Each approach has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the best choice for your business will depend on your goals, target audience, and personal experience.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at each of these methods and explore the pros and cons of each. When you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to start putting your new cold outreach strategy into motion right away.
Cold calling is a traditional method of reaching out to potential customers by phone. It involves identifying prospects, finding their phone numbers and calling them without any prior relationship or contact.
It can be a very effective way to reach a potential lead quickly, and have a much more personable conversation in real time that more easily builds rapport. That being said, cold calling is definitely not suitable for the majority of prospects.
While almost 6.3% of cold sales generate sales, it’s important to remember that 63% of customers find cold calls annoying, and only 15% listen to voicemails from SDRs.
SDRs can more easily close sales because they get to build a more personal connection with prospects. They speak to them directly so they can get a better sense of their needs, pain points, and priorities. It’s also quicker for them to qualify these leads and move them through the sales funnel because they receive the necessary information instantly.
On the other hand, many prospects will be resistant to unsolicited calls and unwilling to engage with a sales representative who contacts them in this way. In addition, keep note of the fact that cold calling is more time-consuming than the other two outreach channels on this list, and especially if it takes a longer time to reach a large number of prospects.
Cold calling is more expensive than the other two options. Making it a good choice only if you are selling a service or a tool with a higher price tag.
LinkedIn InMail is a messaging system within the LinkedIn platform that allows you to send messages to people who are not directly connected to you, such as the 2nd or 3rd degree LinkedIn connections.
Since they can be easily personalized and targeted to specific prospects, in a social media setting where you tend to appear more human than on email, it can be a very effective way of reaching out to potential customers. And this is reflected in the stats.
As a matter of fact, on average, InMails receive a 10-25% open rate from prospects which is some 300% higher than emails with the exact same content.
Why? It’s simply a less intrusive way to contact your prospects. Because it’s an online message, recipients can choose to respond or ignore the message at their own convenience (vs. a cold call that can come at any time and demands immediate attention).
It further proves useful as a lead generator (vs. cold calling or emailing) because it allows you to reach a specific target audience, based on a set of filters that you can set, such as people who work in a particular industry or hold a certain job title.
That being said, it does come with certain limitations, the biggest of which is the limited number of InMails that you can send per month. If you’re looking to reach a large number of prospects quickly, it may not be the best solution for you.
Finally, if you don’t personalize your InMails, it’s very easy to come across as generic as more and more salespeople and recruiters are using the same channels.
It’s important to know as well, that you know if your targeted persona is active on LinkedIn. If not, this type of outreach might not be the best choice. It can still be a good, supportive channel but not a main way of getting in front of your prospects.
Cold emailing involves sending unsolicited emails to potential customers with the aim of generating interest in your product or service. It can be an effective way to reach a large number of prospects quickly and at a relatively low cost.
While email may seem somewhat outdated to some, it’s still considered one of the foundations of doing business. 80% of people want you to contact them by email while 59% day they prefer cold emails to LinkedIn InMails.
As we’ve already noted, emails let your prospects read them and reply to them when they find time, in contrast to cold calling.
On the other side of the coin, we have InMails. These messages can appear more human, sure. But for the same reasons, it can feel intrusive to be contacted by strangers on a platform that is considered a social media. This is something to keep in mind depending on your buyer persona. On the other hand, if you have been active on LinkedIn and your name and face is recognisable, inMail might be effective.
Often, it’s better to just send an email.
To start with, it’s highly scalable. With the right tools and strategies in place, you can send thousands of personalized emails per day thereby reaching a large number of prospects fast. Because of this, it’s also a much more cost-effective way to generate leads and move them through the sales funnel. Better suited for SMBs, solopreneurs and low-cost services or goods.
However, cold emailing also has some challenges.
Firstly, there is a risk that your emails will be marked as spam if they’re not targeted, personalized, or relevant to the recipient. Secondly, without the right automation tools, it can quickly become time-consuming and inefficient.
Which Approach is Best?
Deciding which outreach method to use depends on a few factors, including your industry, the type of product or service you offer, and your target audience, their goals and personal preferences.
We’ll discuss this in detail and lay out some general guidelines for you to consider. However, it will be up to you to make a final decision on the approach you’ll use — likely include a combination of these methods.
✅ Best for high-touch sales processes where building a personal connection is critical
✅ Best for B2B sales, especially for industries with a high price point or long sales cycle
✅ Works best when you have a targeted list of prospects and can personalize your pitch accordingly. So very good for ABS and bolt-on strategies.
✅ Works great as a second step of a lead generation process, after a lead has shown an interest (like filled in a website form or downloaded a lead magnet).
✅ Best for B2B sales, especially for targeting specific individuals or companies
✅ Works well when you have a mutual connections or share a group with your prospect. Even better if you have already engaged on the platform and your name is recognisable.
✅ Works best when you can personalize your message and offer a clear value proposition
✅ Best for B2B or B2C sales, especially for industries with a lower price point or shorter sales cycle
✅ Works well for reaching a large audience, especially when you have a well-curated email list
✅ Can be effective when you offer a free trial, demo or other low-commitment offer
Which one fits the bill the best? Why not use a combination of these strategies?
For example, you may start with a cold email to generate interest, followed by a LinkedIn message to build rapport, and a cold call to close the deal.
Just make sure you’ve the right email and phone number for your targeted prospect.
How to Find Prospects’ Emails & Phone Numbers via LinkedIn
All you’ll need is the ZeroIn web app/browser extension. It works with both free and Sales Navigator LinkedIn profiles.
It enables you to quickly locate verified business emails, phone numbers, and company information with just one click. The platform also includes a simple CRM system, which allows you to organize and manage your potential leads effectively.
How does ZeroIn find prospect emails and phone numbers?
ZeroIn leverages our continuously expanding database to match your search results or individual profile views to provide you with a comprehensive view of your prospects.
A lot more than just phone number and email address, it allows you to access up to 26 pieces of information related to people on LinkedIn, including verified business emails.
With our unique 3-point verification system, you can rest assured that the email addresses you find are accurate and valid. Whether you’re searching for information on individual LinkedIn profiles or in bulk, ZeroIn simplifies the process.
You can also upload existing email lists to the User Portal for re-verification, and export your leads in various formats, such as CSV, XLS, and Google Drive. And, with the “single email verification” feature, you can quickly check if a specific email is still valid.
When you have that set up, you can connect ZeroIn to an email automation software such as Lemlist, Reply.io or Woodpecker to truly automate your LinkedIn prospecting.
With the accurate phone number and email address, you’ll be set up for cold outreach on the channel you determine works best for your buyer personas — whichever of the three it may be.