Cold Email vs Cold Call: How to make them both Work for you

If you have ever made a cold call, you probably know first-hand that the reception many salespeople get is not really the best. Okay, that might be a bit of an understatement. Getting yelled at or even hung up on might be the worst response you have ever received during a cold call campaign, right? But, the fact is that cold calling is still very popular with marketers today. Why is that the case, when it generates such a low success rate and everyone hates it?

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Yet it was not always this way. Why isn’t cold calling working as well as it used to? And, most importantly, why are marketers so determined to use this as a prospecting tool when they are wasting so much time and energy trying to get in touch with business executives? These are just some of the most common concerns many sales people are facing today.

You may have already noticed the common thread running through all these scenarios. You might even think that simply being more confident or having a better script would solve all of your cold call challenges. Or that – maybe – making more calls would drive up your success rates.  Unfortunately, you would be wrong on all counts.

There is no “right” way to cold call. 95 percent of the time, it will probably feel like you are just doing a lot of busy work. Now, the other five percent – that is where the magic happens. It is the reason why veteran marketers will tell you that patience and an unlimited optimism are the only qualities you need to cold call successfully. That is not to say that you have to become too aggressive! Turning into a budding stalker will only burn bridges with promising prospects.

Thankfully, there might be a better way of getting in front of prospective clients. This method has been proven to turn more than 20 percent of your leads into paying customers. With the right technology, you would even be able to automate the process. This move would let you handle up to five times more of your usual prospecting volumes.

This method is cold email. When used well, both tactics are very effective at starting meaningful conversations with prospects. Each method also has its fair share of haters and allies and the situation is the source of many interesting conversations on cold email vs cold call.

Many people see cold calling as an annoying relic from another – less savvy – era. Meanwhile, a lot of companies still use it without any complaints about the results. On the other hand, people seem to tolerate cold email more because it is much less intrusive. But it still faces a lot of backlash because some prospects see it as spam. With this in mind, how do you decide which tactic is the best option for you?

Cold Email vs Cold Call: How to make them both Work for you

Table of Contents

The History of Cold Calling

The history of cold calling probably goes back farther than you thought. In spite of its name, the term “cold call” first appeared as early as 1827. This means that it was in use 50 years before Alexander Graham Bell made his legendary first telephone call to Mr. Watson.

Originally, the term cold calling was used to refer to “the act of receiving unscheduled and unwanted visits from door-to-door salesmen.” This might explain how they are still received even today? Whatever the case, many people see cold calling as a tactic that is best left in the past.

On the other hand, it is only just the start of cold email. A simple search on Google Trends will show you that cold email is only becoming more popular among marketers. Its “newness” could be why so many people have so many misconceptions about it.

Before defining what it is, we have to understand what it isn’t. Cold email is not email marketing or spam. Simply sending out hundreds of emails – even if they are targeted to the “nth” degree – is not cold emailing. Effective cold emailing involves researching and reaching out to one person or company with just one email.

Why doesn’t Cold Calling Work as well as it used to?

If you are trying to predict how your next cold call will go, think about the last time a random sales person called you in between meetings. How well did that go for them? How long did that call last? It typically takes people just four or five seconds to realize that it is just another telemarketer calling.

Even if you let the conversation run longer, you will probably hear a tired and gloomy telemarketer just reading from a stale script for the hundredth time that day. The most important question here is this: do you really want to be that guy?

Here are a couple of reasons why cold calling just does not work as well as it used to:

1. People are moving away from desk phones

We all know that cell phones have killed the traditional desk phone. Today, only about 83 percent of all employees have an office phone on their desks. This is because most businesses are moving to cheaper means of communication such as cell phones. Another popular option are software phones provided by applications like Fuze and Grasshopper.

These innovations mean that phone numbers are becoming more dynamic, changing how direct dials are made. Not only does this make it harder to find phone data, it also makes it easier for prospects to ignore calls from numbers that they do not recognize.

2. People are spending more time in their email inbox

Recent research shows that most professionals in America’s spend up to six hours going through their email every day. They have moved away from working off telephone calls to keeping emails unread until a task is done. As a (largely indirect) result, a lot of your prospects are using their inboxes to help them manage tasks and stay organized.

