Sales strategies

Cold calls vs cold emails: how to combine them effectively?

Jean-Paul Klerks
Founder at Luna.ai
Posted 
April 10, 2024
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In the competitive B2B SaaS industry, getting prospects' attention is quite a challenge. As sales professionals, we constantly seek the best strategies to connect with potential customers. Amid this quest, two age-old tactics stand out: cold calling and cold emailing. However, in today's information-saturated world, the question is, “Which technique is more effective?”

But what if we said you don’t have to choose between these two and you better combine them? Let’s dive deeper into each and find out what this even means. 

Cold Calling

You’re an account executive, a sales development representative, or just someone responsible for new business in your company. You’ve got your list of prospects, and you’re ready to get rolling. 

You decide to pick up the phone and dial. Cold calling has a certain allure as the practice of calling a potential customer without prior contact. It’s good cause it’s immediate, allows for personalized interaction and rapport building, and, most importantly, allows you to respond to objections in real time.

But it comes with its disadvantages too, such as intrusiveness, which can frustrate your prospect. Let’s break down both the advantages and disadvantages of cold calling. 

Advantages

  • Instant feedback: A call demands immediate attention. You get instant feedback, whether interest, indifference, or outright rejection.
  • Personal connection: A well-handled call can build rapport. The human voice conveys emotion, enthusiasm, and sincerity.
  • Potential for deeper connection: Even if your prospect doesn’t show interest right away, a call can give you a chance to dive into their specific needs in more detail and potentially offer them something that provides value. 

Disadvantages

  • Intrusiveness: Cold calls can feel intrusive, especially if they come at an inconvenient time. This can be perceived negatively by your prospect and move your efforts downhill. 
  • High effort, low yield: It takes a lot of energy and resilience to handle the repeated rejections that are part of cold calling. It may take a lot of time to be on the phone with the prospect and eventually be rejected. You put in a lot of effort, but it doesn’t always pay off. 
  • Requires skillfulness: It takes training and a lot of experience to make a cold call. Some less experienced salespeople think it’s their duty to start “selling” as soon as the prospect picks up the phone. But selling is so much more than just telling people how awesome your product is—you need to get to know the person you are talking to first and explore their pains. 

Let’s now shift gears and explore a few advantages and disadvantages of cold emailing. 

Cold Emailing 

With email outreach, instead of reaching for the phone, you craft a personalized, well-researched email. Cold emailing involves sending a pitch or introduction to prospects without prior interaction. Email is the go-to channel for most salespeople in the B2B SaaS space. 

Advantages

  • Scalable: You can reach a larger audience (hundreds, if not thousands of prospects) with the same effort as making a handful of cold calls. 
  • Less intrusive: While cold emailing is an intrusive way of reaching out to prospects, it’s still less intrusive than cold calling. Emails allow recipients to engage with your message on their own time, reducing the risk of catching them at the wrong moment.
  • Trackable: With a good email automation tool, you can track email delivery rates, as well as open rate, click rate, CTOR, and more, allowing you to tailor your message to prospects’ needs the next time you email them. 

Disadvantages

  • Overcrowded inboxes: Your email competes with hundreds of others, and standing out in a crowded inbox is a challenge.
  • High spam rate and deliverability issues: There is always a risk of your emails being automatically filtered out and moved to your prospects’ spam boxes instead of inboxes. By the way, check out this detailed guide on deliverability titled “How your sales outreach emails can get to an 80% open rate.”
  • Lack of personal touch: While personalized emails can be effective, they lack the immediate human connection that a phone call can provide.

Neither is dead; both can thrive together

Despite proclamations of their demise, neither cold calling nor cold emailing is dead. Each has its place in a comprehensive sales strategy. However, they shouldn’t be viewed in isolation. When used together, they can complement each other beautifully. A cold email can serve as an icebreaker, making a subsequent call less cold. Conversely, a voicemail left after an unanswered call can prompt a prospect to pay more attention to your next email.

Look for signals

But let’s not forget about warming things up a bit. The concept of "warm" calling and emailing, aka reaching out to someone who has already had some level of interaction with your brand or content, is a game-changer. It's so much easier to start a conversation with someone who’s already glanced your way rather than try to get the attention of someone with their back turned to you.

Whether they’ve interacted with your content, responded to a survey, or even just opened an email, these actions signal interest. And in sales, interest is the kindling you need to start a fire.

Pick the right timing

Understanding when to send an email and when to make a call can significantly impact your success rate. For instance, if a prospect has opened your email multiple times but hasn’t clicked through or responded, it might indicate interest but also hesitation. This is an ideal moment to pick up the phone. The personal touch of a call might be just what’s needed to convert curiosity into a conversation.

Conversely, if you’ve had a promising call with a prospect who then goes silent, a well-crafted follow-up email can reignite their interest. It’s about reading the signs and knowing the right move at the right time.

Imagine you send a cold email that gets opened but not responded to. You follow up with a call a few days later, mentioning the email and offering additional value. This approach shows persistence and personalizes the interaction, increasing the chances of a positive response.

Or consider a scenario where you call a prospect and leave a voicemail. Following up with an email that references the call and includes a valuable resource (like a case study relevant to their business) can be a powerful one-two punch.

If you’re unsure which prospects you should consider “warm” enough for a call, we at Luna.ai will be launching a new feature  - “Tasks” that helps identify warm enough leads so you can start calling them. Stay tuned for an announcement! 

In conclusion

The debate between cold calling and cold emailing is not about which is better but how each can be used effectively in the sales arsenal of B2B SaaS professionals. Both tactics have their place, and when used intelligently and in tandem, they can significantly increase your chances of reaching and engaging your target audience.

Remember, the goal is not just to sell but to start meaningful conversations that could evolve into valuable partnerships. So, whether you're dialing that number or crafting that email, keep in mind that each call made and each email sent is a step towards building those relationships. And who knows? With a bit of humor, empathy, and strategic timing, you might find yourself laughing all the way to your next successful deal.

Jean-Paul Klerks
Founder at Luna.ai
Jean-Paul Klerks
Founder at Luna.ai

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