Are you setting up your outbound sales strategy, and are torn between focusing on cold emailing and cold calling?

You’ve heard from other business owners how cold calling is better than cold emailing, and vice versa.

But there’s one problem. You need to know which one supports your current lead generation needs.

Chances are you have your personal opinions but you need to back them up with hard facts and find actionable ways to implement them.

You also need a system that will help you get the best results, with the least amount of time spent. After all, you can’t be handling sales all day – you need to find time to run your business and serve your clients.

Fortunately, that’s what I’ll show you in this guide.

I’ll walk you through:

  • How to decide on which prospecting tactic to use.
  • How to execute cold calling/emailing that will deliver ROI
  • Best practices and tools to improve your efforts

Once you start using cold outreach, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t start sooner.

For example, David and Wyatt of Demio, a SaaS webinar solution, used cold outreach to land 500 customers in 7 days.

According to a survey by RAIN Group, 82% of buyers are happy to accept meetings with sellers who reach out to them. Your cold calls and emails aren’t going to annoy anyone – unless they’re low quality.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the pros and cons of each strategy, and provide tips and advice on using them in your sales strategy.


Let’s dive in.

Does Cold Calling Still Work?

Do people still get clients from cold calls?

Can I get clients for my business by ringing prospects who have never heard of me?

The answer?


Cold calling still works, and you can still get clients reaching out to your prospect on the phone.

It’s not losing effectiveness, either. Big corporations, businesses, and marketing/sales agencies still hire salespeople for cold outreach.

If you head to LinkedIn, you can see thousands of job posts for cold calling roles.


But that’s not all.

It’s ideal if you want to reach key decision-makers such as C-level and VP buyers. Surveys found that over 50% of high-level buyers prefer to be contacted via the phone, and over 69% of buyers have accepted calls from new providers in the last 12 months.

So businesses, like yours, can still get results from cold calling.

But, it’s not that simple.

You can’t just pick up the phone with a hard sell to prospective customers. No one is going to care.

Keep reading, because I explain how to get results from cold calling in the coming sections.

So here’s the big question.

Why Choose Cold Calling?

Salespeople love cold calling, and here’s why.

Full Control Over The Interaction

From the get-go, cold calling gives you control over the entire conversation. This allows you to navigate and steer the conversation in the direction that you want.

You can only do this on a cold call or physical meeting. Once you send a cold email, you can’t make an extra comment or help someone overcome a sales objection.

A simple way to stay organized on your call is to have a call script or notes at the ready.

In QuickMail, you do this by adding a Call step, and using the text field to add notes, scripts, or useful pointers to help you on your call.


When you make your call, you’ll have everything you need to ensure it runs smoothly.

Immediate Response and Feedback

Cold calls are real-time, and you’ll get immediate feedback to your pitch, which is ideal if you’re looking for fast results.

There’s a benefit to your prospect as well. They’ll be able to ask you any questions they have, and you can answer them.

Once you hang up, you’ll have clear next steps and actions to take.

An effective cold call can speed up your sales cycle compared to only relying on asynchronous channels like cold email or LinkedIn prospecting.

More Personal Than Other Channels

There is a strong personal touch in cold calling. First of all, it’s a real conversation, customized to your prospect.

You’ll also get real feedback on how they feel about your pitch from their tone of voice, and responses.

If you can feel the call isn’t going as planned, you can switch your approach to meet their needs.

With channels like cold email, it’s harder to judge how someone will react to what you’re saying. For example, if you make a joke in your outreach email, but the prospect receives it on a bad day, they’re not going to be impressed.

What Are The Downsides of Cold Calling?

Time Consuming Considering the Conversion Rate

The average conversion for cold calls is around 2%.

You’ll need to reach out to hundreds of prospects to get any meaningful results.

Considering the time it takes to call prospects, have a conversation or leave a voicemail, log the next actions you need to take, it’s very time consuming.

If you want to grow fast with outbound sales, cold calling isn’t that attractive.

They Can be Intrusive and Annoying

The chances of catching your prospects at a bad time with a cold call is high.

Your prospects could be at lunch, in a meeting with their own customers or team, or focused on an important project.

Nobody would tell you they want to hear “My name is Steve and I’m calling to see if you’re interested in XYZ offer” in any of those situations.

Even though there’s always a chance of catching someone at a good time and having a conversation, there’s a risk that you burn through your prospect list and never even have a good conversation.

It’s a less convenient channel than cold email, where your prospect can read and reply to it in their own time.

Be Prepared to Leave Lots of Voicemails

60% of cold calls go into voicemail. That means you need to be ready with a good voicemail script, and accept that you could have days where you don’t manage to speak to as many potential customers as you wanted to, through no fault of your own.

