Cold calling has been getting a bad rap for years now.
Some experts claim "cold calling is dead”.
Others have gone even further with claims like “No true decision maker is dumb enough to answer a cold-call.”
Note that in both articles I’ve linked to, the author is actually selling you on an alternative sales technique.. like prospecting on LinkedIn or inbound marketing.
So let us spare the awkwardness here too… it’s in my selfish interest that you and your SDR team do more cold calls.
Of course, I don’t mean you should only do cold calls. I mean it should be a part of a healthy, omni-channel sales stack.
At CallBlitz we know the best-performing SDRs aren't afraid to pick up the phones. That's because they know doing it makes them better salespeople on other channels too.
Now with people from all kinds of professions questioning whether AI will make them obsolete, let's look at how it might affect the sales profession.
Here's a prediction: the human part of sales will become more and more important.
Your outbound channels are full of noise
Doing automated personalization and sequencing at scale has become so easy using prospecting tools and SEP-s that everyone is doing some kind of personalization in their cold outbound now.
And most people at the receiving end of these emails are already aware of these "tricks".
Now let's throw ChatGPT and other AI tools into the mix. Hyper-personalization at scale is going to get easier. Evading spam filters is going to get easier.
The amount of AI-generated e-mails, DM-s, and content marketing is going to explode.
The edge you would previously get by hand-crafting emails or openers is going to diminish.
Think of the first time you received a personalized cold-email. I'd bet you felt a bit special that the sender took the time to learn some details about you beforehand.
With the proliferation of AI-generated text, these special moments are going to be far in between with any text-based communication.
It's going to get even more fake, even more inauthentic.
So what to bet on?
Master the mediums where it's harder to fake
Humans want to talk to other humans and that will never change. Bet on being excellent in mediums where the person on the other end is 100% confident you are an actual person and not a robot/AI.
- In-person selling
- Cold calls
- Live video conferencing
While some AI companies are already creating pretty realistic avatars that you can use in videos, you can still kind of feel that it's not a real person talking. However, they are getting better and better and I believe soon with video content we won't be able to tell if it's AI-generated or not.
What's a lot harder to do convincingly is create a fake human in a two-way live communication situation, where the back-and-forth is happening rapidly. We'll likely get there eventually, but that's going to be a while.
The future: Millenials & Gen Z
The people predicting the downfall of cold calling love to talk about how Millenials and Gen Z hate cold calls and are afraid of phone calls in general.
We need to make an important distinction here. When we talk about a Millenial & Gen Z consumer that might be true.
But if we're talking about B2B cold calls - I'm not buying any of it.
Millennials might be the most anxious generation yet, but I don't care who you are - you are not making it into leadership/decision-making positions if you are afraid of something as trivial as a phone call.
What's at the root of being afraid of talking on the phone? Talking on the phone is spontaneous, it's unpredictable, it's uncertain. A person with anxiety will want to avoid such situations.
What about being a leader? A key characteristic of any good leader is the ability to make decisions in uncertain situations based off of imperfect/limited information.
See the contradiction here?
The Millenials & Gen Z that overcome their anxiety, are going to have a higher chance of ending up in leadership & decision-making positions. And those are the people we're going to be calling in B2B sales.
"No true decision maker is dumb enough to answer a cold call"
As a decision-maker you are not sitting in a room alone all day, making decisions in isolation.
Most of your time is spent on communicating.
It means most of the time you are open for communication. That doesn't necessarily mean that you answer every cold call you get.
But there's a certain openness to occasional, spontaneous communication, because you know there's potential for serendipity.
Not to mention that whatever leadership position you're in, you're basically a salesperson. When you're hiring you are selling, when you're seeking partnerships, you're selling.
As a salesperson, you also want to see how or what others are selling, which means you might sometimes pick up the phone from a random number. And if the pitch is really good, you'll steal the rep away from the company he works at!
Limited screen time is the new luxury
Have you seen the #dumbphone TikTok trend?
Using a dumb phone for a month♬ original sound - Logan Ivey
Gen Z are pretty smart though. They're realizing early on that being glued to your phone/computer screen for 10 hours a day might not be the best for your mental health.
That's why "dumbphone" sales have started to go up again, thanks to Gen Z.
The key phrase that seems to come up related to the "dumbphone" movement is "limiting screen time".
But most of the high-paying (individual contributor!) jobs nowadays require you to stare at screens all day.
What follows is that in this digital age we are living in a lack of screen time is the new luxury.
Who can afford this new luxury?
Decision makers, delegators.
How do you communicate without screens?
In-person or voice. That means - in-person, phone calls or voice messages.
It follows that people in decision-making positions are going to be comfortable with phone calls and that's just not going away.
- Cold calling, especially B2B cold calling, is not going anywhere.
- In the age of AI-written emails & content, focus on the human aspects of the job, to future-proof yourself - live calls, live video conversations and in-person sales. Mediums where it's harder to create convincing computer-generated content.
- Millennials & Gen Z hate phone calls, but not really if they're in leadership positions.
- Voice communication, in general, has a bright future, because people are starting to realize staring at screens is bad for you.