In Response to some person who is going around calling themselves the "Inside Sales Guru" who said (in public on Linkedin)
Here's the link: http://www.linkedin.com/answers/marketing-sales/sales/sales-techniques/MAR_SLS_STC/275615-20579075?searchIdx=0&sik=1217477515483&goback=%2Easr_1_1217477515483
I contend that cold calling works just about as well, maybe better than extensive research. Obviously looking up the company and finding names will always be useful and beneficial -- but beyond that; what can you really get from research that makes a true difference. And how does any of it solve the biggest problem of developing new business -- that of getting to the decision maker in the first place?
One other key point -- most people are terrible at cold calling and I believe much of the flap about "never cold call" is because of this very problem. I don't consider this a valid excuse to "waste time" doing research -- it is still a cold call unless the referral is direct and from someone who has done business with you before or there is little additional credibility.
Before we even look at the argument here - let's think for a second about how WRONG it is to call yourself a GURU of anything (ever), in public and then ask a question / make a statement which makes you look like a total ROOKIE.
1. Cold Calling works great: *RAISES EYEBROWS*
2. Research is a "waste of time" *JAW DROPS*
3. The reason people say they never cold call is becuase they can't, or are crap at it *FAINTS*
4. Research won't help you get to the right decision maker in the first place *LOSES WILL TO LIVE*
In a way, Mr/Ms 'Guru' I am glad people like you exist in this world, because frankly, If a prospect/client has had a call from you ten minutes before I call them, I promise that I will look even better than I do usually, becuase I treat them as a truly important business prospect, and you, dearest - do not!!
Some people are brilliant at cold-calling. Most are not.
When I first started in the Recruiting business I was incredibly good at making ice-cold-calls, but in part that was becuase I hadn't had much training/didn't know any better, was able to be resistant to the (inevitable) no/go away/wrong decision maker/... type of rebutalls, and becuase I was determined (desperate?) and persuasive enough to make things happen for me, and win a relationship/deal/assignment from the customer, and I mean with no research. These calls were so cold they were freezing. You know the:
'Can I speak to the person responsible for...?"
*Sigh*... I'll put you through...
I cringe now when I think back to those days because, after a time, I realised the incredible value of research to supplement a genuine 'solution' sell and the beginning of hopefully a long term partnership - and in a competitive landscape, it's not just a commodity type 'service' you have to offer to clients and target candidates - it's way more than that. It's solutions.
If you haven't researched, even the best cold-caller in the world can easily be exposed as not having done any, with a few simple qualifiers from the call recipient. And frankly, when I recieve cold calls and they clearly haven't researched I don't buy. Why? Not becuase I hate the person, but because I think they are lazy, and they don't really care about doing business with me. I'm just a number on a long list and they are offering me a commodity service with no qualitative differentiation.
On the client and candidate side, the internet phoenomenon alone, and in particular social media like Xing, Linkedin, Spock, Naymz, Marzar, etc things like 'Google Hacking', and the general upturn in the quality/quantity of info on a company website makes it way easier now to do far better research, in a far shorter time than ever before.
So is there really an excuse for 'Cold Calling' in the relationship economy? I personally think not.
Furthermore, whilst I know little about the background of the 'Inside Sales Guru' I think that if they ever want to monetize their own business through sale or IPO, they should empathise a little with what goes through a potential buyers mind when they consider placing a value on his/her business and looking through their CRM/Contact Software. If company A has some great cold callers, but offers commoditized services and a list of 'names'/company phone numbers, whilst company B has a more stratgic, research based sales force but tons of prime quality, well researched info on the database...
I think I know which company I would buy.
I haven't read the Q&A yet, as I wanted to reply here to the question but I will, I just wanted to shoot from the hip with my own opinion outside of the Linkedin loop. Sometimes on Linkedin Q&A people beat me to what I was going to say anyway and then there seems little point then answering/repeating but we have a different/smaller crowd here and I can be 1st post :)
Cold Calling is Dead. Long Live the Warm call