If you leave a voicemail and someone doesn’t reply, you can send them an email, or give them a call at a later date.

Expensive, Hard to Automate, and Unscalable

With cold calling, you’ll struggle to automate many parts of the process.

The most time-consuming part – talking on the phone, is impossible to automate.

If you want to reach out to 1000 prospects, you have to make 1000 calls.

That said, you can use tools like Aircall to automate parts of the process.

You can use Aircall to call prospects with a single click, instead of dialing out long phone numbers all day.

Tools like Gong can pull insights and topics mentioned on your calls to give you a report of what areas you could focus on more, or less.

So, despite cold calling’s potential, if you’re a small agency or business without a sales team, you may not want cold calling to be your only outbound sales channel.

It may be more effective if you use it as an extra touchpoint in your sales process.

For example, in your cold email sequence, you could add a call step.

If you’ve integrated QuickMail with your cold calling software, you can call prospects with a single click, and see your call script on the same screen.


Adding call touchpoints is a powerful way to boost your reply rate, and ensure you get in touch with more prospects than would be possible if you only used cold calling, or cold email.

Higher Chances of Gatekeepers

High-level decision-makers are hard to reach via the phone.

For example, most C-level or high-level decision-makers will have gatekeepers like personal assistants or secretaries that you’ll need to go through.

You might hear objections like:

  • She/he is in a meeting right now
  • Can I get your name, number, and reason for calling? They’ll get back to you if they need anything.
  • Sorry, he/she is out of the office today.

You need to prepare to deal with gatekeepers. Always be friendly, and accept that it’s part of the process. If you annoy the gatekeeper by being too pushy, they’re not going to be on your side.

Prepare simple answers you can use that agitate a pain point for the decision-maker.

Try to avoid leaving the call without a clear next step.

Ask the person you reached when the best time to call is, or if you can have their email address.

It’s going to take effort, but that’s what it takes to reach key decision-makers and use cold calling to get more leads.

How Effective is Cold Emailing?

Cold emailing is still one of the most effective ways to generate new leads for your business.

80% of buyers prefer to be contacted via email.

It’s a channel that prospects like because it’s low commitment.

They don’t need to reply immediately (like with cold calling), and they have a chance to review your company before getting back to you.

It’s also scalable, personal, and has conversion rates that rival cold calling.

Let’s dig into why it’s still such a powerful channel.

Why Choose Cold Email?

If you want to avoid sitting on your phone all day, calling thousands of leads and spending your day leaving voicemails, then cold emailing is the way to go.

Highly Scalable

One of the best things about cold email is that it allows you to reach as many prospects as you want in a time and cost-effective way.

You can send personalized emails out much faster than you can make calls, thanks to cold email tools like QuickMail.

You can automatically follow-up, log replies, and quickly add new prospects to campaigns as and when you need to.

This makes cold email perfect for business owners who want a sales channel that offers a way to engage with prospects at scale but maintains a high level of personalization in every email to boost reply rates.

Convenient and Unintrusive for Prospects

People don’t like to be interrupted by sales reps, and that’s always a risk with cold calling.

Even if someone doesn’t expect your email, they’re not going to be interrupted by it. They can check their inbox when they have time, and review your sales pitch whenever they want to.

If they don’t get back to you, you can always schedule an automatic follow-up to go out 3-5 days after your initial email.

In QuickMail, just add another email step in your campaign.

Make sure to add a ‘Wait’ step, then, schedule your next email.

Aim to find a new angle to approach from. This could be touching on a different pain point, mentioning a case study you have, or including more details about how you can help.

It’s a simple way to boost your reply rates, and our data on millions of emails show that over half of replies come from follow-ups.

Everyone Checks Their Emails

Even CEOs at the biggest companies check their emails.

If you can source email addresses, you’re almost guaranteed to get your message in front of your prospect.

Compared to channels like paid ads where you have no guarantee your prospect sees your content, it’s a much better way to get your message out.

That said, there are still challenges to be aware of.

Downsides of Cold Emailing

Bad Cold Emails Could be Seen as Spam

57% of people who receive cold emails see it as spam.

But, there’s a simple way around that.

Write genuinely good cold emails.

If you’re writing un-personalized, generic emails that don’t address your prospects’ pain points, you won’t get results.

You’ll be marked as spam, or have your email deleted.

To get results with cold email, treat every message you send as if it was only being sent to that person. Use merge tags to customize fields, and write custom opening lines or P.S. notes at the end of your email.

You’ll instantly stand out in your prospects’ inbox and won’t need to worry about being labeled as a spammer.

