Referrals are the secret to B2B sales: Get the meeting at the level that counts.

“Face to Face in a Sales 2.0 World”—that’s how I met Todd McCormick at the Fall 2011 Sales 2.0 conference. Not only did I love the title of his presentation, but when Todd talked about the importance of personal connections and the power of looking someone in the eye, he had my attention.

And then I learned that iMeet (a product created by PGi, where Todd leads a sales team), does just that. You invite people into your personal “room,” you can see and hear each other via your web cam, and you can also upload all kinds of files and share with your attendees. What a cutting-edge technology and a quick, easy, and immediate way to connect.

I invited Todd to contribute his perspective in this guest blog:

“When’s the last time you were sitting around, just wishing a sales rep you didn’t know would call, email, or drop by? Can’t remember? Neither can I. Not even the salespeople who make cold calls like receiving them.

There’s plenty of research to support the opinion that cold calling is dead. Buyers know a scripted pitch when they hear it. More than 92% of execs ignore cold call and email meeting requests.

But we all need new business, so the big question is: What are the top sales performers doing to find new prospects?

The secret to B2B sales is calling the right person, at the right time, with the right message. This means contacting key decision makers when their need exists and funds are available with a solution to their unique pain. A key component here is initiating contact at the exact right day and time.

Here’s how to warm up your cold calls for better sales results:

Focus on inbound marketing for lead generation. Social media, blogs, pay-per-click advertising, and SEO are all excellent strategies for attracting prospects when they’re still in the research stage, before a sales rep has gotten involved in their buying process.

Network through social media. Most of your clients and potential customers use social media to gather information and make connections. You should be as well. A big challenge of social media is the number of outlets; you’ll be more effective if you use tools that integrate social media channels. Key point: self-promotional sales pitches work against you online. Use social networks to build your own credibility and build relationships that will convert to sales down the line.

Listen and get involved in discussions. Hang out online where your customers are likely to be. Listen to what they’re saying, and respond with valuable information and commentary. People buy from those they know and trust.

But the best way to build trust is to show your face. When you get up close and personal on video, you’ll build powerful connections with prospects.

As Trish Bertuzzi says, it’s the cold that’s dead—not the calling.

[Thanks to Bridge Group, Inc., InsideView, Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference, and SalesDNA for information used in this post.]”

Todd McCormick

As Vice President of Sales for PGi Worldwide, Todd McCormick leads all sales efforts to bring innovative technology to market, teaching companies to leverage video conferencing tools to rapidly grow their business. Todd also enjoyed a 12-year career at He is a graduate of the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and the University of Alabama.