In cold calling, sales representatives call up individuals and try to convince them about their products and make a sale. But if you have secretly asked your sales representatives, most of them are likely to say that they hate cold calling. Not just that, you will be surprised to know that 94% of calls from unknown calls are unanswered.
Additionally, today, there are a lot of other means to maximize your efforts and generate sales leads apart from cold calling. If you are open to exploring other options, we have listed alternatives to cold calling here.
14 Alternatives to cold calling
1. Lead generation forms like MarbleFlows
Lead generation forms are an effective tool to collect email addresses, grow your email list, and convert them to potential customers. However, lead generation forms work best when they are attractive and appealing, enticing the customer to take action.
MarbleFlows is a no-code lead generation form builder that lets you create engaging flows in minutes. It offers various content blocks like text, images, buttons, games, and videos so you can go creative with your forms. You can share the flows easily through a link, widget, or iframe. Apart from taking care of the aesthetics, remember to place your form carefully on the website, so they are prominently visible.
Whether you are a B2B or a B2C brand, at the end of the day, people always buy from people. So, the better you know people and people know you and trust you, you are in a better position to make sales. When you can build trust and stay on top of their mind, they will be the first to get in touch with you when they have a requirement that your product can solve. But how do you network?
Remember, the best way to network is by reaching out to people with only one question in your mind —- how can I add value to this person’s life? Be selfless, and don’t expect anything in return.
When you network with the right audience ( your potential customers) and nurture a value-based relationship, you will see a dramatic increase in your sales leads. These people will also refer you to their peers when they need a similar service. Know that the best networkers are friendly and they reach out to people offering help genuinely.
3. Email Marketing
Targeted email marketing is a powerful alternative to cold calling for lead generation. A thoughtfully curated email sequence can pique the interest of the users and help you nurture the prospect as a pre-qualified lead. However, ensure your email marketing technique works. Don't make your emails salesy and pushy. Instead, make it targeted and personalized, aligned with the customer journey.
4. Lead scoring
Lead scoring is another effective sales lead generation alternative to cold calling. In this process, the sales representative ranks the leads based on how much potential value they will have in your business. Based on that, the sales representatives decide how aggressively they will do the lead nurturing. For example, you can rank your leads based on their job role and organizational hierarchy. A decision-maker gets a higher rank than a junior-level employee with no decision-making power.
5. Engage with users on community forums
Leverage online forums like Reddit, Quora, and Slack channels to connect with your audience and answer their questions. Don't get too pushy or salesy. Instead, scout through different discussion threads and channels to understand where you can plug your insights most naturally. Avoid direct pitching and offer useful information to help the customer solve a problem. Give a natural plug to your product. That way, when a prospect may need a solution related to your product, they will reach out to you because they are already well-informed and aware of your solution. Here’s an example from Moz and how their CEO runs the reader through all the pros and cons of SEO tools instead of just pitching about Moz.
6. Referral marketing
When a friend refers you to a product or service, you are more willing to check it out than the brand itself reaching out to you to try their product. Right? You can also do the same for your brand by implementing referral marketing.
To make referral marketing work, attach an incentive to the program. Offering a valuable referral incentive can pique the customer's interest to refer your offering to others. Referral incentives can be in the form of freebies, discount coupons, and free access to the complete suite of your tool for a month. Referrals can be a good way to generate leads and convert them into sales. So why not give it a try?
7. Through events and seminars
Establishing yourself as an authority in the industry is a great way to attract leads who will be interested in buying from you. If you are good at networking and can build your brand on social media, you can find several speaking opportunities at events and seminars where your potential customers may also assemble. However, to make an impactful speech and generate leads, here are a few pointers to keep in mind.
Choose an interesting topic, you have enough knowledge of it, and your customers will be excited to learn something new. Take a ‘show and don't tell approach, and back up your claims with substantial data, especially from your own company. Don't make it boring and salesy.
Leave something valuable and actionable for the listeners to take away and implement in your business.
8. Leverage social media for lead generations
If you are not leveraging social media for lead generations, you are surely missing out on digging a gold mine of opportunity. For starters, 2.11 billion people can be reached using Facebook alone! So if you have not yet incorporated social media in your lead generation process, start doing it now! Here are some tips to help you get started.
Share useful content that offers value on social media. This can be a post, a guide, a case study, or an ebook. Provide actionable tips that the reader can immediately implement in their business.
Engage with your audience to boost your presence and make more people aware of your product. Quizzes, giveaways, contests, and polls are great ways to interact with the audience.
Almost all social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, offer paid lead-generation ads. B2B marketers can leverage these channels ( where their audience is present) for targeted marketing.
9. Word-of-mouth referrals
Word-of-mouth is a powerful means to generate leads if you know how to leverage it correctly. When you need a solution, you will mostly ask your peers or friends because you trust them more than a brand. So when you have a happy customer, be proactive and ask them for referrals. Offer them an incentive, too, to refer to you. You can also gather customer testimonials. Don't shy away from flaunting them in public. Put them in your case studies, websites, and social media channels.
10. Reach out to old clients
After the sales journey ends, don't lose touch with your customers. Nudge through helpful content, discount coupons, and generally follow-up emails so that you stay on top of your prospect’s minds whether they decide to make a purchase or not. Be genuine and helpful throughout the process.
11. Build loyal customers
Do you know that 60% percent of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience? So why not wow your existing new customers with outstanding customer service and build a strong base of loyal customers? Having a base of loyal customers has manifold benefits. For example, once they trust you, they are more likely to buy from you and even refer you to their peers. You also save at least five times on customer acquisition costs as you start retaining your customers.
Paid social ads are another powerful way to generate leads if your customers are already spending time on social media. For your paid social ads to work, build your presence on social media first. Have a website, create content, and be actively present on social media channels.
Few thighs to remember while creating paid social ads —-
- Create your buyer persona and target your ads for your buyer persona
- Talk to them in their language and address their pain points directly
- Offer them a solution
- Have a clear CTA in your ad. Do you want them to book a demo call? Make a purchase? Submit their contact details? Once you know your end goal, it will be easy for you to craft a clear CTA.
12. Writing for publications
Writing for publications your potential customers read is another good way to establish your authority and drive sales leads. Write high-quality articles in top niche publications with your expert views, opinions, recent industry trends, etc. For example, if you are a technology company, you may want to guest post for sites like Forbes to establish your niche authority.
13. Driving leads through content marketing
Content marketing is the most cost-effective and organic way to drive traffic to your site. Creating high-value content like blogs, case studies, ebooks, whitepapers, etc., can help drive traffic and grow your audience list organically. You can create high-value content by researching your audience's pain points and answering them through your content, analyzing the right keywords and optimizing your content for them, seeing what your competitors are doing, and finding the gaps. Fill the gap through your content. However, remember that content marketing is a long-term game, and you must be patient and show up consistently to reap the benefits.
14. Offer a freemium model
Let your customer use your products for a limited period, or let them try some of the features of your product for free. Toward the end of the trial period, nudge them with the subscription offers. They will pay for the subscription if they are already in love with your product. Alternatively, you can further entice them to sign up with an irresistible discount offer they find hard to say no to.
Time to step up your game
While each of these ideas can help you acquire leads, a lot depends on which industry you are in and what works best for your business. But if you only leverage cold calling to generate sales leads, you are certainly missing out on more opportunities. So why not try the other cold-calling alternatives and figure out what works best for you? You can try a combination of all or a few of these ideas.
Written by Chayanika Sen.