Depending on the camp, it seems as if every B2B sales channel is dead for SDRs.
Cold calls? Cold emails? Social? Inbound?
If you ask enough sales professionals, you’d think every channel is dead on arrival.
But what does it really mean to be a dead channel?
With more content creators and thought leaders in the business world than ever before, it’s hard to separate noise from wisdom as sellers navigate what advice should influence their thinking.
Let’s take a step back and look at what’s really going on when the sales community compares the performance of competing sales channels.
Channels Don’t Die, They Get Overused
A sales channel is just a medium of communication that sellers use to connect with buyers.
If you were the only seller in the world using a channel where your buyers are found, you’d likely have an easy time breaking through the noise because there is none (other than you)!
However if every seller on Earth used the same channel to connect with buyers, then it’d be much harder to stick out, get noticed, and win against others competing on that channel.
When people call a channel dead, they’re really saying that it didn’t meet their expectations when they attempted to use it for whatever unique situation they were facing.
The reality is that the performance of any strategy, approach, or channel in sales is dependent on two things: how buyers react & how commonly it’s used by other sellers around you.
Between 2010 – 2016, cold email grew to be so effective and scalable that (nearly) anyone targeting a solid persona could generate meetings with automated, templated messaging.
However, everything started changing as more marketers & sellers used the email channel:
- Increasingly Sophisticated Spam Filters
- More Blacklists & Sender Reputation Penalties
- Buyer Adoption of Spam Removal & Email Categorizing Tools
- Inbox Features & Accessibility to Ignore & Remove Emails
As the community of sellers using the email channel grew to a massive size, buyers became overwhelmed, numb, and more intentional about the time they spent with outbound emails.
Cold email didn’t die, it was overused by the community as it grew more popular and caused buyers to react differently. The bar was raised.
All channels are being effectively used by someone. However, the number of sellers using a sales channel will impact whether it’s harder or easier to generate results on it.
It’s Who You Target
Regardless of whether a channel is emerging, trending, or overflowing with sellers, the most important factor in performance will always be your buyers.
Even the highest-performing channel does nothing for you if the people you’re targeting don’t use it or won’t engage.
Remember, channels are just a medium to use in communicating with buyers.
When people claim a channel is dead, the quarrel is really about their target list not reacting the way they expected on the channel.
However, there are two layers here: who you actually target and what information you know about these people, personas, and companies.
If you’re not targeting the right qualified buyers for your situation, then it’s unlikely you’ll create positive reactions and relevant conversations on any channel.
Even if you have the right list, you’ll struggle to generate results if you don’t understand how to reach out to these buyers.
Before you can effective use any channel, you must have a deep understanding of who you’re reaching, how they use the channel, and what expectations they have for sales conversations.
It’s How You Use the Channel
In cold calling, one off-tone or mispronounced word can be the difference between a meeting landed and a rejected conversation.
In cold email, your terminology and length of your message can be the difference between a new sales conversation and an unopened email.
Without the right best practices and testing, any channel can seem ineffective.
When people say a channel is dead, they’re really admitting that their current approaches aren’t allowing them to compete against others on the channel.
How you use a channel is what separates a struggling rep from a quota-crushing SDR.
Are you overfocused on a pitch? Is it personalized? Are you testing new approaches?
Sellers everywhere are fighting for time from buyers. You have to differentiate your brand and stick out from the crowd if you expect to generate consistent results on any sales channel.
Sellers generate opportunities every day across a variety of sales channels.
Still, there will be people within the sales community that don’t get the results they expected from a channel they’re using.
Forever and always.
Rather than blaming it on the channel, take a step back to understand the elements behind outbound sales performance: competition, targeting, and approach.
As the popularity of channels change, the sales community’s thoughts will change and buyer reactions will evolve. With a good grasp of best practices and a solid understanding of your buyer, you can build a system to consistently generate results on any sales channel.