50 time to stop cold calling

You know you want to stop cold calling and scale your business, but the only way to do it, is by digital selling and not headcount!  Fortunately, you can be assured I am writing this article based upon the fact that I started my career cold calling, then management, then running my own technology businesses, instructing my staff to cold call as I had done when I started out, right the way through to where I am now, in consulting, explaining a better way, an alternative way, to generate new business – that 100% does NOT involve cold calling!!!

I take the same approach to everything I do and that is: ‘do it personally’, ‘learn it personally’, ‘pull it apart’ and then explain how and why it works to others.

You will see the above pattern throughout my website. I can say with complete conviction that people must be mad to want to set up in business, especially in B2B, and then expect to succeed by kicking off their businesses by cold calling or worse still, knocking on doors!


1.  No change since the 1950’s

2.  The Business Statistics you can’t ignore

3 .  The madness of direct sales & telesales

4.  Your Total Addressable Market

5.   What about Marketing automation & ABM/ABX

6.   Digital Selling vs National Turnover Statistics

7.   Live Streaming to replace Cold Calling

8.   The Six Step Live Stream Marketing Strategy

9.  Are you an Innovator or a Laggard?

10. Conclusion

1.  No change since the 1950s

There are so many reasons to not do it, so why do so many businesses do it and refuse to change?  I proffer my reasoning; it’s because it requires no thought, firstly on behalf of the telesales or business development representatives (BDR’s), they’re told to do as they’re told!  The business itself does not need to think either.  What could be simpler than to recruit a bunch of inexperienced individuals, who churn at a ‘rate of knots’ and can be replaced at the drop of a hat.

50 1950s fashion cold calling

The cold calling process has not changed since the 1950’s, it starts with knocking on doors to get a complement slip with some details, then to call up the decision maker, get past the gate-keeper, make an appointment, do an appointment, do a demonstration, get the deal, ring the bell! – Trust me, I’ve been there…

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Of course, it gets dressed up by adopting LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator and the BDR’s can then pester their prospects, attempting to get them on to a call or webinar if they’re lucky.

But let’s face it, who in their right mind would adopt a process that has a success rate of 400-1, unless it was either the only option available or anything else was simply too much effort?

Back to Top

2. The Business Statistics you can’t ignore

Here are some statistics to keep in mind as I explain where this is going:

  • 80% of all sales will be made via digital channels by 2025, not direct sales - Gartner
  • 79% prefer video to phone - Gartner
  • 89% believe in sustainable digital GTM - Gartner
  • 41% want more video conferencing - McKinsey
  • 23% want more online Chat - McKinsey
  • 83% Research digitally before engaging with a salesman - Gartner
  • .5% Less than 1% traverse the 'funnel' and create revenue - Forrester
  • 30% of businesses fail in the first year - FT
  • 50% of businesses fail by the second year - FT
  • 70% of businesses fail by the third year - FT
  • 91% of businesses fail by the 10th year - FT
  • 40% of Invested Business Fail - Harvard
  • 80% of Invested Business Fail to achieve their own targets - Harvard
  • 95% of Invested business Fail to achieve an ROI for Investors - Harvard
  • 50% of all business’s failure reasons, are marketing related - CB Insights
  • 1 in 400 Cold call success rates - University of Life, since lockdown
  • B2C marketing strategies do not work for B2B – Says everyone!
  • Stop using automation platforms to replace cold calling - University of Life
  • £100k turnover per person per annum is the norm - BIS
  • Average tenure of CMO's in UK & USA is 18 months - Recruitment Industry + Press + Seth Godin
  • 1% of your total addressable market are looking to buy your type of product or service every week.
Back to Top

3. The Madness of Direct Sales + Telesales

So, to start a business or even considering the future of your business with cold calling in mind is a fruitless, pointless plan, unless you enjoy cracking the whip and making unrealistic demands on telesales people and BDR’s.

Consider how many cold telephone calls you actually, personally take, yes you?  Me, I won’t answer any, not ever, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re the same.  So why should your telesales people or BDR’s have any more success.

The logic of being a well-paid CEO or managing director and basing your future on the consistency of the least qualified people in your business, who constantly churn or have no problem with a success rate of 400-1 because it’s just a job, is madness.

I can only liken a business that is based upon sales + telesales as something like plate-spinning.  If you stop spinning the plates, your business fails.   


Of course, I wouldn’t be saying all this if I didn’t have an alternative to offer.  However, there are various stages to my suggestions and the fact you’re on this website in the first place means you’ll probably seek out the other stages after you’ve read this article.

We both know there is a process to selling technology, SaaS or professional services.  And therefore, firstly your prospects need to know you exist, so let’s start with connecting to your total addressable market (TAM).

Back to Top

4.  What is Your Total Addressable Market

Depending on your product, you will have a sweet spot of customer size.  I tend to look at this as knowing the turnover or company size is an indicator as to their ability to pay, which is always an important factor in all this.

