7 Effective Strategies to Generate Sales Leads Without Cold Calling (2024)

Cold calling is one of the original sales techniques, and many businesses still rely on it for growth.

It’s practical, effective, and direct.

However, it’s not always the right strategy, and if cold calls are still the backbone of your sales strategy, you’re missing out on opportunities.

There’s a wide variety of ways to get in touch with well-qualified prospects for your business.

Most will require time and resource investment into a new channel, so you need to be ready to let go of your attachment to cold calling (at least for a short amount of time!).

Most of these strategies go hand-in-hand with cold calling, and just because you’re trying them, your sales team can keep dialing.

Let’s jump into the article.

Is Cold Calling Failing Your Sales Team?

If you’re here, it’s because your cold calling program isn’t working as well as you want it to, and you’re looking for good alternatives.

80% of buyers prefer to be contacted over email than a call, and cold calling can leave a bad taste in some buyers’ mouths.

It’s also not a very efficient use of time, as you can’t automate or delegate calls with prospects, and 80% of calls go straight to voicemail.

That’s why more and more sales teams are looking to diversify their sales strategies, and invest in new sales and marketing tactics to drive qualified leads to their product or service.

Let’s take a look at them.

Best Strategies to Generate Sales Leads Without Cold Calling

1. Save Time With Cold Emailing

After cold calling, the obvious first step is to use cold email.

Like cold calling, an email will get your message directly to your prospect and is a direct line of communication.

Setting up a cold email campaign is relatively simple, and you can speed things up by automating parts of the process, such as:

  • Sourcing contact data
  • Write compelling email templates
  • Scheduling automatic follow-ups

You might be wondering how you can get the email address of key decision-makers.

It’s simple. You can use a tool like DemandScience to access the contact data of 41+ million business decision-makers.

Once you have your contact data, you can use a cold email tool to send your emails out at scale and contact many more decision-makers than you would be able to over the phone.

With that said, you should always remember that the best cold emails are going to be personalized and highly relevant to your prospect, so don’t rely too heavily on automation or using templates.

Remember, you need to comply with any relevant laws around email marketing in your location, such as the GDPR or CAN-SPAM Act.

2. Use Content Marketing to Generate Inbound Leads

91% of B2B marketers use content marketing, and if you’re not already investing in content, it’s time to rethink your marketing budget allocation.

When your prospects have a problem, they’ll ask a coworker or head straight to Google. From there, they’ll find content that helps solve their problem. In essence, that’s what content marketing is all about.

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Rather than having to reach out directly to prospects like you do with cold emailing and cold calling, content marketing helps bring them to you.

You can also use content marketing hand-in-hand with cold calling as part of an Account-Based Marketing campaign.

If you create content focused on your customer pain points, questions, and interests, within a few months, you’ll have a steady stream of qualified visitors to your site. From there, you can show them what you do, and why they should trust you.

3. Referral Marketing

Word of mouth and referrals are compelling influences on purchase decisions.

Word of mouth is the driving factor behind an estimated 20-50% of purchase decisions.

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You need to be encouraging your happy customers to spread the word to their friends, coworkers, and anyone else in their network who would be interested in your solution.

There are a few ways to do referral marketing.

You can build it into your product or service to encourage virality.

Dropbox is an excellent example of this. In their early days, their referral program was an important lever for growth.

Every existing user who referred a new customer to Dropbox received an extra amount of free storage. Because their users loved their product and saw the value in getting more storage, they were happy to refer their friends.

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It was so successful, they’re still running their referral program today.

Of course, you might not have a product like Dropbox, but you may still be able to think of an add-on or benefit your customers could receive for referring others.

Another way to increase your referrals is by providing an exceptional solution and customer service.

Superhuman, a popular VC-backed startup, has grown through word-of-mouth in Silicon Valley and across the world, simply because their product (an email client) does what it’s supposed to in a way that users love.

There are no quick hacks or secrets to increasing how many referrals you receive, but you should always start by having a product or service that your customers love.

4. Meet Qualified Prospects by Attending Events

Another way to generate leads without picking up the phone is by regularly attending industry and networking events.

This does mean you’ll have to speak to people (just like cold calling), but you won’t feel the pressure to stick to a script or to grab their attention.

Many businesses attend conferences to discover new vendors and future partners, so it’s the perfect opportunity to dust off your business cards and make valuable connections.

If you’re looking for industry events, there are hundreds of blog posts and directories out there that list conferences by industry and theme.

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If you’re attending a large conference, attendee and speaker lists are often published in advance, so you can do some prospecting and see if there’s anyone you’d like to arrange a meeting with beforehand.

If you’re looking for something smaller and more local, consider looking for local events on sites like Meetup and Eventbrite. If there are business groups or organizations like startup accelerators in your area, they’ll likely host or advertise relevant business events too.

5. Build Your Brand With Social Selling

Social selling is, admittedly, a bit of a buzzword. That said, you should probably be doing it.

According to Hootsuite, social selling is “the art of using social media to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects.”

You can compare it to attending events and conferences, as you can make valuable connections and promote your business, but all from the comfort of your desk chair.

But, where should you be engaging in social selling?

