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The Inbound Sales and Marketing Blog

It’s Time To Face The Dial Tone - Cold Calling Doesn’t Work Anymore

by Kate Marsh on April 3, 2018

Calling isn't dead - cold calls are.Ok, that might not be entirely true. But it’s so true it might as well be.

Don’t believe me?

InsideView previously held a survey in an attempt to end the debate - is this the death of cold calling? The answers aren’t surprising to me as a millennial - according to the study, more than 90% of decision makers claimed they “never” responded to a cold call.

If you’ve read my previous posts, this isn’t a surprise -- I hate the phone. It’s true - I’ve written about cold calling before (and ignored four calls from numbers I don’t recognize today alone). My last post about phone calls - Call Me Maybe? Actually Please Don’t - detailed an undeniable personal fact : I literally will not answer my phone if I don’t know your number.

It’s easy to shrug that off, though, isn’t it? I’m one mid to late twenty something, surely I don’t speak for everyone, right?

Before we continue, let’s get one thing straight, calling isn’t dead. Trish Bertuzzi of The Bridge Group does an excellent job of making this point in her blog post “It’s the ‘cold’ that’s dead, not the ‘calling.‘“ Placing a call to the right person at the right time in their buyer’s journey is still very much a part of Inbound Sales and Inbound Marketing.

Imagine - you need to get your eyes checked. You’ve done your research, read customer reviews, looked at social media channels, checked out various websites, and are now ready to make an appointment. You fill out a form to schedule an appointment…..and no one calls you back. Annoying, right?

Now imagine you have no interest in seeing an eye doctor - or buying a copier - and you get an out of the blue call from one trying to sell you something. It interrupts your day, your project, or your train of thought. You’ve never even heard of the company before, and you don’t know how they got your phone number. That’s even more annoying.

Millennial phone habits should matter to you. Millennials are expected to overtake Boomers as the largest generation in the workforce by 2019. You really do need to pay more attention to Buyer 2.0 than ever before.


A study from Baylor University’s Keller Center for Research found that the success of converting cold calls to appointments was exceptionally small, settling at only 0.3% success rates. A recent blog post from SuperOffice puts it best - you would literally need to make over 1,600 cold calls to generate a minuscule 5 sales meetings. 

It’s no secret that the buying process has changed over the years. The trend toward emails, downloadable content, and social media has been steadily increasing. It’s fairly common knowledge these days that 94% B2B buyers begin their buying process online, and more than 75% of those same buyers use social media to inform their purchasing decisions.

What does this mean for you?

You should probably consider moving more of your efforts toward Buyer 2.0 and the online buyer’s journey.

This doesn’t involve never using a phone again, I promise. (You still have to make those appointments and close those sales!) It also means that you should be putting more effort into your company’s website, social media channels, search engine optimization (SEO), and content.

Cold calling might not work - but delivering valuable content before calling to set up a requested meeting or assessment does.

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Since I left you with a phone call themed song last time, enjoy this reminder that there’s no reason to toss out those office phones just yet!


Topics: Inbound Marketing, Inbound Sales, Buyer 2.0, Get Leads, Get Appointments