Telemarketing Software Featured Article

Social Networking Helps 'Pre-Warm' Cold Calls

February 11, 2011
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

“Is cold calling dead?” wonders Ken Murray, co-founder of lead management solutions provider VanillaSoft in a recent blog post. That depends, he says, on who you ask. Some say “yes” and some say “no,” so the truth is probably somewhere in between.

Perhaps with newer tools – such as social media – cold calling need not be dead, but rather turned into “social calling”? Sure, it sounds like something upper-class women in the nineteenth century did, sharing gossip over tea and lemon tarts. But it's a term that is now applied to outbound sales: researching prospects with the help of social and professional networking media in order to “pre-warm” what was once a cold call. Writes Murray, “Today, software companies that used to have laser focus on deploying the best-in-class productivity tools to enable inside sales groups to make more and better contacts are rolling out new social media tools and widgets to enhance a sales person’s ability to gain insight into the prospect prior to the call.”

So where, exactly, do these widgets and tools come from, and what are they? For starters, they can't be bolt-on afterthoughts, says Murray. “You are seeing well thought out applications that allow an inside sales group to have the best of both worlds; high productivity and social insight into prospects,” he writes.

VanillaSoft's most recent release focused on features that allow a sales person to gain insight into who they are calling, the company they are calling, all of the contacts of that company that are in their database and who within their company has reached out to these contacts. It's a way of turning a cold call into something else: a well researched outreach backed up by knowledge.

The important thing, however, it be sure that the social networking feature is an integral part of the product, NOT a separate process or outside solution dressed up to appear like part of the process. Writes Murray, “The technology has simply caught up, allowing platforms like VanillaSoft to make multiple server calls to LinkedIn (News - Alert), and numerous other providers without slowing down the selling process. Additionally, we can display this mission critical data within our own user interface making it a seamless and a natural part of the screen versus an awkward bolt-on or a page to navigate to.”

For example, sales personnel initiating a social call (doing research prior to the call) often use business networking site LinkedIn ( to search the prospect, pull up his or her profile and gather some basic information prior to the call. Lead management platforms and telemarketing software can now provide the ability to use the resources of LinkedIn without ever leaving the productivity of the application. VanillaSoft allows users to click on the LinkedIn widget next to the contact's name, and the solution will then will pull up a sketch of that person's profile, education, employment, past employment, Web site and blog, if that information is available.

So the question remains, is cold calling dead? Maybe not, but increasingly, with the ability to use social networking to quickly and easily “pre-warm” your calls, why would you want to return to cold calling?

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny