Cold calling vs email prospecting?
This dilemma is frequently faced by marketers and salespeople.
Which sales strategy is better?
And neither tactic is something that they like doing and with good reason.
Nobody likes to intrude and reach out to people they don’t know, but hey, it’s important to clench your teeth if you want to grow your business.
The best answer to this question is – both!
The synergy of cold calling and cold emailing can be used for breaking the ice and getting on your prospects’ radar.
Is It Better to Call or Email a Prospect?
Both strategies have their upsides and downsides, and the key is to identify when it’s better to grab a phone and when to hit the send button.
Generally speaking, some people like emailing better, mainly because it gives them more time to think everything through and come up with the best way to organize their thoughts. Another plus lies in the fact that there are no gatekeepers that will stop them from reaching a decision-maker.
On the other hand, we can’t deny that cold calling is popular despite its poor success rates.
Surveys have shown that an average conversion rate for cold calling rarely goes beyond 2 percent. Not to mention, that many salespeople get cold feet whenever they have to pick up a phone to make a cold call.
So, what’s the catch?
When to Call?
Let’s get one thing straight: emails can be ignored more successfully. I bet that even your email inbox is full of promo and sales emails that you haven’t even opened.
So, when you send an email, there’s a possibility the recipient will ignore it or send it to the trash.
Of course, a killer subject line can greatly reduce this possibility, but once you send it you have no idea when you can expect feedback.
Let’s not forget that lots of emails are buried in an avalanche of emails that an average business person sends and receives every day.
That number is almost 130 a day, according to the Radicati Group, Inc.
When you call, you’re more in control of the conversation and you can adjust it based on the person you’re talking to. It’s more interactive and you can use all the aces that you have up your sleeve.
A phone call can be very effective when it comes to scheduling meetings, getting referrals, or establish a deeper and more meaningful connection with your prospect.
A phone call is a better option when you expect that there are going to be lots of questions. In such cases, real-time communication is more effective and time-efficient, so when you want to discuss something complex, forget about email.
If you’re afraid that you won’t be able to keep track of everything that has been discussed during the conversation or that you’ll forget something important, instead of taking mental notes, grab a pen and jot down essential points and conclusions.
Another, even better, and more efficient method is to use the VanillaSoft platform as it features:
- Auto dialing. Instead of manually calling prospects, your sales reps will be able to reduce downtime between calls, which will boost their productivity by almost 300%. With two different types of auto dialing – progressive and preview, your sales team will minimize mistakes and reach their quota more quickly.
- Call recording. This functionality will provide your sales reps with valuable information and feedback. Every call is recorded and stored next to a given contact for easier access. Also, all recordings are categorized based on their outcomes so that you can use these resources for training and coaching purposes.
- VoIP. If you want more than an enterprise-class calling system, this feature comes with advanced features such as Voicemail Drop, Inbound Call Screen Pop, or Text Messaging.
John Barrows, of JBarrows Sales Training, talked to Doug Landis, Growth Partner at Emergence Capital, and asked him about his preferred channel of communication.
The answer was the phone, but both sales experts agreed that having a well-thought-out cadence is what makes a world of difference – if you reach out to your prospects through different channels, you’ll be more likely to stand out and be noticed.
This, basically, means you should be everywhere – on Facebook, LinkedIn, and you should pick up the phone, and build a great email sequence, as that’s how you’ll grab your prospects’ attention and come off as a familiar face that they can trust.
When to Email?
It’s really crucial to emphasize that email marketing generates $38 in ROI for every $1 spent, which makes it one of the most effective marketing methods.
A survey by McKinsey has found that the average order value of an email is at least three times higher than that of social media.
Emailing makes it possible to reach several thousand people at the same time, by sending them a personalized message.
However, before crossing your fingers and waiting for tons of conversions, you should make sure that you’ve got relevant, accurate, valid, and updated contact information.
Otherwise, all your efforts are futile, as your carefully crafted emails won’t reach intended recipients. Autoklose can help you with this, as our B2B database is brimming with millions of fresh, impeccably clean, and regularly updated leads from different industries, meaning that you can be sure that you don’t have to worry about hard bounces.
It’s true that cold emailing is more complicated than other types of communication, mainly because you send an email to a person out of the blue and without previously established contact, but if you employ a proper tactic, your efforts can pay off tremendously.
In a nutshell, you need to identify your target audience, segment it, and personalize your emails. Marketing automation software is a must if you want this strategy to succeed.
As we’ve already mentioned, decision-makers can be extremely hard to reach, and before you get a chance to even schedule a meeting, you need to get past the gatekeeper.
That’s one of the biggest problems with cold calling.
Still, if you have a valid email address, your email will reach the decision-maker. It’s worth mentioning that our database isn’t only rich with leads and regularly maintained but also comes with powerful filters that can help you make a search based on different parameters, including location, title, job, company size, and many more.
In other words, you can select only managers, C-level execs, and others that have the authority to make a decision and reach out directly to them.
But, this doesn’t mean that you’ve made it. The hardest part is to get them to notice your message, open it, and click on your call to action.
Unlike cold calling where you have to think quickly, engage your prospect in conversation, and capture their attention, cold email gives you an opportunity to carefully compose it and test its performance.
Finally, there’s something that I always emphasize as it’s, in my opinion, of critical importance for the success of your email marketing efforts – you won’t achieve much if you send only one or two emails.
That will create only a small ripple, and there’s a great chance that your recipients will forget to respond even if they intended to.
Being persistent and following up is the No 1. factor that will land you a lot of demos, meetings, and conversions, so don’t be a quitter.
What Factors to Consider Before You Decide?
Before you decide when to use one of these sales strategies, here are a couple of guidelines:
- Get to know and understand your target audience, and try to determine which channel of communication they prefer.
- If you’re just starting your business, and your goal is to reach 50-100 people in order to schedule appointments, it’s ok to call them. However, when you grow your business, it’s more time and cost-effective to contact your prospects via email.
- When you want to contact the top management of a company, it’s better to start with an email, as it’s much easier than to reach them by phone.
- Consider your objective for the initial outreach and think about whether it’s a weak or strong ask. Weak objectives can be obtaining referrals or feedback from your prospects. Strong asks require some kind of commitment on the part of your prospect. For example, if you want to book a meeting with them or convince them to start a trial, then it’s best to pick up the phone and call since that way you can handle and overcome potential objections instantly. On the other hand, if your ask is a weak one, then a cold email will suffice.
- Timing plays an important role when it comes to this. The likelihood that your prospect will answer their phone increases as the day and week progresses. If you want to call a prospect, then leave it for after 2 p.m. as well as for Thursdays and Fridays. Even if they don’t pick up in this timeframe, you can leave a voicemail, which is also an effective method since most people check their phone inbox when they’re wrapping up their workday. As for emails, there’s a simple trick that might boost the visibility of your message in your prospect’s inbox. Namely, as meetings usually start at the top of the hour, people check their email 15 or 10 minutes before. Scheduling your email outreach for 10 minutes before or after the hour will increase the odds that your prospects will notice it before they go to or leave a meeting.
Cold outreach is tricky and challenging. It requires a lot of prep, research, and planning, and determining which of the two approaches to take depends on individual circumstances.
These tips should help you solve your cold calling vs email prospecting dilemma and boost your conversion rates.