Which approach would you be most open to if a sales rep was to engage you for the first time?

Cold call13%

Cold email57%

Message on social (e.g. LinkedIn)25%

Other (pls comment 👇)4%


10k views2 Upvotes30 Comments

Director, Information Security Engineering and Operations in Manufacturing, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
I would rather they never contact me.

I don't expect my local grocery store employees to call me and ask if I need milk. When I need milk, I will ask if they have milk.

Sales people are unnecessary.
Director in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Referral from a trusted colleague that uses that vendor

If you can convince one of my colleagues to tell me I should take your call I probably would accept the call even if I wasn’t in the market

I won’t even pick up a call from an unknown number even if a transfer from the front desk
21 5 Replies
Director of The Digital Workplace in Software, 201 - 500 employees

100% on this

Chief Executive Officer in Software, 51 - 200 employees

Referral works and build trusted and long lasting relationship in business.

Managing Partner, Partnerships & Strategy in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees

I agree. We've grown our company on referrals. On the occasion I get a cold call or email for a product that's somewhat interesting, I end up researching it myself (G2, Capterra etc for software) or asking my network.

VP of IT in Media, 10,001+ employees
Send me a succinct one page value proposition.
Director of IT in Construction, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Honestly anything by a cold call. When you spend 75% of your day in meetings and 25% just trying to get some work done, while trying to fend off the large number of inquiries by email/chat, I find cold calls to be extremely annoying.
5 2 Replies
Senior Information Security Manager in Software, 501 - 1,000 employees

And of the calls for a 'brief 15-minute meeting to introduce our solution' from vendors that I have accepted, none of them stuck to their 15-minutes, and send over 30 minutes - 1-hour invitations.

Managing Partner, Partnerships & Strategy in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees

I agree! That said, I do take cold calls occasionally just for kicks. 

Director, Information Security in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Email would be the top
Cold call would be so far from my preference it usually leaves a negative impression. Between cold calls and robocalls my phone goes off every 30-45 minutes, forcing me to set myself as busy most of the day and ignoring most calls. I get them right before lunch or right before the end of the day and I can tell you, when I’m trying to go eat or finish up the last thing I want is to spend time trying to explain how I’m not interested. There’s also the cases where calls aren’t my area and the person seemingly expects me to provide lead generation for free by giving contact info of my coworkers. If someone is in sales and reading this, please just never do this. I get there’s a job to be done, but just think of how that comes off.
Senior Director, Defense Programs in Software, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
I think it’s between 35-45% of people say they never want to hear from a sales person, but a majority later regret their buying decision without one. I want someone who understands the value of what they are selling and what that offering means to me, improving my confidence in the buy.

If that’s best done with cold email, social channels, or a call, it could work but customer advocacy in groups and channels I know is likely to work better. Booths, participation in events, speaking engagements, customer keynotes - it is all better than cold messaging.
4 2 Replies
Director, Information Security Engineering and Operations in Manufacturing, 5,001 - 10,000 employees

Nope. I never regretted not hearing from someone I never asked to hear from. Best example I could give is my mother-in-law, but sales people certainly fall into that category.

Managing Partner, Partnerships & Strategy in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees

😂 what a great thing to read on a Friday

CEO in Software, 2 - 10 employees
I've researched "cold-calling" for a good period for our startup. 
My research results show that cold-calling is still working but is highly dependent on the industry and type of business you target (B2C or B2B).
From a personal experience, every time my phone says "spam risk" or an unknown number, I get very annoyed.

Cold emails are being ignored, deferred, and deleted.

LinkedIn is becoming more annoying as the years' pass, with vendors trying to earn your attention. From our own startup experience, LinkedIn advertising is not cheap and is very hard to "compete" for people's attention due to a massive flood of "marketing" assets. 

Communities like these are what could build the next crowd intelligence re: our best purchasing options. 
Chief Technology Officer in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
The last thing anybody wants is a cold call. Phone calls are intrusive. Nobody is sitting around at their desk thinking, "I wish I had something to do" when a phone call comes in. The caller is actively disturbing the person being called.

What's worse is many cold call salespeople don't communicate well.

It irritates when they say, "Is this a good time?" - look, I've answered the phone, you've got me, make it snappy.

Or, when they ask questions before telling me anything. "What's your security stack?" - why should I tell you this, you random stranger.

Or when they can't articulate their product. I remember one salesguy phoning and telling me they had a SaaS solution and this was important to me because it meant I didn't have to run any servers and blah blah - I had to cut him off and say I know what SaaS is, but what's *your* actual product?

Or, when salespeople don't even know where you are. "We're running fibre optic cable right outside your building" - what, here in Newcastle? "Oh, I thought you were in Sydney."

So cold-calling is a big no for me because (a) it's an intrusion on what I'm focusing on, and (b) the great bulk of salespeople don't even know what their product is, how to describe it, what I do, where I am, or have anything much of value to say.
Director of IT in Software, 201 - 500 employees
I've almost never bought anything that was advertised via cold email or cold call.
If I need a solution from a vendor I will reach out to them, If I have difficulties identifying vendors for a business problem, I will reach out to our partners or IT professionals that I trust for advice, I will certainly not buy something just because someone read a script on the phone
Chief Technology Officer and Chief Information Officer, Self-employed
None of above! Online presence is enough for me to find a tool, solution, or service that I need. There were way too many cold emails and calls. I rarely read those and almost never reply. If I did, it would make another full time job for me.

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