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Sales Email vs. Cold Call: When to Use Each

Despite the setbacks caused by the pandemic's disruption, retail sales around the world are projected to grow to approximately $26.7 trillion by 2022 according to data from Statista. This marks an increase of nearly $2 trillion compared to 2019.

Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay

When you’re in sales, the stakes are relatively high. And as the saying goes, you only have one chance to make a good first impression. After all, it’s the initial step in transforming prospects into customers and a key move in developing a strong relationship with those potential customers. The importance of making sure that your outreach efforts resonate with the people on the other end can’t be understated.

The method you use to reach out makes a huge difference in whether you get a response or the cold shoulder. Two of the most popular ways to contact prospects — sales emails and cold calls — both have benefits and drawbacks. Understanding what method to use and when to use it can help you get more responses and, in turn, ultimately boost your sales.

When You Need Convenience and High Volume: Sales Email

There’s a reason that sales emails are often used as an example illustrating scalability. It takes practically the same amount of time to write a sales email and send it to one prospect as it takes to send that same email to 10,000 prospects. This allows you to reach a large number of people in minimal time. Plus, you work around your own schedule without worrying about whether you’ll be interrupting someone or getting voicemail on the other end, which makes it a convenient option.

When You Want a More Personal Connection: Cold Call

It’s hard to top the power of a phone call when you’re trying to connect on a personal level with your prospects. Email might be convenient, but you just don’t have that two-way, immediate communication. Making cold calls allows you to get a direct response and tailor the conversation accordingly. Not only is it a chance to create a more personalized message, it's an opportunity to learn more about the prospect right from him or her while starting to create a relationship with that person.

When You Don’t Want to Be Intrusive: Sales Email

Recent research reveals that roughly 80% of marketers would sooner give up their social media platforms than email marketing. And for good reason. Not only is it convenient, but it also lets you get in touch with people without interrupting their regular routines. It takes an average of eight cold call attempts to reach a prospect, and those attempts essentially come out of the blue for the person on the other end of the phone. Worse, many people are tired and frustrated with getting cold calls. On your end, that can lead to impatience and you might end up feeling frustrated.

When You Want to Use a Method Harder to Ignore: Cold Calls

How often do you read every single email in your inbox? Although sales emails can be incredibly effective in their own right, it’s awfully easy for people to skip over them, ignore them and delete before ever reading a single line. Many prospects already get tons of sales emails every day, making it a relatively competitive medium that requires you put a little more effort into getting their attention. Additionally, spam filters and programs that block unsolicited emails can make it even harder for you to reach your prospect let alone get a response.

When You’re Reaching Out to Younger Buyers: Sales Emails

There are those that predict the millennial generation will end cold calling altogether by 2025. See, they don’t just prefer getting sales emails over cold calls. They hate phone calls. Although cold calls are far from dead, when your buyer persona skews younger, you'll likely do better and receive more responses with sales emails. Similarly, if your buyer is a professional working in an internal job, emails are typically more effective regardless of age. That said, if your buyer persona is a professional in a customer-facing role, cold calls can still be effective because these professionals are used to speaking on the phone.

When Your Objective is to Get a Definitive Answer: Cold Calls

While you’re on a call, you typically have five to 10 minutes to get through to your prospect. That’s valuable time that can help you meet your objective. But first, think about your purpose for reaching out to your prospect. Are you trying to organize a meeting or set up product trials? When you need a decision, answer or commitment, there's nothing like a cold call to secure what you need. If your purpose is just to get simple information like referrals or feedback, you don't necessarily need to take up phone time and can accomplish your goals with an email instead.


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