Cold Calling vs. Automated Lead Generation

VA Partners is in the business of helping start-ups grow by providing part-time sales and marketing and a lot of it is based on cold calling. Recently, after sending a proposal to a prospective client, we came across a new hurdle- they were considering an automated lead generation tool that made use of Artificial Intelligence. They said that the positive reviews from colleagues meant that the AI based tool could mint them a lot of leads.

Invariably, the tool could play a huge role in augmenting their sales process. But they were missing, in all their sincerity, the role that the human element plays. Cold Calls and actually talking to someone on the other side are like ticking the ‘I’m not a robot’ captcha boxes.

I believe that sales professionals should use these tools (most of them are reasonably priced) to augment their pipelines. These could provide them with crucial insights into what could be an oversaturated market and help them filter out those who may be truly interested. As a salesperson, these tools could help increase the number of sales accepted leads and potentially convert into deals.

Therefore, I think there’s great value in utilizing Chat-GPT and other AI tools at the disposal of salespeople. If research and one’s LinkedIn feeds are anything to go by, these tools have already taken over. However, I dug through the archives at our company and found that almost a decade back, our co-founders wrote blogs on how cold calling is not dead. I found it interesting as one of those blogs was prompted by someone suggesting that email marketing and inbound lead generation may just be enough.

What it said to me was that there’s always going to be an easier, better way to do things. AI is the buzzword today that inbound marketing was more than a decade back and while this is only an indication of how popular AI will be in the future, it’s in no way a verdict on the fate of cold calling. If anything, it gives you more bandwidth to do better calls, have better contact management, and make your work easier. 

People argue that reaching executive-level decision makers is getting harder because of hybrid work and while that may be true in some cases, cold calling moves your deal forward by leaps and bounds as compared with any other sales tactic.

Analyzing the current discourse around selling, it almost seems as if cold calling has begun to exist in silos. If that were the case, tech companies wouldn’t be willing to shell out an average of $60k on employees just to have them call 50+ people a day. Cold Calling is well and alive but it’s important for both salespeople and others to recognize that it continues to evolve with new challenges and benefits to bring to the table.

In fact, one of the places where cold calling works best is when you don’t have a robust sales plan in place or have little knowledge of what’s going to work or not in your chosen market. Cold Calling gives you the advantage of talking to people and finding out what their pain points are. Some of the benefits to founders, especially are:

      1. Knowledge is power– Good conversations on phone provide you with the necessary arsenal to design strategic initiatives. This ammo is often the insight that founders lack. No amount of big data and analytics on a dashboard will provide the raw insights you need to establish a visionary business.

      1. Realistic Expectations– Founders often have unrealistic standards of what they see as a decent runway and getting down to ringing other people’s phones helps entrepreneurs set realistic expectations of the investment and time costs they are looking at.

      1. Building resiliency– A seed round goes bad, you don’t get the funding you want in the time frame you want- all of this can cause undue stress and it can seem fatalist, however cold calling teaches you that there are good days and bad days, and consistency is key.

    AI-generated tools make sales seem easy and a one-fix solution. It’s not, but it’s not as hard as you think it is. Yes, you should incorporate these tools into your strategy and there’s a plethora of these in the market now, but they should be an additive and not a fundamental. If you want to find out how we have helped 200+ companies and the role cold calling has played, feel free to reach out and book a meeting. We’d be more than happy to help.

    Cold Calling vs. Automated Lead Generation