I was reading Dr. Seuss to my 4-year-old last night. He is particularly fond of “Green Eggs and Ham”, which starts with Sam-I-Am asking the main character, “Do you like green eggs and ham?” To which the main character replies, “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.”
Sam goes on to pester the main character to try them “here and there” and “with a fox or in a box,” etc. It is a fun story with a happy ending, where the main character ends up trying green eggs and ham and, after much dismissal to that point, liking them quite a bit.
The character’s reaction in the story is very similar to my reaction to cold calling. I do not like cold calls. I do not like making them. I do not like receiving them. I do not like them here or there. I do not like them anywhere. I do not like cold calls.
As I sat down to type this, those were the words going through my head. Sounds a lot like the good Dr’s classic story. Unfortunately, I have tried cold calling and I still don’t like it. Really, who does enjoy cold calls? The caller doesn’t like it. The receiver doesn’t like it. If she picks up at all, she likely views the call as a total waste of her time. So if no one likes cold calls, the whole industry must be dying, right? And if it is dying, why do I keep getting called?
Sadly, cold calling is not dead. It is hanging on, undead, ready to suck the life out of the caller and precious time from the unsuspecting soul that picks up. It is completely inefficient, manual, and labor intensive, yet the caller gets immediate satisfaction and feedback when he does get a sucker on the phone.
I have watched this phenomenon several times in my career. Lack of patience with marketing leads the sales rep to start cold calling, wasting precious sales time and annoying hundreds of people in the process.
The good news is that there is a smart, efficient, engaging alternative. A solution that weeds out unqualified leads, nurtures qualified leads until they are warm and ready, and then produces Sales Qualified Leads for sales people to engage with. A solution that allows marketing to focus on finding leads, engaging them, and nurturing them — and sales to focus on selling. That solution is marketing automation.
I do not like cold calling. I do like targeted engagement. I do like content curated to my behavior. I do like being nurtured towards a buying decision at my own pace. I do like a solution that understands if I want content in a box or with a fox, on a train or in the rain. And so do many others. In fact, according to Gartner, CRM is the fastest growing segment of Enterprise Software solutions and marketing automation is the fastest growing segment in the CRM group of solutions.
Marketing automation is ushering in the twilight era for cold calling. Fewer and fewer executives are willing to spend the money to blindly call prospects when far more efficient solutions exist.
As more marketers release the power of marketing automation solutions and more executives release the money they are now wasting on cold calling, more companies are making the switch — and cold calling is dying. The death is slow today, but accelerating.
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