The Evolution of the Cold Call... and why it still works!

In the beginning salespeople created the cold call. And the call was without form, and void; and the conversations were bad. And the spirits of the salespeople were demoralized. And the salespeople said, let there be a better way…


Now that we’ve already careened over the cliché highway, let’s talk about the genesis (ahem) of the Lead Gen 3.0, and how it became one of the most effective sales strategies today.


The History of the Cold Call (version 1.0)


In 1873 - before Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone - John Patterson, the CEO of the National Cash Register Corporation, documented a sales strategy that would go on to be credited as the birth of the Cold Call. We called it “Cold Call 1.0” and its reign lasted nearly 140 years without advancement.



In Cold Call v 1.0, Patterson laid out the four steps to make the sale; 1) the approach, 2) the proposition, 3) the demonstration, and 4) the close. It covered next steps and rebuttals and was chock full of the type of 1800’s treasures that you couldn’t even make up, like:


If he objects, find out why, answer his objections and again prepare him for signature.... Make the merchant feel that he is buying because of his own good judgement ... Concentrate your whole force on one good strong point, appeal to judgement, get him to acknowledge that what you say is true, then hand the pen to him in a matter-of-fact way and keep on with what you were saying. This makes signing the logical and obvious thing to do.

Fast forward to today. Did the strategy work? Well, the National Cash Register Corporation (NCR on the NYSE) was purchased by AT&T in 1991 and now generates over $7B annually in revenue. We would say it that by all means, Cold Call version 1.0 was a roaring success! But like all good strategies, they need to evolve.


The evolution: Cold Call 2.0 (the $100M Salesforce strategy)


In 2011 Aaron Ross wrote about a strategy that generated over $100M in additional revenue for Salesforce. In his book Predictable Revenue, he called it the “Cold Call 2.0.”



Cold Call 2.0 actually had less to do with calling than it did building a process that gave your prospect a reference point. The reference point made it so that when a prospect picked up the phone, they already knew who you were. It removed the time wasted on hitting voicemails and did away with the awkwardness of the first 4 seconds of the call (if the prospect did pick up). It saved salespeople hours of repetitive and demoralizing tasks each day, it was brilliant, and it crushed Salesforce's revenue targets.


Even more brilliant, was that Ross kicked off the entire process in a way that could scale endlessly… by email! So, at the end of the day, the Cold Call 2.0 strategy was actually accomplished not through the phone, but through the computer.


Ross’ Predictable Revenue strategy involved 5 simple steps:

  1. Build your Ideal Customer Profile

  2. Build Lists

  3. Run Email Campaigns

  4. Sell The Dream

  5. Pass The Baton




But, as it turns out, the simple strategy wasn’t as simple to implement as it was to define.


The problem with the “Cold Call 2.0”


How can a strategy that helps a sales team to generate $100 million in revenue really be problematic? Well, for the majority of business owners, it was a pipe-dream. Why? Because most small and medium-sized businesses don’t have a team or the marketing tools to make the system work. In having all of Salesforce and their engineers at his disposal, Ross had built a machine for a juggernaut, and not the 77 million businesses and salespeople that had purchased the book hoping to come away with an actionable strategy.


The solution: Introducing Lead Gen 3.0


In the 2020’s, we decided to focus on building a new strategy that took everything good about Cold Call 2.0, and make it simpler and more approachable. We wanted to create something that a single business owner or salesperson could use to employ Ross' strategy. And while it may be ambitious to target a $100M revenue stream, we’ve used Lead Gen 3.0 to increase customer revenue by well over $50K / month and have seen others triple their annual sales targets - in just a quarter.


Lead Gen 3.0 works just like Cold Call 2.0, but it identifies the missing pieces and automates the first three steps that take the most time and resources: 1) Build your Ideal Customer Profile, 2) Build Lists, and 3) Run Email Campaigns.


In building a tool that could automate Cold Call 2.0 and build upon it, Lead Gen 3.0 allows a salesperson to simplify the steps of the sales process:

  1. Find the right people

  2. Say the right thing

  3. Deliver it to the right place at the right time

To learn more about how we can automate the entire process, schedule a demo or a call with one of our sales ninjas to version up your sales and marketing.