Recruitment Blog

Cold  calling is dead: How marketing can resurrect your sales strategy

Dawn Lo
Content Marketing Manager, JobAdder

The art of cold calling has been around for decades, and has served many recruiters well over the years. However, as digitisation transforms modern business, some cracks have started to form in these traditional methods. 

In order to stay ahead, recruitment companies need to adopt a more cohesive strategy. Adele Last, the director of Career Lasso recently shared her insights on creating this strategy at a Captains Table event.

By connecting digital marketing and sales departments, your team can “warm up” leads before any calls are made. With a foundation of data and awareness, your lead generation strategy will be designed to make conversions faster. 

The problem with cold calls 

As with any major change, shifting away from cold calling can be intimidating. However, looking at the downsides of this outdated practice should be all the encouragement you need to take that risk. 

Many companies are continuing to use cold calls as the backbone of their lead generation and sales strategy, even though they are: 

  • Out of date – Customers are expecting a more sophisticated buyer experience that engages with them in a fresh way
  • Highly specialised – Successful cold calls are a challenging feat to pull off, and many new hires will not have the skills to make them work
  • Expensive – With an average 2% success rate, getting results through cold calling takes lots of time, leading to a low ROI
  • Seen as” dodgy” – Sales calls without precedent can come across as disingenuous, and create a bad reputation for your brand

Finding a new way to cultivate leads is key to creating and maintaining a competitive edge. That’s where digital marketing can make an impact.  

Achieving marketing and sales synergy 

“The concept of picking up the phone and asking for business is as old as our industry and sales ends up doing all the heavy lifting,” Adele said. 

This doesn’t have to be the case. Your sales team isn’t operating within a vacuum. 

For many companies in the recruitment industry and beyond, marketing and sales are seen as separate entities without much crossover. This is a huge missed opportunity. Without an understanding of what the other department is doing, you will be left with sales teams working harder than they need to, and marketing teams creating content that doesn’t align with your brand. 

In order to move past cold calls and find leads that are warmly anticipating your pitch, you need to have synergy with marketing. This is illustrated well by looking at the traditional sales funnel. At the top, collecting the most people is awareness. This is the first time that a client has heard about your company and the initial research they put in. 

When you have digital marketing materials that tie into your sales and wider organisation, they can handle the awareness phase effectively. Ideally, they will move leads into the sales phase already saying “I’ve heard of you. I might be interested. Can I get a quote?” 

With this energy shift, the pitches that your sales team would usually use in a cold call are met with anticipation. The job becomes exponentially easier and more effective. 

To fully integrate your marketing and sales teams, you need to understand and address a few core challenges. 

Challenge #1: Lack of connection 

When your marketing department doesn’t fully understand the inner workings of recruitment, they will have difficulty presenting it in a meaningful way. When a new marketer joins your team, take time to immerse them in the work across your company. 

This may be uncomfortable for marketers, but only once they understand the process of recruiting, and experience what it’s like to make a deal, will they be able to impactfully market your brand. 

Challenge #2: Marketing a service 

Many of the traditional forms of marketing are difficult to use for a service. For example, if you’re attracting customers to a new restaurant you can use photos of the food and most of the work is done for you. 

However, when you’re marketing recruitment services, there isn’t an easy image that can communicate the value you’re bringing clients. This makes the basic function of marketing significantly more complex. 

Challenge #3: The dual customer 

Recruitment agencies have a unique challenge because they need to attract two very different groups of people. You will need both clients and candidates to find and trust your company. 

When a marketing team puts more emphasis on one side or another, you’ll have trouble sustaining the business. Your team needs to have a lead generation plan to reach both. 

Common lead generation mistakes 

When companies launch an email marketing campaign, they usually have enough automation in place to put the name of the person receiving the email on top. This is a great first step, but still leaves a lot of room for improvement. 

If you want your marketing to attract qualified leads and make the job of your sales team easier, there are several common issues you’ll want to avoid. 