Let’s take a look at just dealing with the UK business sizes:

  • 1-9 Employees 9m
  • 10-49 Employees 212,000
  • 50-249 Employees 36,000
  • 250+ Employees 8,000

Now let’s say you want to approach all businesses that have 50 employees or more which equates to 44,000.  Let’s also say for the sake of this example you could sell to ALL of them.  Based upon the above statistics, 1% are in the market ‘this week’, that equates to 440 companies you could approach, but you need to find them first – a needle in a haystack, yes?

This is not the reason for the 400-1 success rate of current day cold calling, that’s based upon a gate keeper telling you the person you want is now working from home and they can’t give you their personal mobile number as well as 101 other reasons and excuses!

Even if you did know that a company were looking to buy your type of product, LinkedIn research found an average of 6.8 people in the B2B buying committee and a Clari study (the RevOps people) found that deals over $100K require 19 meetings with 14 different stakeholders. 

So, this is not getting any easier.  Just think about the logistics in attempting to connect with 44,000 businesses and catching them at the right time.  Even if you have the greatest product in the world and they could really benefit from it, it still comes back to the same old problem and letting them know you actually exist, and you can help them in the way they work.

Back to Top

5.  What about Marketing Automation & ABM/ABX?

Let’s not forget the whole Account Based Marketing (ABM) and the recently termed Account Based Experience (ABX).  However, this is more SaaS technology businesses are being told to adopt, on top of marketing automation.

Marketing Automation works well, within B2C.  It makes perfect sense.  A consumer is interested in something from a pair of trainers to perfume to a car.  They like the brand, they follow it, are influenced by social media ‘influencers’ and are happy to give the brand their email address, in the knowledge they’ll probably never be cold called.   This seemed like a great idea to put a value on content and therefore to digitise the cold calling process, i.e., to obtain the digital equivalent of a complement slip with the name and address of someone who might be interested.

Sadly, this has not proved to be the case.  On paper it looks great, sounds great and everyone in B2B bought into it because of pressure by CMO’s and Big Tech.  They both said, “if you want your business to thrive, you have no choice”.  Fast forward a few years and the CMO’s who convinced CEOs to invest is the Mar-Tech stack are constantly churning every eighteen months from job to job because the CEOs are saying “this is supposed to be working” and the CMO’s or senior marketers see the writing on the wall and leave before they’re pushed.

This is made even more difficult because the recruitment companies, who are abundantly aware that their bread-and-butter is in the constant churn of marketing personnel, keep cutting and pasting the marketing job descriptions to compile evermore ridiculous demands on individuals who have never flipped a business 10x or 50x taking business from £1m to 50m, I mean come one, who writes this stuff.  Does anyone really think there are marketers out there who can flip a business by millions, and they’ll work for a measly £90k.

Back to Top

6.  Digital Selling vs National Turnover Staistics

Back to reality – all you want is to reach your total addressable market in the most professional way at, preferably, the lowest possible cost.  This is where it gets interesting.

Firstly, you need to grasp what digital selling is – and what it is not.  It is not ecommerce.  Digital selling is about creating or rather transposing your existing sales process to a digital one.  That means converting everything you have done in the past to make it accessible on your website. 

Think of it as digitising your best sales person and your best presentations and your best arguments and answering every question or objection you’ve ever received and uploading it to your website, making it available 24/7 – 365 days a year and only needing to talk to prospects when they wanted to talk to you, yet they’re able to research, learn, enquire, buy and get support, all without needing one of your employees to intervene.  Get this right and you can scale up to your hearts’ content.

But remember, you cannot scale your business if you expect to rely on a one-to-one sales process, starting with cold telesales and then moving to the actual sales processes your sales teams engage in every day of the week.  To expand on an earlier statistic.  The average turnover per person per annum is about £100k.  (£80k from about 10 staff to £160k for 50 staff and above).  Therefore, if your financial model is based upon people to processes and, one-to-one selling, you will never traverse this calculation, especially as this is an average that’s been used for years.

To put this into context; Google achieve $1.5m per person per annum and I don’t get any cold calls from them, nor Apple, nor Microsoft, nor Amazon, nor Tesla etc., etc.

turnover per head

You can’t fudge the numbers, 1+1=2.  The only way to scale up and increase turnover is to reach more people and even if you do have deep pockets, you’ve spent long enough in business to know not to blow it on 400-1 shots.  The money is better spent on a nice holiday or boat or your spouse!

There is a lot of information how to do this on this website and all of it is accessible without you giving us your email address.  We both know, if you like us and what we’ve done, you’ll contact us if you need to, and when you’re good and ready.

Returning to your TAM and the numbers.  If it was 44,000 and therefore 440 were possibly looking each week.  And say 10 people watched your live stream from your TAM, then you will have achieved more success in one week than more than ten telesales people and you get to record the content and create a podcasts and written content which would stay on your website for however long. 

Finally, because of the content being digital, Google would start referencing your content in Search.  Bearing in mind, the 400-1 doesn’t necessarily mean they would want to do anything, that’s just finding someone who’s interested.

Live streaming to replace telesales or cold calling is only one aspect of adopting digital selling, but it is the first step.  I suggest you pull this apart and analyse the results you’re currently getting compared to what the possibilities would be by changing to live streaming. 