Some of the most popular places for marketers and salespeople to connect with potential customers and partners are places like:

  • Niche Facebook groups
  • LinkedIn
  • Slack communities
  • Twitter

However, it’s not just a matter of jumping into conversations by pitching your company to others.

Engage in real, thoughtful conversations. Help others. Provide value. If you do that, you’ll build genuine connections, and those who engage with you will trust you far more than if you’d led with a sales pitch.

6. Have a Presence in Directories

Another effective way to drive leads to your business without cold calling is by taking advantage of directories.

Popular directories like Capterra and G2 are the perfect place to get your product or service listed and ensure it gets seen by potential buyers.

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These directories are often pay-to-play, as you’ll have to spend money to get your brand shown in the most visible positions. However, most allow for organic listings, which simply means you’ll be listed below paid listings.

If you’re in a competitive niche, things might get pricey, but the advantage is that leads coming from directories should be well qualified.

After all, they’re actively using these directories to search for solutions that solve problems they’re having.

If your company profile looks good, contains all the relevant information, as well as customer testimonials, directories can be a fantastic source of inbound leads.

With these services, the cost of submitting is usually relatively low. Within 20 minutes you can have a profile published, and once it’s there, it’s not going anywhere.

7. Convert Your Audience Into Customers With Lead Nurturing

If you’re already running sales and marketing campaigns, you’ll have an email list of leads who haven’t yet purchased from you.

You need to be nurturing those leads. You can send your leads highly relevant, informational emails that educate them about your solution, and highlight key benefits.

Campaign Monitor found that marketers using segmented campaigns like this see up to a 760% increase in revenue compared to those who don’t.

If you want to generate more leads without picking up the phone, you need to be investing efforts into converting existing leads and subscribers into paying customers.

Don’t be too pushy, and above all, provide value to them.

Wrapping Up

If you’re tired of cold calling, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Cold calling is an effective lead generation strategy. Still, if you focus on it too heavily, you’re going to be missing out on other effective lead generation channels that may be as, or more effective.

The strategies we’ve included in this article are all proven to work for businesses big and small.

If you’re looking to grow, then we’d recommend trying out all of these strategies.

Some of them, like cold emailing and content marketing, will require a relatively significant time investment initially.

Others, like getting listed on relevant directories, will take you 20 minutes or less, and the payoffs can make that more than worth it.

That said, cold calling can still be a viable strategy, as long as you have access to accurate B2B data. If you’re looking for a way to engage with B2B buyers, contact DemandScience today.

7 Effective Strategies to Generate Sales Leads Without Cold Calling (2024)


7 Effective Strategies to Generate Sales Leads Without Cold Calling? ›

Best Strategies to Generate Sales Leads Without Cold Calling
  1. Save Time With Cold Emailing. ...
  2. Use Content Marketing to Generate Inbound Leads. ...
  3. Referral Marketing. ...
  4. Meet Qualified Prospects by Attending Events. ...
  5. Build Your Brand With Social Selling. ...
  6. Have a Presence in Directories.
May 31, 2022

What can I do instead of cold calling? ›

9 overlooked cold calling alternatives that generate leads
  • Cold calling alternatives that can help your sales team generate leads. ...
  • Using the power of a blog. ...
  • Hosting valuable webinars. ...
  • Expand awareness with social media. ...
  • Membership only content. ...
  • Customer referrals. ...
  • Work with referral partners. ...
  • Networking through events.
Feb 9, 2016

What is more effective than cold calling? ›

While a cold email doesn't allow a rep to control a conversation the way they can when they're on the phone with a prospect, the cold email has a major advantage over the cold call — reps can send out a lot of email in a short span of time.

How do you get leads without cold calling or door knocking? ›

10 Ways to Get Listings Without Cold Calling
  1. Contact Your Sphere.
  2. Re-Engage & Follow Up with Past Clients.
  3. Attend Community Events.
  4. Build Your Social Media Following.
  5. Digital Prospecting with Facebook.
  6. Strengthen Lead Referrals through LinkedIn.
  7. Send Mailers.
  8. Go Door Knocking.

Does cold calling still work in 2022? ›

Moreover, consider this tricky sales approach as a challenge; there's ample opportunity to improve your cold calls and boost the quality of your overall outbound sales process. You can still make cold calling work for you in 2022 and beyond.

Why does cold calling no longer work? ›

The vast majority of buyers don't appreciate or respond to cold calls, which is a primary reason the tactic doesn't work. According to recent studies, 90% of buyers never respond to an unsolicited inquiry and 88% of buyers will have nothing to do with cold callers. 3. It's time consuming and expensive.

Should I cold call or email first? ›

The majority of experts recommended starting with an email. "An initial email usually makes more sense because it doesn't require [the prospect to] answer at the moment they receive it," writes Robert Graham, author of Cold Calling Early Customers. Plus, as others pointed out, you can use an email as a reason to call.

Is it better to cold call or email first? ›

“Studies show that you should send an email first, and then follow up with a call. I always think you should call and leave a voicemail, and let them know you sent an email.” “The call, voicemail, and email need to correlate with each other,” says Scott.

