I recently attended a conference where a consulting firm shared some of their research about some attending sales organisations. The information that they revealed made some people gasp (literally) in disbelief. It made others ask questions that made their scepticism known. The study was conducted for a group of clients, and the information was private. But here is what I can share.
Faster Growing Sales Organisations Cold Call
The research that was presented showed that faster growing sales organisations used cold calling as one of their primary methods of prospecting. Their performance was almost a standard deviation above the slower growing organisations that did not use cold calling as one of their primary prospecting methods.
For all of the emphasis on Sales 2.0 and social selling (of which I am a huge proponent), cold calling is still a highly effective form of prospecting.
Related: Six Principles for Cold Calling
But wait; there’s more
Faster Growing Sales Organisations Generate Their Own Leads
The second finding was equally important. The sales people that worked for faster growing sales organisations were responsible for generating their own leads. In this case, it didn’t mean that other lead generation wasn’t used. It meant that the sales people were responsible for building their own prospect list, regardless of whether or not their lead generation efforts were being supplemented by other departments or outsourced solutions.
The real difference was that in the slower growing sales organisations, the sales people were not accountable for generating their own leads.
Advantage: Opportunity Creation
It is important to note here that these results fly in the face of conventional wisdom. Cold calling has fallen out of fashion, and with it the accountability for the sales force to generate leads. But these two activities make up what is a hunter culture.
A sales organisation that has a hunter culture produces more opportunities. Hunters produce more opportunities within their existing client base, and they produce more opportunities through new client acquisition. And growth is found through opportunity creation.
- Does your organisation cold call as part of its prospecting plan?
- Are you responsible for some part of your own lead generation? How much?
- Are you part of a hunter culture?
- A culture that creates and capitalises on opportunities?
- Do you always have enough opportunities to make your number, regardless of whether you lose some of your opportunities?
- What would you have to change to have more of a hunter culture?
A Note to Mid-market Sales Organisations
Small and medium size businesses benefit from building and maintaining a hunter culture. Growth is found through the continuous creation of opportunities, and the velocity of that growth is determined by the ability to create and capitalise on opportunities. As your company grows, there is a place for new tools and new processes. But that doesn’t require that you replace a hunter culture or the activities that build opportunities.