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Is cold calling or emailing better for sales prospecting?

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Sales prospecting is the art of identifying potential clients and initiating contact with them in the hope of getting them into a sales funnel. This sales technique’s final goal is to convert the prospect into a buyer for your product or service.

A business can go about finding prospects through cold calling, emailing, or both. In cold calling, a salesperson calls prospective customers with whom he has had no prior communication. Similarly, cold emailing involves sending an email to someone without prior contact.

For businesses, the question of which of the two methods to use remains a significant one as each has its pros and cons. Before we can answer the question of which one is better, let us better understand what each entails

What is cold calling? Pros & Cons
As stated, cold calling is a sales technique where a sales rep calls a prospective customer with whom there has been no prior communication. This means that the prospect has not asked to be contacted, and neither were they expecting the call. That right there marks the first difficulty for this method as a sales technique. Most people will not respond well to a random caller trying to sell them something they don’t need in the middle of a busy day.

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Cold calling was a highly successful selling technique from the late 1980s to the late 1990s. However, digitization came to disrupt its smooth run by changing how people buy.

Today, customers get all the information they want about a product or service online. Cold calls, by nature, are intrusive, and people may find them annoying. Advances in technology mean that prospects can block unknown callers or send unwanted calls to voicemail. This only makes the task of reaching prospects more difficult for sales reps.

Statistics are also not optimistic when it comes to cold calling. Research shows that only 1-2% of cold calls are successful, while 63% of sales reps admit that cold calling is the worst part of their job.

Due to these challenges, it may appear as though cold calling should be dead and buried. Yet, businesses continue to leverage the power of this technique to book meetings and make sales. When done right, cold calling can be quite rewarding.

In the 21st Century, truly cold calls will not work. Instead, when sales reps conduct some research on prospective clients, understand who they are, their pain points, and what solutions they need, they will be better placed to convert them. This means for cold calling to work, a salesperson must have the right value proposition and pitch it to the right person. Even with the right proposition, if you keep pitching to a gatekeeper instead of the decision-maker, you will conclude that cold calling is dead.

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Businesses that use cold calling services should ensure that the sales reps understand their customers, the product or service, and use optimized scripts and the right strategies. This strategy is backed by statistics showing that 82% of customers have accepted meetings originating from a sales rep’s cold call.

What is cold emailing? Pros & Cons
A cold email is an initial email sent to a prospect with whom you have had no previous contact in the hope of interesting them with a product or service. Cold emailing has its roots in traditional cold selling, where salespeople would sell from door to door. This later transitioned to post or courier services, where businesses would send brochures or promotions to prospective customers. Like cold calling, this method was quite successful.

With the arrival of the digital era, this sales technique has evolved to the emailing we know today. Email is a prominent communication method, and Stastica data shows that by 2022 over 300 billion emails will be sent per day. Methods of communication have also changed, and most people, particularly millennials, prefer to communicate via email over phone calls. Emailing as a sales technique is useful in creating awareness about a product or service among prospects. This means that there are numerous opportunities for businesses to leverage this technique to attract prospects and advance sales.

Effective cold emailing, however, has to be carefully thought out. Research shows that 57% of people who receive cold emails perceive them as spam, even before opening them. How can sales reps present their emails to ensure a positive response? Sending 1000 emails to a thousand random people will not yield many results. Like cold calling, a sales rep must research their recipient’s interests and possible pain points. This helps them to tailor-make or personalize an email. When people see an email specifically addressed to them, they are more inclined to open it. A successful email must also give ‘something’ to the recipient, mainly if it helps them solve a problem. Finally, a cold email should be short and must have a direct ask, which doesn’t require the recipient to spend time thinking.

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Cold Calling or Emailing- Which is Better?
Cold calling has the advantage of being personal. When you have the prospect right there on the phone, you can make your pitch and get an immediate response. You can read into their voice and tone to deduce how it’s going and make adjustments if necessary.

On the other hand, email rides high on the fact that it is a preferred commutation method for most people. For instance, a 2018 study found that workers spent about five hours per day on their inboxes. An email is also direct and goes straight to the intended recipient as opposed to, say, a blog post. Similarly, an email gives the prospect time to read, think about the proposition, and decide what to do with the information.

Having looked at both cold calling and emailing, we propose that any business serious about making sales should utilize both sales techniques. As seen, each has its advantages and shortcomings, but combining both can be explosive for business.

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