Often, when we think of B2B inside sales reps or business development specialists, we picture the daily exercise of cold calling into new markets or territories. While cold calling is a valuable activity, it’s equally important for B2B companies to apply resources to “warm calling.”
Cold calling versus warm calling
What’s the difference between cold calling and warm calling?
Cold calling typically means connecting with audiences unfamiliar with your company. It’s useful to activate new lists, refresh your sales database and start the lead generation process.
Warm calling, also known as lead nurturing, applies to companies and individuals where a relationship already exists. The purpose of this strategic calling is to gather more information, improve the quality of the contact and prioritize your next step.
B2B companies that conduct regular warm calling benefit by generating more leads and ensuring those leads are fully qualified before passing them to sales reps for follow up or setting appointments.
Target these B2B audience segments with warm calling
The audience segments below can all benefit from warm calling and lead nurturing campaigns. In fact, many organizations conduct warm calling campaigns year-round, adding in new names each week to ensure these critical sales prospecting follow-ups occur in a timely manner.
Website and email inquiries
Your outbound calling team essentially works as a liaison between marketing and sales. As the B2B marketing team generates leads through demand generation, content marketing, webinars, email campaigns, events, SEO and other sources, these inquiries flow to the sales team for follow-up.
However, not all inbound inquiries are created equal. Depending on the data your online tools collect, some inquiries may contain only basic contact information. That doesn’t give the sales team much to work with, and often results in delayed follow-up or no outreach at all.
With a warm calling campaign, your inside sales or business development team place calls to marketing-generated leads. This proactive outreach collects complete information, asks qualifying questions and quickly determines whether they are a good fit—either right now or in the future. This collaborative effort strengthens the marketing-sales relationship and ensures sales receives only the most qualified, sales-ready leads to use their time wisely.
Cold leads that need nurturing
A B2B lead goes cold when they aren’t ready to make a purchase right away. The company or decision-maker might be qualified in every other way, but if the timing isn’t right, there’s no point in wasting the prospect or the sales team’s time right now.
However, it’s important to remember that these qualified leads will buy eventually. Warm calling should be part of B2B lead-nurturing campaigns. Injecting periodic calls into your sequence of email and other marketing communications will let you keep tabs on the prospect’s needs and level of interest. After all, if cool leads don’t hear from you regularly, there’s a good chance they’ll do business with the company that does keep in touch.
Prospects who express future interest
Only a handful of prospects are ready to set up an appointment when they receive a cold call. However, many are open to receiving more information via email or for you to call back in the future. It’s critical to actually follow up on these requests instead of letting this potential business slip through the cracks. It’s also unlikely that your high-powered field sales team or distributors will take the time to handle these requests, especially when more pressing opportunities are at hand.
A warm calling campaign is ideal for these “future interest” opportunities. Follow-up calls let you build rapport and establish a relationship that will lead to a sale down the road.
Past and current customers
Finally, warm calling can focus on new business opportunities with current and past customers. B2B companies often neglect sales efforts with these audience segments. Outbound callers can help maintain these important relationships with periodic check-in calls. You can inform past and current customers about new products, training opportunities or upsell/cross-sell solutions that complement their current offering.
Warm calling for B2B sales prospecting plays an important role in building and maintaining successful relationships. There’s no better way to keep your B2B company top of mind when it comes time to make a buying decision.
Learn more about Volkart May’s inquiry qualification and warm calling services. We’ve got 30 years of experience supporting leading B2B brands.