Maximising sales outreach: the power of cold calls and cold emails

Illustration of a mobile phone with a chat bubble and email enveloppe

Ending the cold call vs. cold email debate

In the realm of sales prospecting, there has long been a debate about the effectiveness of cold calls versus cold emails. SDRs often find themselves pondering which approach is superior. However, rather than choosing one over the other, combining these strategies can yield remarkable results. It's all about selecting the right outreach method for each prospect at the right time. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of cold calls and cold emails and provide insights on when to leverage each method for optimal success.

The pros and cons of cold calls and cold emails

Cold calling pros and cons

Zach Barney, a sales leader, believes that the phone remains the most effective weapon in a salesperson's arsenal, and we tend to agree. Cold calling offers several advantages. By engaging prospects directly, you can gain valuable insights into their concerns and pain points, build rapport, deliver your pitch effectively, and explain how you can assist them. Additionally, phone conversations often provide more detailed information, allowing you to overcome objections in the future based on prospect feedback.

Despite its advantages, cold calling does have its drawbacks. Scaling this approach can be challenging, and getting through to prospects can be difficult due to gatekeepers and switchboards. Furthermore, many prospects may be hesitant to listen to your pitch, aiming to end the call quickly.

Cold email pros and cons

Evan Kirshner, sales manager at UberEATS, considers email to be a highly valuable sales tool when used correctly. If reaching prospects via phone proves challenging, email can be a lifeline. It enables you to bypass gatekeepers and provides the opportunity to send hundreds of personalised emails using automation software. Additionally, email outreach allows for measurement, testing, and optimisation of your efforts.

However, cold emails have their own set of challenges. Emails are easier to ignore compared to phone calls, and standing out in a crowded inbox can be difficult. Considering the average office worker receives 121 emails per day, capturing attention becomes increasingly challenging. Moreover, email communication lacks the instant nature of phone conversations, often requiring more time to convey a message that could be discussed in a brief phone call.

When should you call and when should you email?

Determining the appropriate time to utilise cold calling or cold emailing is crucial for successful outreach.

Cold email when...

While cold calling is powerful, there are situations where it may not be the best option. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when access to mobile numbers is limited, cold email proves invaluable for initial outreach. It is also an excellent tool for raising brand awareness through content syndication efforts or as a touchpoint in a sales cadence. However, it is crucial to emphasise personalisation when crafting cold emails to increase the chances of them being read and fostering genuine human connections.

Combine both in your sales cadence for success

To consistently close prospects, it is essential to adopt a multi-channel approach in your sales cadence. Utilizing phone calls, emails, and social media as part of your outreach strategy increases your chances of success. According to research by Gabe Larsen of Labs:

  • One channel provides a 9.5% success rate.
  • Two channels provide a 22.5% success rate.
  • Three channels provide a 25.1% success rate.

While choosing either cold calls or emails as the primary form of outreach depends on the target audience and objectives, incorporating multiple channels into your sales cadence is crucial. If you only have access to a prospect's email address initially, due to meeting them at a conference, for example, email and LinkedIn should be the primary outreach methods until obtaining their phone number. Starting with either email or cold calling can help structure your cadence and provide focus, but be prepared to adapt and switch strategies when necessary for optimal results. Using tools like Salesloft can streamline your outreach efforts, making it easier to track and manage contacts.

Test the effectiveness for yourself

While cold calling may be the preferred approach for booking appointments, every sales team's journey is unique. Experimentation and measuring results are vital to finding what works best for your specific circumstances. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to explore cold emailing, which surprisingly yielded positive results. By testing and refining your outreach cadences, particularly based on data-driven decisions, you can enhance your email strategies and achieve greater success.

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