Sales, Marketing and Communication

Goodbye to cold canvassing. Warm leads are digital

Many of us are familiar with this problem. We are often agitated when a telemarketer calls us out of the blue and robs us of our precious time. Even though we know the person is only doing his job. But in many cases this job should perhaps be done differently? When was the last time you bought something based on a cold canvassing call?

LinkedIn has changed the business playbook in a lot of ways. The phone is still difficult to do without, but it is no longer necessarily the best tool for introducing yourself and your product.

In fact, more and more people leave the phone on their table when it comes to generating new leads, and cold canvassing becomes an increasingly less popular approach in sales.

The Entrepreneur offers five reasons, in this article, why you shouldn’t use cold canvassing:

  1. Cold canvassing takes up people’s most valuable resource – their time.
  2. In recent years, cold calling has been increasingly subjected to “spam”. Machines that automatically call random people and phone scams have become widespread. Unfortunately these rotten apples can’t help but rubbing off on unsolicited sales approaches in general. We are getting so accustomed to spam, also in our e-mails, that we simply refuse to pay attention to this kind of approach.
  3. Again, our time is a limited resource. Many of us prefer that if our workflow is interrupted, it is because of something important. And a sales pitch from a stranger is not important when we are buried in our own work assignments. Phone calls must be as few as possible.
  4. Actual decision makers rarely have five minutes to spare for a sales pitch from a person that they’ve never even heard of.
  5. Cold leads do not convert as high as warm leads. Place 100 cold calls against 100 warm leads generated online through, for instance, content marketing, and the closing rate for warm leads will triumph cold calls almost every single time. When a person comes to you in search of information it creates a warm lead that can be nurtured until it is ready to mature into an actual sale. These people already know who you are, what your company is about and what you are offering, and they would rather speak to you than the guy cold calling out of the blue.

Read more about creating an efficient lead culture for your company here


Social media replaces cold leads with warm ones

LinkedIn has become the world’s biggest tool for sales information, and with this digital platform you don’t even have to make cold calls. And what is cold calls really? They appear out of the blue, without reference, without information, without relationship, without established trust and credibility and without documented qualification. They are just cold.

On the other hand, we have contact through LinkedIn, which is built on references, relationships, recommendations, groups, discussions, sales information and documentation. They are “warm” calls between people – both new and established relationships.

According to LinkedIn, who don’t hide the fact that they are fighting cold sales, traditional cold canvassing has an efficiency rate of merely 3 % on account of insufficient understanding and information about potential leads. However, 75 % of all B2B buyers use social media as an integrated part of their decision process.

LinkedIn emphasizes a call center study from Florida which shows that a phone call that begins by pointing out that both caller and recipient are members of the same LinkedIn groups has a 70 % bigger chance of turning into an actual deal. Mutual contacts, groups and interests are a goldmine for creating warm leads.


How to create warm leads with LinkedIn

One of the most efficient ways to completely avoid making a call and instead use LinkedIn for making contact with potential leads is LinkedIn’s private message application for professional users. It allows people to get to know you on their own terms and in their own time. A well written message can efficiently link you to people and potential business opportunities.

However, this requires that you use LinkedIn with much consideration and strategy. We are all busy, but take the time to get to know LinkedIn. Make a plan so you don’t end up wasting your own time or the time of others with rushed and unprofessional enquiries.

Author and entrepreneur expert Stephen Key offers advice on how to write direct messages in LinkedIn, which have a much greater effect, instead of using cold canvassing:

  1. Flattery works. Find information about the person you are contacting. Understand his or her business and comment on it. For instance, describe how you find a certain aspect of their business inspiring. It doesn’t have to be more than a few words or sentences. This opens the door.
  2. Never send spam. How would you react to an approach from a person who clearly doesn’t know anything about you or your company? Those kinds of approaches appear lazy and unprofessional and they will be deleted.
  3. Keep it short. The recipient doesn’t know you yet, and he or she isn’t interested in your life story. Long preambles only display one thing; that you don’t take the recipient’s time seriously. Instead, you have to try and establish a relationship. Give the person a chance to want to know more about you. Gain their interest.
  4. Keep your profile updated and neat. The first thing your recipient will do is to go through your personal profile page, so of course this must be sharp all the time!
  5. Don’t start with the sale! It is certainly tempting to insert a link into your message where you refer to your company’s webpage or something similar. But don’t do this until you have received the first answer from the recipient. Don’t be impatient. The first step is to build a relationship.
  6. It is a good idea to ask for more information. To ask for the right person or how the company’s processes work is not a bad idea. These are questions that are easy and quick to answer and they illustrate an interest in the organization. Remember that people are in general very helpful.

See our guide for using LinkedIn more strategically and efficient here


The sales call isn’t dead. Far from it. But in certain cases the sales person’s talents may perhaps be exploited better in warm processes instead of cold calls. For instance by using social media such as LinkedIn that can generate a warm introduction to people even before the phone is put to use.



See our videos with Morten Vium from ViumMedia, where he explains how you create and maintain business on LinkedIn and how valuable dialogue can lead to sale.

Morten Vium (1/3) - The 3 most important things on a LinkedIn profile that create business

Also see our videos with Ole Bach Andersen from Newsperience, where he explains LinkedIn as an efficient tool for social selling, indirect and direct sales.

Sales with LinkedIn (1/3) – Field sales with LinkedIn