Over the past few years, the power of the Internet and online lead generation have really come into their own. With the ability to generate leads from anywhere in the world, you can market what you offer to a massive geographic region and to more people than have ever been available before. While cold calling will most likely always have a place in a sales environment and does still have uses, online lead generation is often a wider reaching and more effective way to both attract new customers and get past customers to buy again.
Selling vs. Helping People Buy
One of the most important aspects of both online lead generation and the sales process in general is that you need to decide whether you are selling or helping people buy. Cold calling does have the benefit of letting people know about a product or service that they may not have thought of, but generating leads online has an equally large advantage. When you generate your leads online, you automatically make your customers feel like they are taking a proactive part in their buying process instead of being "sold to," which is how cold calls often feel on the consumer side.
Unlimited Geographic Reach
The range of a cold call is wherever you can ship a product or deliver a service. However, you often run across a language barrier, time constraints during certain times of the day and the added complications of international calling. By contrast, online lead generation allows you to handle your marketing at any time of the day and night, can be translated into any language with relative ease and imposes only the same geographic limit of delivery as cold calling does. Plus, since websites and email can usually be viewed anywhere a web browser can connect to the Internet, there are none of the hassles typically associated with placing an international call or contracting with a call center.
Goodwill and Overstepping
Often, cold calling has the problem that it appears to be overstepping the bounds of common courtesy. There is an old saying that nobody ever asks for a salesman, and having one appear out of nowhere in a person's phone can be downright annoying. While there are occasions when a cold all can be useful, online lead generation is great because it is more about searching than about simply being contacted. When you put an offering out there and people find it, this builds goodwill as your newly minted customers come to see you as a company that helps solve their problems.
High Tech and Lower Tech
High tech solutions are attractive most of the time, but there are gaps. One of the times when cold calling actually does work is for the small niche of people who have no way of getting on the Internet and have never gotten into the online world. For these people, cold calling is still a good way to get in touch with them and let them know what you have to offer them. For most everyone else, online lead generation is a far more effective way of attracting positive attention and making conversions.
Cold calling can occasionally inform people who don't know what they want. The problem with this is, if someone doesn't know they have a particular pain point it can be an uphill battle to convince them via a phone call. Online lead generation is excellent for helping people who know about their pain points and are actively seeking out solutions online.
Online lead generation will not result in a 100% conversion rate. But it is an excellent avenue of sales to compliment cold calling.