What are the steps in the sales process? ›

Typically, a sales process consists of 5-7 steps: Prospecting, Preparation, Approach, Presentation, Handling objections, Closing, and Follow-up.

How do new agents get listings? ›

8 tips and tricks for getting listings as a new real estate agent
  1. Call everyone you know. ...
  2. Talk about real estate in person. ...
  3. Contact local major developers. ...
  4. Cold call and door-knock. ...
  5. Post about it on social media. ...
  6. Get recommendations. ...
  7. Go to local real estate offices. ...
  8. Invest in yourself.
Apr 19, 2017

How do you get listing leads? ›

Top 9 Ways to Generate Real Estate Seller Leads in 2021
  1. Request Referrals From Past Clients & Your Network. ...
  2. Showcase Your Value on Your Website. ...
  3. Be Active on Social Media. ...
  4. Invest in Lead Generation Software. ...
  5. Target a Farm Area With Direct Mail. ...
  6. Offer a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
Jul 27, 2021

How do you make leads over the phone? ›

Lead generation call center owners – this is your time to learn a few new tricks.
  1. Recognize Your Ideal Buyer. ...
  2. Learn More about Target Audience. ...
  3. Be Respectful of Your Prospect's Time. ...
  4. Always Leave a Voicemail. ...
  5. Perfect Your Sales Opening. ...
  6. Email Follow-Ups Are Essential. ...
  7. Call Your Prospect Again.
Apr 8, 2020

How many calls a day should a salesman make? ›

Each day, sales reps can pick up where they left off and schedule follow-up calls based on their last attempt at contact. They will see who to call and when to call, and they can work efficiently through a list of prospects and expect to reach a goal of 80 to 100 calls per day.

What time is the best time to cold call? ›

Based on that data, the best time to cold call a prospect is between 9 a.m and 4 p.m., with 10 a.m. (15.53%) and 2 p.m. (15.01%) providing the best response times. This makes a lot of sense. People generally are more amenable to calls during core work hours, even if they put work in outside those hours.

What is the future of cold calling? ›

The future of cold calling is warm calling. There are many advantages of warm calling over cold calling. If your sales process still relies on the fact that cold calling is effective, it is time to read this and shift your sales process towards warm calling.

Is cold calling dying? ›

Cold calling is still alive in 2020

Companies just need to be strategic about how it fits into their overall demand generation strategy. Cold calling is still an incredibly effective way to connect with prospects if you stay informed on who your buyers are, how they buy, and how you can solve their problems.

Is cold calling a waste of time? ›

Not only can cold calling be a waste of valuable time for your salespeople, it can actually have a negative effect on your sales opportunities and end up costing you business.

How many times should you cold call someone? ›

On average, sales representatives need to make 6 to 8 phone calls per prospect to have a successful cold call conversion rate. Also, it takes an average of 18 attempts to connect and convert a lead into a qualified opportunity.

What are prospecting techniques? ›

Sales prospecting methods are any way a salesperson conducts outreach to source new leads or engage with existing leads. Effective prospecting methods can vary by sales organization and industry and can include email outreach, social selling, event networking, and warm outreach over the phone.

How many times should you contact a prospect after an introduction? ›

More than once! People often have full inboxes and short attention spans, so always follow-up with a second touchpoint if the first one doesn't garner a response. It's fine to continue reaching out after that too.

How do you reach out to buyers? ›

How to talk to buyers who don't know your business
  1. Make contact like a human being. ...
  2. Have a referral. ...
  3. Make it all about them. ...
  4. Listen twice, speak once. ...
  5. Give and get. ...
  6. Use social proof. ...
  7. Become a trusted advisor. ...
  8. Take the buyer on a journey.
Jul 14, 2016

How many cold emails should I send per day? ›

The rule is to start small (10 - 20 emails per day) and gradually increase your sending volume while keeping an eye on your deliverability and reputation.

What is warm email? ›

A Warm Email can is defined as an email that is sent to someone who has previously engaged with your company. The aim of this strategy is for the customer to be more receptive. A warm email draws the customer's attention to a product or service that he already knows about.

What is a good cold email response rate? ›

Since the average response rate for cold emails is around 1%, good cold email response rates can vary greatly from around 5% for some sales emails to 20% or even over 40%. The higher, the better, of course! For instance, if your response rate is around half of your open rate, then it can be considered good.

What is the new cold calling? ›

"Cold calling" refers to calling a prospect you haven't previously made a connection with before sending them an email or calling them on the phone to talk to them about your product or service.

Is cold calling dead in real estate? ›

Cold calling is a perfectly acceptable form of lead generation in real estate, but you need to understand that trade offs. If your cold calling is coming at the expense of your database marketing, then you are making a mistake.

Do real estate agents have to cold call? ›

Cold calling might be considered a necessary activity for many real estate agents. Most realtors would rather avoid this aspect of the job as getting rejected over the phone numerous times is an exhausting experience, but there are many other methods you can use other than cold calling to get listings.

Is cold calling important? ›

Cold calling makes you learn

You can find out what they think of your product. You can find out anything you want to know. The information you gather during cold calling is important to understand the market. It helps you adapt your product to better serve your prospects' needs.

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