These days, phone calls are just a formality used to confirm details that have already been discussed via email. Prospective customers will only check their voicemail maybe once or twice a week. Calls from telemarketers can also be easily weeded out and ignored.

3. Cold calling loses the numbers game

Studies show that only one percent of all cold calls will actually lead to a meeting or appointment. Please, let that sink in for a minute and let’s do the math: a typical sales agency seeks to make an average of 80 calls or more per day. Out of those 80 calls, only four prospects will actually pick up the phone and have a conversation. Then, out of those four conversations, only one will lead to an appointment.

Needless to say, the numbers are not great. And it only gets worse: at least 40 percent of these appointments will not show up on the scheduled day. We are not saying that cold calls are a waste of time. But, they should clearly never make up the bulk of your outreach strategy.

If you think about it, this is all about convenience. Prospects can open, read, and respond to emails on their own time. They also take a short time to reply and make the whole prospecting process easier for all involved.

The Pros of Cold Calling

  • Cold calling is the fastest way to get in touch with the right decision makers and get an immediate response. This is a great advantage if you need an answer regarding your pitch ASAP. But, just because you can control who to contact does not mean that they will take the bait. A study involving experienced sales people showed that 55 percent of cold calls were not answered while prospects only agreed to an appointment 3 percent of the time.
  • When a prospect says no after your pitch, it is easy to figure out what went wrong right away. You can then use that invaluable information to tweak your sales process. This could mean the difference between a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ for future cold calls.
  • If your goal is to get feedback or start a conversation, then cold calling is your best bet. Despite all its advantages, it is hard to get further explanations after a prospect says ‘no’. Phone calls also make the conversation feel more personal.

The Cons of Cold Calling

  • Running a cold call campaign is both complex and time-consuming. It takes a certain amount of energy and skill to convince people to buy into any product, service, or brand. You also have to be able to sound upbeat and motivated through one rejection after another. Unfortunately, this is not easy to do for many people, no matter how much of a hustler you are.
  • Finding phone numbers can also be very hard. Unlike emails, people do not usually publicize their phone numbers. So, you have to develop some foolproof ways to bypass this technical snag. You might even consider turning to databases that sell such phone numbers. Just keep in mind that such sites are usually quite shady and you have to be careful to avoid any legal issues.
  • Cold calling is also very frustrating. People simply do not like getting sales calls. You should be prepared to get some yelling or angry responses. Also, remember that many prospects will promise anything just to get you off the phone. Such responses can turn into a hard ‘no’ after the next call. So, develop a few tactics to get past this challenge.
  • It is also much more expensive than cold emailing. This is because it is harder to scale up when doing cold calling. To do so, you will have to hire a lot of telemarketers. Unfortunately, this will prove costly and ineffective on a larger scale.

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5 Obstacles of Cold Calling

Why, exactly, does cold calling produce such terrible results? Understanding the top obstacles salespeople face just to make a successful cold call will help you see why this tactic fails so often. These challenges include:

  • You have to first find the right phone number for the person you want to contact. Then, you will probably have to chart your way across the company’s phone systems. This usually involves sitting through a lot of dial-by-name directories and voice prompts.
  • After this boring task, you must then find creative ways to bypass the gatekeepers. Today, this includes caller ID, voicemail, and even strict secretaries. Some marketers count getting a prospect’s voicemail as a victory. But, the truth is that nobody returns voicemails from cold calls anymore.
  • If you are able to avoid all these gatekeepers by some act of God, the actual prospect must be available at the time you call. You cannot predict when this will be because you might call when they are in a meeting or out of the office.
  • Even if they are available, the prospect is usually busy with some other work-related task. If they end up picking your call, it is usually because they thought it was someone else. Remember, these are busy people who are not just sitting there waiting for strangers to call them!
  • Sometimes the stars align and your prospect picks up the phone. Good for you! But, keep in mind that the very nature of cold calls will be working against you. Prospects will not appreciate you interrupting their day for unsolicited sales, so they will only give you one or two minutes to make your case.

Cold Email vs Cold Call

Despite all these challenges, cold calling is still one of the most popular sales tools. The mere fact that so many people still use it must show how effective it is. After all, why would so many sales managers still swear by it? On the other hand, another method can still let you connect with potential customers without picking up the phone. This is the cold email.

