Is cold calling still an effective sales strategy?
Making sales through the phone is a delicate procedure. Most recipients of unsolicited phone calls are eager to speed along the conversation or just hang up the phone. While cold calling has been a popular sales strategy for decades (and perhaps still is), there are many other channels to choose from if you want to connect with customers.
Phone and email can both be effectively used to initiate conversations with potential customers. If you’re thinking about which channel would be most effective for your business, it’s important to understand both and consider the pros and cons of each one.
What is cold calling?
Cold calling often comes with a negative connotation – especially if you’re on the receiving end of the phone call. Recipients tend to find these calls invasive and annoying sales techniques that interfere with their daily lives. In fact, more than 200 million Americans and over 300,000 Canadians have joined Do Not Call Lists to avoid dealing with them all together. Even caller ID and email spam filters have been optimized to block all unwanted messages and calls – so, in a world where it seems like no one wants to talk to you, how can you reach people and generate leads?
Over the last few years, cold calling has started to warm up and transition into something a bit more effective.
Since potential buyers aren’t answering their phones the way they used to, the old school approach of calling a large number of targets is no longer effective or efficient. A new term dubbed “warm calling,” however, consists of calling only the targets that could have an interest in your services and have already been primed to receive your call. This makes them much less likely to be as annoyed as if the call were entirely unsolicited.
Cold Calling Pros
- Garners quicker responses. This can be much more effective than waiting for feedback through emails.
- Personalized services/messaging. By speaking with their prospects, sales reps can get a better idea of what they are looking for and try to cater their sales pitch to personalized needs.
- Creates a more personal relationship. The phone gives a chance to create a personal connection that isn’t possible through email.
Did you know?
Statistically, phone connect rates increase as the day and week progress. So, your chances of connecting with someone via phone increase later in the workday and workweek!
Cold Calling Cons
- Frustrated prospects. Nobody likes wasting their time on the phone, especially with a sales rep. It’s best to do your research before you pick up the phone and make sure your services fit your prospects needs.
- Time-consuming and expensive. Unlike email, phone calls don’t allow you to contact multiple contacts at the same time. That means you’re taking much more time and resources to reach less prospects than you could via email.
- Reputation. Cold calls often incur frustration because they are unsolicited. These negative emotions can create a negative image of the entire company, making it extremely important to target the right audience.
What is cold emailing?
Cold emailing is like cold calling, the only difference being the method of contact. As you may have guessed, this method consists of initially contacting prospects through an email rather than a phone call. This form of contact is not limited to sales, making it an extremely popular form of communication for anybody. The popularity of email can make it difficult to stand out amongst a sea of unopened messages. While this makes it a challenging sales technique, the email channel is only expected to continue growing.
Cold Emailing Pros
- Cheap and time efficient. With one phone call, you reach one prospect. However, with a single email, you can reach a huge pool of recipients.
- Can be automated and tracked. The benefit of going digital is the ability to customize your email tools and integrate with other apps or software that allow you to use templates, schedule email send-outs, and track things like responses and clicks.
- Increases brand awareness. Every time you send an email, you’re reminding your audience that you exist. That’s not to say you should overwhelm your subscriber list with piles of unsolicited emails – but you should create your emails with appealing design and informative content in mind so that when they are read, they provide some sort of value to your recipients.
Cold Emailing Cons
- Does not yield immediate responses. While a phone call can garner an immediate response or sale, some emails may take much longer to receive a reply, and most may never receive a response at all.
- May never be opened or read (spam filters). While email may be the quickest and easiest way to reach a large audience, it might not be the most effective. Mailchimp found that average open rates for email campaigns sit at only 21.33%, with the highest open rates in industries related to arts, hobbies, government, and religion!
- Huge competition. Think about how many unopened emails you have sitting in your inbox right now. Exactly. Everybody sends emails, meaning everybody has batches of unread, unopened, and unwanted emails clogging up their inboxes. This makes the mission of attracting your recipient’s attention ever harder.
Did you know?
It’s best to send emails either 10 minutes before or 10 minutes after the hour. These brief timeframes correspond with people leaving or going to meetings. And what do many of us do when we have a few minutes to kill? Catch up on emails on our phones!
Cold Call Versus Cold Email: Concluding Thoughts
It’s clear that both cold calling and emailing carry their own sets of pros and cons. It’s important to consider these when determining which method works best for your company and the objective you’re trying to achieve. Are you trying to set up a meeting? Get more information? Sell a product or service?
Who knows, you might find that a combination of both tactics will work best for you!