Did Marketing Murder Cold Call, In The Office, With The Knife?

There is consistent debate online surrounding the theme of the cold call and its position in modern business development! Back in the ancient “boiler room” days of recruitment, the cold call was most doubtlessly the paramount tool when it came to building those initial relationships and generating vital new business. In reality, a phone was the only resource available in the caveman days of recruitment.

How many of my millennial recruitment readers are familiar with or have used one of these?


A miniscule percentage no doubt.  This is what your more senior colleagues will recognise as a rolodex, which is officially described as a type of desktop card index (desktop in the literal sense of the word). You have a plethora databases at your disposal. They had cards. Shed loads of cards.

What the evolution of social media has done, is shifted power from the sellers over the buyers. More often than not, buyers, or in the case of recruitment, clients, will resist purchase until a need is identified. There is a dizzying amount of choice for clients now. LinkedIn, Google, Twitter and the rest of the social sphere facilitate this perfectly. The accelerated rise in the social web has ultimately changed client expectations.

Has inbound marketing murdered the cold call?

There’s a question. Have the old days of outbound sales and marketing perished in recruitment? The answer to this is most likely not yet, at least not completely.  But it is no secret that inbound marketing is one of the biggest topics on the lips of most business leaders at the moment. Recruitment businesses with solid marketing functions are becoming more prevalent than ever and this has been fully facilitated by the social shift! It is becoming more important than ever for recruitment consultancies to invest in marketing. Recruitment businesses, who were not deemed remotely creative as recently as a few years ago, are now delivering a substantial flurry of their own unique content through blogs, salary surveys and various other campaigns. The creation of high quality, individual content is more important than ever in order to attract organic leads.

Recruiters can argue, of course that there are times where cold calling is effective, even if a client doesn’t have a live need. You can start a relationship, build up some trust and wait until the time comes along that they finally require your services! In some cases, it is fair to say that it is also a numbers game. Call enough people and you will surely gain some businesses right? Recruitment consultancies in existence since before the emergence of social will no doubt possess long standing relationships, generated by the good old cold call. But has inbound marketing eliminated the need for this initial contact in the first place for the future of recruitment?

New recruitment consultancies are faced with a colossal challenge. We live in a try-before-you buy society. Researching products and companies on Google is second nature. People want reviews and they rely on mass judgement.  Recruitment consultancies need to do a lot more in the way of marketing in order to raise their profile and initiate organic new business than ever before, and it doesn’t necessarily start with a cold call anymore. 71% of salespeople believe that being a salesperson will be radically different in 5 years’ time and they couldn’t be more correct. Rather than traditional outbound methods, will being a salesperson be more about being responsive to inbound leads?

There is no doubt that results differ for every business when it comes to methods of generating leads. However, you also can’t doubt the overwhelming shift that the sales world has experienced due to the takeover of the social sphere and the importance of content.


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