletter, downloaded a resource from your website, connected to you on social media, or watched a video about your product or service.
These consumers have already shown interest in the product or service you are selling, giving your salespeople a targeted audience to call.
How To Treat Inbound Marketing Leads
The approach for calling inbound marketing leads is different from cold calling. With cold calling you have a script that a salesperson rehearses to each person they call. With inbound marketing, you can treat every call uniquely because you have an established history with each contact.
1. Do your research
Preparation sets inbound marketing apart from cold calling. With inbound marketing, you have an established relationship with each lead. You know, for instance, which products they’ve looked at on your website, and what resources they’ve downloaded from your website. By accessing each prospect’s digital footprint, you already know what problem each prospect is trying to solve, and can have a more engaging conversation on every call.
2. Have a conversation
The consumers you are contacting already understand they have a need for your product or services because they have already taken steps to see if your solution is the right fit for them by making contact with you. You do not have to sell the need, just the solution.
This means, instead of a sales pitch, you can take a more consultative approach to each call, helping your prospect reach the best solution and developing a feeling of trust between the consumer and salesperson.
3. Automate your process
Reaching the right person with the right content through marketing automation and inbound marketing go hand-in-hand. As you drive warm leads to your website through inbound marketing, marketing automation sends those leads to a central database, tracks each lead’s activity on your website, and alerts your sales people when it’s the right time to reach out to a warm prospect. The more automated you can make your sales people’s workflow, the more efficient they can be with their time. They spend less time organizing tasks, and more time having lucrative conversations with potential customers.
In this modern age, cold calling is dead and inbound marketing killed it. By taking an inbound approach in your business, you’ll deliver warm prospects to sales and convert more leads into customers. Sales is all about putting relationships first, making inbound marketing a more effective approach for your business, your salespeople and consumers.
This post originally appeared on Forbes.