In case you didn’t see it, Coca Cola got rid of voicemail at their Atlanta Headquarters:

Office voice mail at the world’s largest soft-drink maker was shut down “to simplify the way we work and increase productivity,” according to an internal memo from Chief Information Officer Ed Steinike. The change went into effect this month, and a standard outgoing message now throws up an electronic stiff arm, telling callers to try later or use “an alternative method” to contact the person.

In terms of agency new business this won’t have an immediate impact on those agencies who either don’t play in Coke’s vertical or simply aren’t going after them.

We’ll see if there’s a greater impact down the line however, as other companies follow suit or this ends up as an anomaly.

Voicemail has been the whipping boy for a while now (How to Sell When 97 Percent of Your Calls Now Go to Voicemail) and quite frankly, most/many salespeople aren’t very adept at it.

Voicemails often resemble long, rambling monologues that offer little value and are quickly deleted.

But am I advocating you banish voicemail from your prospecting efforts?  No.

Three takeaways from the Coke announcement as they relate to ad agency new business:

Coke Got Rid Of Voicemail-How Does That Affect Ad Agency New Business

1) Be cognizant of these trends and explore/add tools as necessary

Seem like common sense, but agencies aren’t typically the best at staying on top of new business.  Relying too much on any channel or tool may shortchange your effort. From the Coke article:

People north of 40 are schizophrenic about voice mail,” said Michael Schrage, a research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management’s Center for Digital Business. “People under 35 scarcely ever use it.

 So if you’re relying too heavily on voicemails and not exploring or employing Twitter, for example or better usage of LinkedIn, you’ve got to explore and do a little testing.

2) Don’t overreact to those trends

Coke, or any company, could change their mind tomorrow, so don’t overreact if voicemail works as part of your process.

3) Traditional prospecting still works

I don’t mean true cold calling, I’ve never supported that, at least not in today’s world. However, there are far too many articles decrying direct mail or the phone as obsolete tools.

That’s simply not the case, but the key is to use those tools in conjunction with inbound tools-targeted content, and where possible, software to track effectiveness., for example.

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I'm the VP of Sales at RSW/US. We specialize in working with services firms to help drive and close new business-if you need help with that, email me at lee@rswus.com. What I actually do: drive sales efforts to bring ad agencies and services firms on board with RSW, create content around successful new business tactics and help drive RSW/US marketing objectives, including social media channels, blog content, webinars, video and speaking engagements. Dig it.