Will Scam/Spam Calls Cripple Inside Sales to SMBs?

Most small businesses that rely on phone calls need to answer the phone. But increasingly telemarketers and spam are clogging phone lines, especially on mobile devices.

A company called First Orion has released its “Scam Call Trends and Projections Report” for 2018. The scary headline is: next year nearly 50% of mobile calls will be scam calls:

First Orion powers call protection solutions to tens of millions of mobile subscribers in the U.S. market and has carefully analyzed over 50 billion calls made to these customers over the past 18 months. By combining specific call patterns and behaviors with other phone number attributes, First Orion now predicts that nearly half of all calls to mobile phones will be fraudulent in 2019 unless the industry adopts and implements more effective call protection solutions.

That 50% doesn’t count telemarketing — just fraud and deceptive calls trying to rip people off.

Mobile operators, Apple and Google are trying to help mobile subscribers protect themselves against these calls with scam/spam alerts and caller ID warnings. Perhaps 40% of the daily calls I’m now receiving on my phone come with one of these warnings. I simply don’t answer them. Increasingly I also don’t answer calls from numbers I don’t recognize.

What I’m wondering is this: will mobile user behaviors change to the point where people simply don’t answer unrecognized calls? And how might that impact SMB vendors trying to sell over the phone.

Many SMB-facing marketing services providers have moved from premise or outside sales to call-based selling in the past decade because of cost. Will that become even less effective than it already is?

Will marketing services providers and SaaS companies targeting SMBs need to move away from phone sales and much more to other channels for acquisition? My guess is yes and I suspect it means taking a longer term approach to lead generation and acquisition — one built on trust, credibility and education. But that’s harder to pull off.

What are your thoughts on this: will spam calls and resulting consumer avoidance make inside sales to SMBs much less effective?

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