  • Generic openings – As soon as you use phrases like “I hope this email finds you well,” your target audience has checked out. Look for something more engaging that fits your brand image.
  • Overly long emails 53% of total online traffic is mobile. This means your emails are more than likely going to be seen on a phone screen, which means lots of scrolling to get to the point. 
  • Excessive “I” statements – Phrases like “I understand” or “I’m excited” may feel approachable, but they turn the focus onto you and away from what the client can gain.
  • Unclear messaging – Readers should understand who you are and what you’re offering from a quick scan of the email.

When you move away from these mistakes, you’re able to engage with clients in a sophisticated way and build trust and engagement organically. 

Modern marketing tools 

The reliance on cold calling is indicative of a large issue in the recruitment industry. Many of our systems and tools are out of date, making things difficult and ineffective. 

These are some of the tools you can use to bolster your digital marketing and sales strategy and ensure your leads are as warm as they can be. 

  • Calendar scheduling – Allow clients to easily book appointments with you online (e.g. Calendly). 
  • Contact verification – Instantly find out if contact information is correct, and find emails and numbers for specific leads (e.g. Hunter IO and Signal Hire).
  • Chatbots – Automatically answer frequent questions from potential clients, while gathering information on what pages they visit on your website 
  • Recruitment marketing software – Easily find candidates based on demographics, search history, and more
  • Scheduled social media – Create and schedule all your social media posts in advance, freeing up time while still posting consistently (e.g. Hootsuite, Buffer).
  • Email automation – Set up drip campaigns that are tailored to individual leads and automatically react to their engagement (e.g. Active Campaign, Constant Contact).

Bringing AI and automation into your business is vital to keeping a competitive edge. The key is giving these tools time to work. You won’t get results from a six-month email campaign right away. Take your time and see what works best for your team. 

The art of warm calling 

By focusing on these advanced marketing tools and techniques, you can transform your sales strategy entirely. Before anyone on your sales team picks up a phone, your marketing team will have laid the groundwork for fast and seamless conversions. 

A good sales representative will be great at forming relationships with clients that last. This becomes far easier when you know everyone on your list of calls has context for your company, and has shown interest in the past. They will start the conversation with a mutual understanding, and have data from previous interactions to guide the process. 

These “warm” calls won’t only lead to more conversions, but will take the strain of cold calls away from your team. This leads to more job satisfaction, and less employee burn out. You can practically guarantee that sales representatives are giving their time and energy to valuable leads. 

Recruitment sales best practices 

As you work to create a marketing and sales process that brings warm leads into focus, it’s important to keep your sales strategy sharp. Even with the work of awareness done beforehand, your pitch needs to be client-ready. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your sales team ready. 

Tip #1: Find pitch experts 

Putting rookies on the front lines of pitching to clients is doing more harm to your business than good. Initial contact with potential customers is challenging, even with the strategies discussed here. Find the experts within your ranks and focus on getting them out in front. 

Tip #2: Streamline and automate 

Automation is one of the most powerful tools available to any business. By taking away mundane and repetitive tasks you eliminate human error and free up your team to focus on more valuable tasks. 

Start by looking at your process and finding one thing that can be improved with automation. This could be an email drip campaign, customer data analysis, or even a chatbot to handle simple inquiries. 

Tip #3: Practice makes perfect 

When you practise your sales skills on potential clients, you end up burning bridges rather than building them. Take time to run your pitch in the mirror, or practise with team members. 

This kind of continual practice can be daunting, but it’s the only way to hone your team’s skills and make an impact on the calls you get coming in. 

 Tip #4: Customer centricity 

Perhaps the most important element of both sales and marketing – customer centricity – is easier said than done. It’s tempting to focus on the things we offer as recruiters. Our pitches are full of ways we outperform the competition. 

However, potential clients aren’t necessarily interested in you. They have their own challenges and pain points. The goal should be to tell people what you can do for them. Focus on the facts and statistics that show them how you make life easier. 

In conclusion 

Modern customers expect sophisticated sales strategies. Extending your marketing phase before cold calls allows you to collect data on potential customers, introduce them to your value proposition, and find the leads that are most likely to convert. At the Captains Table event, Adele stressed this point. “Cold calling is dead because you need to do a whole lot of work before you pick up the phone.” By integrating digital marketing into your lead generation strategy, you can ensure every call your sales team makes is hot.

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