Cold Calls vs. Emails: A 5-Step Litmus Test to Decide Where to Start (Part 2 of 2)

If you gave much thought to last post’s questions, then congratulations! You are officially halfway to picking either email or phone calls as the best way to start in your campaigns.


We ended the first part with some ideas on the kind of data needed to get the most out of an email-first strategy.


By comparison, the information you’ll need to use for a decent cold calling campaign is relatively easier to gather. Most commercial marketing lists contain the contact, demographic, and firmographic information you’ll need to connect with prospects and get a response.


That is, for the same (basic) lead/prospect data (e.g., contact details, position, company size, annual sales, etc.), it’s much easier for you to get a response through phone calls than through bulk emails.


Although, it’s important that you first take a survey of the data you already have as well as other information you can afford to acquire. Don’t rule out your time and budget constraints in your selection process either.


Step 4: Determine the path of least resistance.


You obviously want to start off on the channel that gets you directly in front of your target decision-makers.  Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Cold calls and cold emails have different sets of obstacles that you have to contend with and, to make things even worse, these tend to vary from one prospect to another.


For mass emails, spam filters and inbox overcrowding are among the things that typically get in the way between you and your leads. Meanwhile, gatekeepers and voicemails are two examples of obstacles you’ll most likely encounter when placing cold calls.


Be honest about your ability (or inability) to meet these challenges head on, and consider it as a factor when choosing which channel to use first.


Step 5: Don’t forget to do some testing.


Up to this point, you’ve really just been trying to form an informed hunch about your likely choice. We’ve yet to add a solid backbone, and we do this through actual testing.


There are many ways to test marketing/sales strategies, but a simple A/B split test would be enough in this case. Take a random sample from your lead/prospect list and divide it into three groups. Use a cold call-first tactic on one group and apply an email-first approach on another. Choose an appropriate metric to gauge effectiveness. Select the approach that yields optimal results and verify your findings by applying that tactic on the third group.


Keep in mind that the results from testing form only one criterion for making your decision. You still have to consider the other factors from steps 1 through 4. It’s up to you how much weight you’ll assign to each of the steps.


Again, there’s really no hard-and-fast rule that works in every situation when trying to connect with prospects. There are far too many variables involved. But it’s not like flipping a coin either. So, use your best judgment and let your audience and purpose be your guide.

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