Back to Top

7.  Live Streaming to Replace Cold Calling

I hope you’ll agree, there is no possible way to reach your total addressable audience based upon a one-to-one connection.  You cannot scale your business via headcount; therefore, the most financially viable approach is to adopt a one-to-many strategy.  And that’s where live streaming comes in.

Don’t be confused with any other social media interaction, e.g., Twitter; if your target audience is either not on Twitter or does not follow you or does not spend countless hours scrolling down their news feed because they’re bored, they will never find you and neither will you ever be able to connect with them.

As you’ll see, you need to be targeted, by informing your audience direct, along with a caveat that you’re not stalking them and telling them they can dip in a look at you and learn form you anonymously.  They, you and I, know we can get in touch with a prospective supplier if we feel they can deliver what we need, so we don’t need someone pestering us as if we don’t know how to run our businesses.

livestream article ad

To get started with live streaming, first you need some space and some equipment.  For more information about the equipment click on our page Live Streaming for Digital Selling

  • Designate an area of your office to be used as a live streaming studio. Probably easier now that more people are working from home.
  • Set up multiple cameras, lights, green screens and microphones
  • Create motion graphic templates for the opening and closing sequences and lower third titles for the presenters (Look at the low-cost templates on https://envato.com )
  • Create a weekly series, planning the subjects in advance (say 8-12 weeks?)
  • Use members of the sales team as the presenters
  • Get all team members trained up and confident with the technology before going live

Your live streaming technology costs very little, two or three cameras etc would cost anything from a few hundred pounds each to sky’s the limit.  The resources needed to deliver a live show each week is minimal.

Whilst I can do everything myself, it would not take too long before you would have comparably trained staff.  We offer a Content & Live Streaming workshop to help get your existing team started.

Bottom line, a handful of staff could reach your TAM in a more successful way than you could have ever dreamt of.

Back to Top

8.  The Six Step Live Streaming Marketing Strategy

Step One        

Get your CRM set up to include filters for groups, segmented to identify your different channels.

Step Two

Purchase new contact data that matches your TAM nationally by region/postcode, including the relevant email address of your decision maker and import to the CRM.

Step Three

Upload the same contact data to LinkedIn and set up a banner campaign to ‘broadcast’ your new live show, to appear only to the corresponding email addresses LinkedIn has.  Change the banners as frequently as it suits you in line with the shows.

Step Four

Email the new CRM data every week, inviting them to watch your new live stream series, confirming they can ask questions anonymously.  Prepare approximately six emails, six to eight weeks before your first show to tell them it’s coming, it’s coming.

Your weekly emails are to inform your TAM of what you talked about the previous week and what you’re planning to talk about the following week. Informing them of your guests, features and so on.  They will know if they want to take a look.

Step Four

Create multiple adverts (120) to auto-post using https://smarterqueue.com , to appear on social media, LinkedIn Groups, Company Pages and User Accounts and Facebook, four times a day for a month and then repeat for up to 18 months. This is set-and-forget-marketing!

Step Five

Transpose all Live Shows into podcasts and publish accordingly.  You do not know if your TAM prefers to watch live or listen on their way to work, on their mobile or on the smart speakers at home.

Step Six

Transcribe the live shows and include the written content with both the live stream video recording and the podcast recording and ensure you have Schema Structured Data set up correctly on your website.

Back to Top

9.  Are you an Innovator or Laggard

There is another point and that is being an innovator in your industry.  Do you want to wait and just be an early adopter or perhaps part of the early majority?  Only your determination for the success of your business will tell you what to do.

If you consider the use of webinars.  Some people believe this is a high point of technology usage.  Getting a prospect onto a webinar or getting them to attend an online seminar.  In truth, they think of these in the same way you do, i.e., dull, boring and no different to a salesperson trying to get in front of a prospect and dressing it up, somehow!

Webinars and seminars are rarely presented by professionals and also carry the expectation that the salesperson is going to try and close them on the day.  Furthermore, in the same way that cold calling is supposedly a cheap way to get new business, webinars are equally as cheap as they only require a Zoom subscription, the ‘technology’ is the web cam that is inconveniently positioned to look up the noses of the presenter and audience.

At this point is this article you already know what you’re going to do and how you’re going to beat your competition, so bon chance!

50 Tech adoption curve

Back to Top

10.  Conclusion

There is a great deal of confusion in the B2B marketplace simply because the players have gotten away with making plenty of money because they make the most noise.  The trouble is, they can’t prove the technology works and when they try to make a convincing pitch, they do so by using second, third of fourth-hand examples.

My advice is to take back your business. Take back the decision making when it comes to marketing and demand your marketers do as they’re told and follow your instructions. Unless of course they absolutely prove on a regular basis that their strategies are working and you’re achieving a higher average revenue per person per annum than the rest of your industry.

This website provides all the information you need to implement digital selling.  It doesn’t need to be dome overnight, but in parallel with your existing marketing.  As the digital selling component and profitability increases, the older marketing strategy will decrease.

If you want to involve us, the details are below: -


Back to Top


Go to our Digital Selling pages to see how you can change the way you work and scale up your business.

Learn about digital selling
The salesXchange Logo

0800 970 9751