Most business leaders and executives run their professional lives through email. Not only is it their preferred means of communication, it also helps them to stay on top of their tasks and projects. Even the former president of the United States refused to give up his cell phone and email. This set him apart as the only sitting president to have a mobile phone in history.

The main argument about email vs phone call revolves around the range. Phones are mainly used to set meetings and appointments. But you can still accomplish this plus receive updates and notifications via email.

It may be more convenient in general to contact people through email, but that does not mean it is the perfect method for cold contact. Below are some of its main disadvantages:

Cons of Cold Emailing

  • There is massive competition to get the prospect to pay attention to your cold email. Think about it: hundreds of other marketers have had the same idea to use cold emails as part of their outreach strategies. This means that one prospect will receive a flood of emails into their inbox every single day.
  • In that case, it is no wonder that prospects ignore a huge number of the cold emails that come their way. And that is the best case scenario! All you have to do is think about how many of these emails get deleted or even blocked as spam.
  • The only way you will stand out from the crowd is to research the prospect and craft the right cold email. If you do it wrong, do not be surprised to get even lower success rates than with cold calls.
  • Unlike cold calls, you must wait for the prospect to answer your email or follow up to get some feedback.
  • It is easier to scale up with cold emailing. However, you will need to use a number of different automation tools. This will require a bit of investment and technical know-how. You will also need a couple of great copywriters to craft personalized, original, and creative cold emails.
  • You will also be ready to face a number of unique technical hurdles. These include getting blacklisted or reported as spam.

The Pros of Cold Emailing

Despite this, the good news is that cold emails have unlimited potential for success. You can easily tweak your cold emails in order to solve most of the cons highlighted above. Here are some of the top advantages of the cold email:

  • You can connect with literally anyone, as long as you have the right strategy, research, and message. It also helps that you can use the best online tool to get anyone’s email address – that is, RooJet – easily and quickly.
  • Your sales team will not have to possess any people skills or constantly put up a sunny front. The right applications can help you scale, automate various functions, and increase the number of cold emails you are sending out every day. This alone has to be great for the team’s mental health and inner peace.
  • It is also cheaper than cold calling. You can contact between ten and 100 people at once with the simple click of a button.
  • Writing down your pitch allows you to make it even more appealing than simply using oral ones. You can use a lot of data, statistics, links, pictures, and even gifs to keep the prospect engaged. These little tricks make your cold emails feel very personal and dynamic.

3 Tips to help you write an Effective Cold Email

We all wish that using great subject lines or some magical template was all it took to convince prospects to open, read, and respond to our cold emails. Unfortunately, that is only half the battle. An effective cold email that gets prospects to respond must have three key elements. These, in a nutshell, are: the right prospects, the right research, and the right message.

Many marketers do not have the resources to help them up their game when they are starting out. That said, nothing beats practice. It is the only way to get experience and a whole lot of patience. With time, you will also find the right mix that will help you increase your open and response rates. Ultimately, your sales numbers will keep you smiling all the way to the bank.

What is the Next Step?

In the battle between the cold email vs cold call, the latter always wins. This is simply because cold emailing makes things easier and more convenient for your prospective customer. They can go through and reply to your message anywhere and at any time.

Unfortunately, that does not always mean that they will respond. Cold email is a process, not a numbers game. So, you can stop sending out the same email to the same person! There are better ways to follow up on prospects without coming off as a stalker.

With that said, who says you must pick just one option between email vs phone call? You can easily adapt a hybrid of the two to make any sales campaign produce even better results.

Experts advise that the best way to go about this is by choosing what works best for your prospective clients. Do you know your audience? What option makes the best sense for them? Answering these questions well will guide the choices you make for your entire campaign. No pressure, right?

Regardless of your choice, it is important to follow some basic principles throughout any outreach campaign. First, remember that a successful sales rep is thoughtful and respects the prospect’s time. This humble approach is the best way to establish rapport, especially when you have never spoken to or interacted with them before.

Second, remember that it is not about you. Instead of rambling on about your product or service, keep the focus on your prospect’s needs and goals.

Lastly, keep in mind that one communication may not be enough to get you the response that you need. Create an original, compelling, and well thought out script for your campaign. Also, teach yourself how to be persuasive. If your pitch is boring, it will not matter how you contact prospects – even if you follow all these tips.

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