Hard to Stand Out in a Crowded Inbox

How many emails have you received in the last 24 hours?

Chances are, it’s a lot.

According to Campaign Monitor, the average person receives over 121 emails per day.

If your email subject line and opening snippet aren’t compelling or interesting, you’re not going to stand out, and replying will fall to the bottom of your prospects’ list of priorities.

Direct Call-To-Actions are Easy to Ignore

If your call-to-action is a high commitment, such as:

  • Do you have 30 minutes for a call on {{day}}?
  • What will it take to have 25 minutes on your calendar next week?
  • Who would you recommend I speak with to take this forward?

CTAs like these take energy to reply to. Asking someone for 20-30 minutes of their time is a big ask.

To encourage people to reply, make your CTA lower commitment.

Use a simple question like:

  • Is {{topic}} on your radar at the moment?
  • Would you be open to a high-level call to learn more?
  • Should I coordinate with your assistant?

These are all easier to reply to for your prospect.

They can see you’re not being overly pushy in the opening email, and you’ll get more replies.

Comparing Cold Email vs Cold Calling: Which is Better?

Both channels are effective. Here’s a brief summary to help you understand which channel is better, depending on the situation.

When Should You Cold Call?

You should use cold call if:

  • You anticipate there might be a lot of questions upfront from prospects
  • You want to go for a strong ask (e.g requesting a meeting, a demo, or a trial)
  • If your buyer persona prefers to be contacted via call
  • If you haven’t received a reply to your opening cold emails

When Should You Cold Email?

You should cold email if:

  • You need a scalable, personalized channel
  • You need a sales channel that works while you work on other parts of your business
  • You know your buyer checks their emails regularly
  • Your call-to-action can be quickly answered

4 Tools to Supercharge Your Cold Calling

As you’re growing your cold calling operation, you’ll need tools to help you. Here are four of the most useful.

  • Aircall: Robust call management software, ideal for improving your cold calling productivity
  • Myphoner: Lightweight cold calling software and call CRM
  • Toky: Business phone system combining inbound and outbound call management
  • RingCentral: Manage all of your business phone calls from one place

Cold calling tools like these will help you boost your productivity, but there’s no replacement for the time it takes to talk to potential customers on the phone.

3 Tools to Improve Your Cold Emailing

1. QuickMail

Cold email can’t be done at scale without software to help you.

To send emails in bulk and follow up automatically, use a tool like QuickMail.

Our platform helps you easily create and manage your cold email campaigns from an easy to use campaign builder and dashboard.

You can create complex sequences, integrating cold calls, tasks, and anything else you need.

You’ll see detailed analytics on metrics like email open rates, response rates, bounce rates, and unsubscribe rates, that can help you improve and optimize your campaigns.

As you grow your team, you can add multiple inboxes and manage all of your sales email accounts from one place.

Just click here to start your free trial – our team will be happy to help if you need support along the way.

2. Zapier

If you’re managing multiple outreach campaigns at once, you need to stay organized.

Zapier is the ideal tool to automate boring sales tasks, such as transferring data between your apps (like QuickMail and your CRM).

Simply integrate your tools with Zapier, create your automation workflows, and let the magic happen.

A few useful automation you can create include:

  • Get notified in Slack when a prospect replies
  • Update your CRM records with prospects’ replies

It’s a great way to improve your sales productivity.

3. BuiltWith

Finding and researching prospects to target is a key part of any good sales process, no matter whether you’re cold calling or cold emailing.

BuiltWith is a useful tool to identify your target audience based on the technology used on their company website.

For example, if you’re running an agency helping clients improve their Facebook Ads, you’ll want to identify people running ads in the first place. You can use BuiltWith to identify any site using the Facebook Pixel, and quickly build a list of potential customers.

Combine the Two for Big Results

How can you improve your chances of succeeding with either of these sales prospecting strategies?

The answer:

Combine cold emailing and cold calling.

To fill your pipeline and get more meetings booked, you can combine the scalability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of cold emailing with the control and dynamism of cold calling.

Here’s how:

  1. Use cold emails for the first touch to start a conversation
  2. Follow-up or continue the conversation via a phone call.

It’s simple, but it works.

With this:

  • Your prospect already knows you (and can remember your name when you call) from your email
  • Your prospects are pre-warmed for the call
  • You don’t need to wait for your 5th follow-up email to send to get a reply
  • Speeds up your sales cycle

Wrapping Up

Cold calling and cold emailing are both fantastic ways to get in touch with your prospects.

The best one for you will depend on your business, your customer type, and your goals.

Selling is hard, whether it’s by email or phone. Your success depends on and how much you know about your prospect’s needs, and how patient you are.