I speak to many salespeople and the jury is out! I suggest it’s 50:50 preference on what to choose between cold sales calls and e-mails for sales outreach. Both have their positives and negatives and we know, anything “cold” is going to take a lot of effort for a small percentage reward.
I suggest in any case that you try very hard to make cold calls “warmer” by doing research, marketing outreach and finding reasons to contact rather than just, freezing in the middle of the Atlantic with icebergs, cold!
However, if you want to build your target market database with engaged contacts, sometimes it’s best to get out there and make a sales call or e-mail. What and how you approach cold outreach will make a big difference to response rates. First impressions are important, for us and our business!
One of the main reasons that salespeople do not want to make calls is fear of rejection, if you are having issues with mindset & confidence you may want to read our blog: How to Improve Your Sales Confidence.
This blog, however, is about choosing the right cold sales activity for you. Here is some research with my thoughts that might help you choose!
Both cold e-mails and cold calls are effective at generating interest. The stats are in favour of a sales outreach campaigns even though a typical cold e-mail response is 1% (bottom left of graphic, orange square).
In general, old calling is more personal and interactive than cold e-mails, and you will be able to engage directly with right person. One of the drawbacks of cold calls is the perception of intrusion and many people don’t like being “sold to” on the phone. Our buyers are busy people and unless the cold seller has an interesting angle, they won’t get far!
However, you can send a lot more e-mails than calling direct and you can measure the outcome and engagement in e-mails a lot easier with the right tools.
And… 80% of buyers say they prefer to be contacted by sellers by e-mail (bottom right of graphic – green square) , which is good because they are more likely to read your e-mail but bad if you are one of the 99% that are deleted before they are read! (bottom left)
Things to consider when choosing between cold call or e-mail
What is your outcome?
Bulk e-mails are great for finding out who is active in the buying cycle as they will be more likely to find your communication interesting. You can then follow up with a series of follow up calls that should end up with a qualification of the lead and even an opportunity.
Bulk e-mails are also good at communicating important information which does not require a call like short questionnaires or simple product offers. You don’t need to spend lots of time calling people for these outcomes.
However, if you have a really good solution to a particular challenge in any industry and it is quite unique then cold calling may be the answer! If your solution will really help a particular target client or buyer persona then…. research them and give them a cold “research call” i.e. to find out how they are coping with this particular challenge. Ask them about their business and see if your solution may be of use. See the bottom middle blue square – 71% of buyers want to hear from sellers when they are looking for ideas to drive stronger business results.
Who & When are you calling?
Everyone is different and yet everyone is generalised!
The “younger generation” who embrace technology will be more used to receiving e-mails than “Oldies” like me, you decide which camp you are in… I don’t mind receiving calls, but some younger salespeople don’t. Again, research how old the buyer is and make a judgement.
Also, professionals who have customer facing roles or those in manufacturing are more likely to take a call and a meeting with you than people with internal roles or who work in more modern “techie” industries.
In terms of timings, e-mails are better late morning or late afternoon (top right box) and Tuesday-Thursday. You are better calling early mornings or mid to late afternoons Thursdays or Fridays. People tend to have meetings between 10-3pm.. and Mondays are usually catch up after the weekend days.
If you can’t get hold of someone by phone, leave a voicemail with your number and a brief next step which is usually calling them back at a time and they can call back to rearrange if not a good time for them. Remember… 48% of reps don’t follow up after the first call… don’t let that be you!!
How many people do you need to reach?
If you have a lot of people in your database that you want to get hold of, that’s a lot of cold calls! You could use a cold calling service using very strict scripts, sometimes though that defeats the object if you are trying to build a relationship.
The other option is to bulk e-mail. Just make sure you improve the odds by automating personalisation and having a very intriguing subject line to ensure they are more likely to read it!
In Any Case….
Cold outreach as a sales tactic is a great way to increase the number of prospects, leads and opportunities in your sales pipeline. I hope this article helps you decide which option is right for you.
Just remember… anything you can do to make the contact a bit “warmer” will greatly improve your chances of success.
If you think it might benefit to do some sales training on this … check this out.