Cold Calling – Miserable For Both Parties

Cold Calling
Cold Calling Sucks

Cold calling just sucks.  Everyone hates it.

Yet, there are still companies our there who push it!


Meet!  They enable cold calling scams!

This week, some guy in his basement made national headlines successfully suing a company who cold called him again and again. The bigger story was how his story went viral. Particularly on LinkedIn where sales people sell to other sales people and customers never tread. His story went viral because everyone, EVERYONE, hates being cold called!

The same day I read that story, I got an email from telling me that using their “sales engagement platform” would result in 329% better ROI on my selling investments.

Wow! Got to check out these SalesLoft guys.

I went to their web site and could not believe educated, grown-ups could make such clearly nonsensical claims, in light of what we all know about selling today. I was more surprised they felt anyone was stupid enough to believe them. Who are their customers?

Then I checked out their financials.

Want to see a real critical thought masterpiece?

These guys are on their D round. They raised $145 million. That means they are likely not even close to profitable. If their stuff is so good, why not use it themselves, get that 329% ROI and keep the dough.

Here, let me do the math for you, dear reader. Take that $145 million, times 3.29 (that is 329%) and our pals at SalesLoft are selling $477 million worth of stuff. Tons of profit there!

But wait! That is not what they are doing. They are probably still not profitable. They are on a D Round! And they are selling to people (like you) who believe that while stuff did not work for them, it will work for YOU!

They must be selling to those who never took Logic 101 where the words “critical thinking” are introduced. After all, if SalesLoft cannot get a 329% ROI on its invested capital, how will you?

Is there anyone (even on LinkedIn) who still believes having a VC-funded army of 20-somethings calling strangers, using DiscoverOrg lists is the right way to “empower authentic relationships?” (SalesLoft web site, really!)

Well, there is. And they work at this wretched company in Atlanta called SalesLoft. And they not only believe this is today’s selling model, they want to automate it for you!

Let’s not pick on these guys alone. They have a dozen or so competitors. They are just the most recent, perhaps the most egregiously nonsensical team promising two things:

1.    If only you could make more cold calls, more quickly, even faking your area code to get the poor prospect to pick up the phone, you would sell a bunch more stuff.

2.   You are so stupid you believe “avoiding SPAM traps” and automated cold calling “empowers authentic conversations throughout the customer life cycle.” (That is actually on their web site – talk about preposterous marketing speak!)

I do not need to make the case that customers/prospects HATE talking to sales people. Nor do I need to make the case that cold calling:

1.    Really sucks for those doing it and those getting the calls.

2.    No longer works in today’s selling environment.

Cold calling cheapens the message of those using it (Read about why the medium is the message.

There is a different case to be made here and our new pals at SalesLoft are going to help us make it over the next several months as we play around with the “sales engagement platform” market.

The question is: If both the caller and the recipient of a cold call both loathe it, why do so many people still do it?

That likely answer is:

There is a VC-invested infrastructure of really stupid, over-funded companies who are dependent on selling YOU cold calling and interruption marketing automation because that is all they have to sell.

That infrastructure includes:

1.    List vendors like DiscoverOrg, Dun & Bradstreet.

2.    A collection of VC-funded “selling, marketing or revenue platforms” like our new pals at SalesLoft.

3.    A bunch of grey haired, overweight 60-something “consultants” who worked for legacy vendors like Compaq, CA or Compuware, never made big dough selling who are going to show the 20-somethings how to do it.

These entities are dinosaurs who have nowhere else to go. They have to sell what they have and what they have is obsolete. But they have enough VC capital to keep them alive until someone finds a way to really sell using SPAM and cold calling. Good luck!

We had so much fun with the nonsensical DevOps companies (Chef, Puppet, XebiaLabs, Perfecto Mobile) who have among them a billion dollars in VC capital, never showing a profit.  They have the nomad CEOs and VPs of Sales and Marketing going from place to place never with a big liquidity event. Bet we find the same character types in the sales enablement market. We’ll see!

After looking at VC-funded DevOps, I did not believe there could be a sector more stupid, with more vacuous marketing, but, HARK, I found one: Sales Engagement!

Where to start?

The most wretched of their sales engagement (read offerings is the “local dialer” where they enable you, the seller, to scam your hapless prospect by making him/her think they are getting that anticipated call from the doctor or dentist because the area code is theirs – but no, it is the SalesLoft-enabled 20-something, with the DiscoverOrg list selling a solution for their digital transformation or whatever.

This is the first step in SalesLoft SPAM automation giving their customer – YOU:

—Stronger relationships

—Better insight into customers

—Generating more revenue

Well, it surely will create a very strong relationship as the pissed off prospect wonders how he or she got a call from some software kid when they were expecting a call from the local area code doctor about that cancer test. That, my friends, creates a memorable relationship.

And “check” it does give some insight into the customer as the prospect immediately hangs up and puts that number on the BLOCKED list. So, that objective is surely something our new pals at deliver.

We did an entire post on this before, so let’s not beat a dead engagement platform here.

The moral of the story should be that if you deliver tools that enable your customer to scam their prospect by faking an area code, that means one has, prima facie, agreed their product is of so little value they needed to resort to fraud marketing. Welcome SalesLoft.

The bigger issue, which we will explore here for the next few weeks is that there is no value automating nonsense. Making your employees do really stupid stuff faster, better, with more graphs and charts is not going to sell more stuff.

You will sell more stuff when you have clear, compelling benefits that can be explained in a single sentence. And if you don’t, automating SPAM and cold calling won’t make it happen.