Cold Email vs. Cold Call: Which Is More Effective For B2B in 2024?

In the world of B2B sales, the debate between cold emailing and cold calling efficacy has been longstanding. Despite both strategies having their proponents, the question of which is more effective for B2B in 2024 still lingers!

As the landscape of B2B sales strategies continues to evolve, it is crucial for business owners to understand the pros and cons of each sales approach. In this article, we will delve into the world of cold emailing and cold calling, and discuss how to integrate these strategies effectively to maximise sales opportunities in the space.

What is a cold email?

A cold email is an unsolicited email sent to a receiver without prior contact. It is essentially the ‘email equivalent’ of cold calling. 

That being said, cold emailing is a sales technique that revolves around reaching out to leads or potential customers via email without any prior contact. Its core goal is to introduce your business, highlight your product or service offerings, and ideally elicit a response from the recipient. 

Read: Unlocking the Secrets of Cold Email Lead Generation: A Comprehensive Guide

The advantages of cold emailing for B2B lead generation

Cold emails can be a powerful tool for customer acquisition and B2B lead generation when executed strategically and with careful targeting. Let’s explore the advantages of cold emailing in the B2B space:

Higher acceptance rate

Compared to cold calls, cold emails tend to have a higher acceptance rate among recipients. Email is a medium that allows prospects to read and respond at their convenience without feeling pressured, like during a phone call. This flexibility increases the likelihood of your email being opened and responded to.


With the help of email automation tools, one can send cold emails to hundreds or even thousands of prospects in a short period of time. This scalability is crucial for businesses looking to reach a large audience and generate leads at scale.


Cold emailing allows one to include more detailed messages about their business offerings compared to cold calls. 

A B2B marketer can provide additional information, and showcase success stories, giving prospects a better understanding of a company’s services. 

This ability to convey information efficiently can be beneficial in capturing the attention and interest of potential customers.

Recipients can respond in their own time

One of the major advantages of cold emails is that recipients can respond at their own pace. This gives them the freedom to consider your offer and make a decision without feeling pressured. As a result, cold emails are typically opened and answered more frequently than cold calls.

Ability to personalise

Cold emails offer a greater scope for personalisation compared to cold calls. One can create a more personalised and engaging email by including details such as the recipient’s name, or company. Or even mentioning something recent or relevant about them. 

Consequently, personalisation increases the chances of your email being read and responded to.

Ability to use automation tools

Email automation tools allow B2B marketers to streamline their cold email campaigns, saving time and effort. These tools enable them to schedule emails, track open and response rates, and automate follow-ups, ensuring cold email outreach is consistent and efficient. 

You can track key metrics

Email tools provide detailed data on the performance of your cold email campaigns. One can track metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and response rates. This data allows marketers to analyse the effectiveness of their campaigns and make data-driven decisions to improve their results.

More cost-effective

Compared to cold calling, cold emailing is more cost-effective, as cold calling requires dedicated salespeople to make calls, which can be expensive and time-consuming. 

In contrast, once you set up an email marketing campaign, you can automatically send out emails to a large number of potential clients without the need for additional manpower. 

In essence, cold emailing allows you to reach thousands or even millions of people at a fraction of the time and cost it would take to make individual calls.

What is a cold call?

Cold calling is an iterative sales technique that involves reaching out to leads or potential customers via phone calls without any prior contact. 

Despite being unsolicited, the purpose of a cold call is to introduce a business, present product or service offerings, and engage prospects in conversation. 

The advantages of cold calling

Cold calling can be a highly potent method for generating new leads, building relationships with prospects, and increasing sales. Let’s explore the advantages of cold calling in the B2B space, shall we?

Personal touch to build rapport

Cold calling allows for a personal touch that can help build rapport with prospects from the very first conversation. By speaking directly to a potential customer, one can convey their enthusiasm, passion, and genuine interest in helping them. 

This personal connection can make a significant difference in establishing trust and ultimately closing a sale.

Understanding voice cues

During a cold call, you have the advantage of listening to the prospect’s voice and picking up on subtle cues and tones. This allows you to tailor your responses and adjust your approach in real-time. 

By actively listening and responding to the prospect’s reactions, you can build a deeper understanding of their needs and customise your sales pitch accordingly.

Can gather real-time feedback

Cold calling provides an opportunity for real-time feedback. Prospects can ask questions, voice concerns, or express interest immediately, allowing for a more dynamic and interactive conversation. 

This feedback can be invaluable in understanding the prospect’s needs and objections and adjusting your approach to address them effectively.

Effective in dealing with complex sales scenarios

Cold calling is particularly effective in dealing with complex sales scenarios that require more extensive explanation or clarification. Unlike cold emails, where you have limited space to convey information, cold calls allow for a two-way channel of communication. 

