Over the past 10 years, the amount of cold calls, cold emails, and Linkedin messages employees receive has skyrocketed. The only thing that can rival it is my cholesterol. But that's story for another day.
Based on our research, we estimate the average B2B person will get prospected more than 780 times this year.
Today, we're going explain why your company should deploy an employee outbound prospecting policy for dealing with cold outreach. Let's dive right in.
Every year, your company will lose at least 18 hours per employee due to cold emails from sales people.
We can't blame businesses for deploying more outbound prospecting activities. 60% of B2B companies report being short of their pipeline goal. The numbers show that every day, each touch businesses do to get in front of your company is less and less effective.
Gone are the days of ripping off 100 calls and emails, and getting 5-10 conversations. The average cold email they'll send will have less than a 1% reply rate. It takes a business 220 touches to yield a meeting.
The only way to get a responses is persistence and casting a wider net. 98% of sales people will reach out to a your employees more than once. If you work at an enterprise company with at least 1000 employees, most businesses contact over 12 of your employees at any given time.
This means sellers are doing more activities. In fact, we polled over 500 B2B professionals and found they lose roughly 90 minutes a month dealing with cold outreach. That's 18 hours a year, just for entry level employees.
Payscale estimates the average SaaS employee is paid $73,000 a year, which means an employee makes roughly $36/hour. So your company is losing $648 per employee just from cold email. That's just on the low end too.
Our numbers and estimates don't include even more time lost (lost wages) from cold calling, text, and LinkedIn messages. Our data also doesn't take into account folks who are managers, directors, VPs, and C-Suite who get prospected way more than 780 times a year. We've talked to some people who see 30 cold emails and calls a day, all the way to over 300. It really depends how desirable your company is.
The point is, these interruptions are costing your company hundreds of thousands of dollars from lost wages. They are distracting your employees, taking away attention from their day to day tasks. Why else have companies moved to chat applications like Slack and Microsoft Teams for communication?
So what do employees do when they get prospected?
When it comes to cold calls, there is essentially 3 options. Answer the phone, don't answer the phone, and check the salesperson's voicemail after you ignore the call.
Ignoring a call is fine, but the seller will end up reaching out over email or LinkedIn after the call is ignored. The good old, "I just left you a voicemail..." email or LinkedIn message has hit all of our inboxes, and destroy all of our hearts.
This means answering the call may be better for cutting the seller loose, and reducing interruptions, but there's one problem: Businesses spend millions of dollars a year arming their sales reps with the best ways to handle your employees' objections. They do monthly trainings, listen to call recordings, and are armed to change a "no" into a "yes."
Giving a "blow off" response like "can't talk right now" or "not interested thanks" may sound good too, but sellers will just send more emails when that happens.
Are you starting to see why you need a policy? Let's say the default response is to "email me with more information."
Now your lead score in their CRM just went up because you gave an email, and so will the volume of the prospecting actions you'll receive. The seller will make a note in their CRM that you asked them to email you.
There's no way out.
Cold email has limited options too.
The options are a little bit more complex for email. Most people can ignore the email, delete it without opening it, report it as spam, open the email and click an unsubscribe, or reply back indicating interests.
You may be thinking, "my employees can just ignore their messages" but businesses are getting better at making subject lines that trick people into opening their emails.
Businesses reaching out to your company will likely be using a sales engagement provider, and that provider tracks if you open the email.
If they use personalization at the beginning of the email and a good subject line, an employee will open the email, and get scored higher to receive more prospecting and marketing touches. Some sellers are trained to call a person who opened their email the second they open it.
If you unsubscribe from that email, your company will get reassigned to another sales person in a month or two, and in the meantime, another employee at the company will get prospected more.
It also doesn't help that there over 200 companies selling your employee's contact data to sales people. It's a full time job to remove your data from these providers.
Replying can stop the automation, but it's time consuming. When a sales person gets a reply, they aren't going to just stop. They'll do everything they can to overturn the objection you give them.
Being rude to a sales person isn't good either. This can damage your brand and your company's image. It's not the sales person's fault they have to prospect. It's just the nature of the beast.
Outbound prospecting also causes rogue spending.
Rogue spending is a term used in the context of business-to-business (B2B) companies to describe purchases that are made outside of the agreed-upon procurement processes.
It's estimated 80% of rogue spending is outside of procurement policy, and can be classified as "rogue."
This can include purchasing from non-preferred suppliers, not adhering to negotiated contracts, or buying without proper approvals. Rogue spending can lead to higher costs, compliance issues, and challenges in spend visibility and budget management.
During the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020, as it became harder to reach prospects due to the death of desk phones as workers moved to remote, businesses shifted their strategy to product led growth. In essence, they go and get individual contributors to sign up for software for themselves via the website, using a self sign up, and those individual contributors worry about the consequences after.
The truth is, most rogue spending starts from receiving outbound prospecting. An employee will get call or email from a seller, and they'll go check out the offering on their own. Sales people typically try to avoid the red tape, and skip procurement processes because they slow down and complicate deals.
So what can an outbound policy do for your company?
Look I hate red tape as much as the next guy, but an outbound policy gives your company complete control over what happens when your employees get prospected by sales people. The best part, it also can help keep employees working for you longer.
A policy allows you cut down interruptions from sellers, and send businesses through a universal process that is fair for all vendors trying to work with your company. It's a secure way for vendors to give your company elevator pitches, without causing additional rogue spending. Think of it just like a request for proposal. It's a universal answer for all employees to send prospecting somewhere. A place where pitching is welcomed without interruptions.
Pitchfire forces all businesses to pay your employees money to respond to their prospecting. This filters out bad actors while allowing your employees to earn extra income. If a business decides not to pay, they can't work with your company. It's that simple.
Implementing an outbound policy can also create other perks as well.
Deloitte reports that 63% of employees leave a company because they are underpaid. Did you know the average person working at a company has $90,000 in debt? We estimate that employees can make anywhere from 5-10% of their salary by adopting Pitchfire as an outbound policy.
Pitchfire let's employees get paid every time they answer a sales pitch. Answering a sales pitch takes less than 2 minutes. Routing a business to Pitchfire will stop roughly 90% of follow calls and emails to your employees.
In wrapping up, it's crystal clear that the impact of cold outreach on your organization's efficiency and finances is non-negligible. By instituting a robust outbound prospecting policy, your company doesn't just protect its employees from the constant barrage of unsolicited contacts; it also safeguards its bottom line. With a system like Pitchfire, your team can not only minimize disruptions but also leverage these outreach efforts for potential financial gain—turning what was once a productivity sink into a revenue stream.
Remember, the time and resources saved from implementing such a policy are immense. You’re not just reclaiming hours or dollars, but you’re also investing in your company’s most valuable asset: your people.
It's time to change the game. Let's make the world of B2B prospecting better, not just for the sellers but for the hardworking individuals who make your company thrive.
Ryan O'Hara is the founder of Pitchfire. Prior to starting Pitchfire, he has been an early employee at several startups helping them with marketing and prospecting tactics including Dyn (Acquired by Oracle 2016) and LeadIQ (first GTM employee-Series B).
He's had prospecting and marketing campaigns featured in Fortune, Mashable, and TheNextWeb. Ryan specializes in go-to-market strategy, branding, business development, prospecting, and sales training. He also mentors two accelerators, The Iron Yard and The Alpha Loft.