Up there with a call enquiring after that recent accident you didn’t have, could cold calling be better pursued through other avenues?

Hubspot suggest it’s an evil that now fails to engage with nine out of ten decision makers, with further research suggesting there’s a 1% chance of actually securing a meeting from a cold call.

The phone will always remain the most important tool in a recruiter’s arsenal as relationships are built from conversations, not from social selling, inmails, or email campaigns. Or, at least, not alone.

With so much information freely available on businesses, and people’s social footprints stamped for all to see, it’s imperative you do your research before you make a call.

It’s the difference between making 100 calls with little success or 20 calls with a high conversion. One’s a lot more efficient and scalable.

Cold calling may have traditionally been a numbers game, or a necessary fishing exercise. One that relied on enough calls being made to solicit a return on investment, but, a well placed call supported by some research delivers far better returns.

Agencies that breakdown their KPIs need to shelve the idea that pouring more into the pot will automatically deliver better returns. They likely will, but that doesn’t mean more wouldn’t be gained by breaking down the reasons behind why those calls were so successful.

Hopefully agencies are focusing on the work that’s done before the call is made to warrant why it’s being made in the first place.


Know why you’re calling

Targeted outreach means recruiters can use data to determine whether who they’re calling would likely invite a call from them.

There’s no excuse for a cold call that then asks who the decision maker is, or whether they have need of your services. You should know who you’re calling and why it’s in their interest. They don’t need to justify their need for your call.

Whether it’s via LinkedIn, legacy data in your CRM, Companies House, social media footsteps, Google Analytics, or any number of other data points; you can build a picture of who you’re calling.

As Sonovate is a financier for recruitment agencies placing contractors, there are plenty of data points that are useful to us.

  • The age of the agency
  • The size of the business
  • The sector they specialise in
  • Whether they are looking to review factoring providers
  • The age of that contract
  • The health of their market
  • And ultimately, their need for a call.

Before we make that introductory call we’ve collated this data and provided our team with enough information to support their negotiation and handle objections.

Simply logging the information you’ve collected on candidates, from salary surveys to using your ATS systems efficiently, goes a long way.

It all helps to create a more holistic view of what an individual is about before we make a phone call. It’s why we now sign-up more clients than all our competition, almost combined, a month.

Ten recruitment KPIs you need to know

Introductory calls are a science

A baptism of fire into cold calling with a rap sheet of questions to hand is unlikely to deliver the results you want.

In the same way you can’t pick up a pen and suddenly become a professional copywriter on your job ads, picking up the phone and expecting to be a silver tongued negotiator is probably not going to happen.

They’re both a skill that will benefit from the right training.


When cold calling goes cold

How are these contacts being recycled into your marketing campaigns?

  • Have they shown interest or engagement with your brand and its content?
  • Are you tracking their engagement or lack of and how are you then selling to them?
  • If an introductory call didn’t work how are you then building the relationship?
  • What’s the open rate and engagement on emails?
  • Are you present and active in their social media?

Recruiters are missing a trick by attempting, on average, to engage twice with a potential prospect before moving on. Engagement has evolved to become a continual process, a conversation that is built up over multiple touch points.

The internet should have sounded the death knell for cold calling, as even the slightest of searches will throw up a Google handprint on the person you’re calling and suggest enough touch points to get the conversation started.

Never, ever, apologise for taking up their time, because you should know that this call is in their interest.


This article was originally published on June 7, 2016 and updated Mar 19, 2018