This enables a B2B marketer to answer questions, provide detailed explanations, and address any concerns or objections the prospect may have.

Comparing success rates and response times

Both cold emailing and cold calling can be highly effective in generating leads and closing sales, but their success rates and response times can vary. It is important to analyse these factors to determine which method is more effective for your specific business needs.

Success rates: Cold emailing has been shown to have higher success rates compared to cold calling in certain B2B marketing scenarios. Besides being less time-consuming than cold calls, cold emails are more scalable with the ability to send several emails in the time it would take to make a single cold call.

Response times: Cold calls generally receive faster responses than cold emails since all communication happens in real-time. However, cold emails may have a longer timeline for responses as prospects can read and respond at their convenience. This flexibility often leads to higher open and response rates for cold emails.

Engagement levels: Cold calling allows for immediate engagement and interaction with prospects, providing an opportunity to build rapport and address objections in real-time. Cold emails, on the other hand, can provide more detailed information and context, allowing prospects to make an informed decision at their own pace.

The impact on the sales funnel: Cold calling is often more effective in the later stages of the sales funnel, where direct conversations can help close deals. Cold emailing, on the other hand, is effective in the early stages of the sales funnel. In this stage, a marketer can introduce their brand, generate initial interest, and move prospects further down the funnel.

It is important to note that the success rates and response times of both methods may vary depending on factors like industry, target market, and the quality of your leads. 

As such, it’s recommended to analyse your specific business needs and test both methods to determine which one yields the best results for your B2B sales efforts.

Challenges and limitations

Despite their pros, both sales strategies typically manifest challenges and limitations. Let’s take a look at some, shall we?

Cold emailing

  • Cold emails may sometimes face challenges in reaching the recipient’s inbox due to stringent spam filters. Read: Elevating Cold Email Deliverability for Optimal B2B Engagement
  • The asynchronous nature of email communication means that immediate responses are not guaranteed.
  • Building personal rapport through written communication can sometimes be exceedingly challenging.

Cold calling

  • Most people dislike cold calls, leading to call avoidance and potential negative associations with the brand.
  • Cold calling demands significant resources, making it expensive to scale for larger audiences.
  • The resource-intensive nature of cold calling requires a dedicated team, adding to operational costs.

It’s noteworthy that despite these challenges, cold emailing often presents a more favourable landscape with higher success rates and a more cost-effective approach. 

Integrating cold email and cold call strategies

The synergy between cold email and cold call strategies can amplify the effectiveness of B2B outreach. By strategically combining the strengths of both methods, businesses can create a cohesive multi-channel approach that caters to diverse audience preferences.

Utilising both cold email and phone calls can help create diversified touchpoints, increasing the chances of engagement. For example, one can start the conversation with a tailored cold email and then make a calculated cold call.

Best practices for cohesive multi-channel outreach

To effectively leverage both sales approaches: 

  • Ensure consistency in messaging across emails and calls to reinforce brand identity.
  • Implement timely follow-ups to maintain momentum and demonstrate commitment to potential clients.
  • Be ready to adapt the outreach strategy based on prospect interactions, whether through emails or calls.

Read: Mastering Cold Outreach Follow-Ups for Enhanced B2B Engagement

Making the right choice for your business

Choosing between cold emails and cold calls should be a strategic decision based on your business size, industry, and target market. While both methods have their merits, a data-driven approach can guide you in making the right choice for each stage of your sales funnel.

When should you use cold emailing?

Cold emails are most effective in two B2B sales processes, namely:

  • Lead generation: Cold emailing is highly effective in the initial stages of lead generation, where a non-intrusive approach is crucial.
  • Nurturing relationships: Utilise cold emails to nurture relationships. You can do this to provide valuable content and stay top-of-mind with potential clients.

When should you use cold calls?

Cold emails are most effective in two B2B sales elements, namely:

  • Closing deals: Cold calling can be instrumental in the final stages of closing deals, especially where a personal touch and real-time communication are paramount.
  • Complex sales scenarios: For complex sales scenarios where detailed discussions are necessary, cold calls can convey information more effectively.

While both cold emails and cold calls have their place in the B2B sales toolkit, the evolving preferences of the modern audience give cold emailing an upper hand in the B2B sphere.


While both cold emailing and cold calling have their merits, it is important to analyse your business goals, target market, and available resources to make an informed decision. 

Consider testing both methods and tracking key metrics to determine which one yields the best results for your specific business needs. 

Both cold emailing and cold calling can be effective strategies for B2B sales. 

By understanding the advantages and limitations of each method, integrating them effectively, businesses can maximise their outreach efforts and increase their chances of success in the B2B market in 2024.

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