How is Cold Emailing Different from Cold Calling? Which One Should You Choose?

Vladislav Podolyako
Mar 07, 2022
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It is never easy to make the first contact with a potential customer: prospects are often unwilling to communicate with you, let alone be at the buying stage. However, this initial connection is highly crucial to the overall success rate of your outreach campaign as this step is where the sales cycle begins. One of the best ways to contact the lead is using cold calls or cold emails.

There is an ongoing debate around the whole cold outreach campaign, and marketers have pretty much divided into two groups: cold callers and cold emailers. The latter community argues that cold calling is an old and ineffective tactic from the past. Cold callers, on the other hand, claim that their technique of reaching out to potential clients is more effective due to its directness. 

But what you should remember about this unspoken conflict in the end is that both methods can be effective because each of them has its pros and cons. After all, the ultimate goal is to ensure that whichever tactic you choose, your leads end up converting into customers. So let’s see how cold emailing and cold calling are different, and when the best time to utilize each of them is. A great kick-off point at this stage is exploring the key differences between the two. Shall we?

Key Differences Between Cold Calls and Cold Emails

Let’s investigate the chief dissimilarities between cold calls and cold emails.

The Level of Personalization

Personalization plays a vital role in the effectiveness of your outreach campaign. In this case, cold calling and cold emailing techniques are slightly different. Here is what we mean:

Cold Calling

The mention of the phrase “cold calling” alone already turns off many leads. When you hear these words, you imagine an annoying sales rep who is trying to sell you something you don’t want. Unfortunately, in most cases, this stereotype is true, turning sales prospecting into a nightmare. However, in comparison to cold emails, cold calls give more space for personalization. When you speak to the potential client directly, you can adjust your marketing strategy “as you go.” Besides, simply talking to someone on the phone enables the cold caller to build a short but personal connection with the prospect. Can you imagine the same level of connection via email? Exactly.

Cold Emailing

While sales emails do not offer this kind of caller-recipient relationship, there is still a chance to create personalization via cold emailing. The thing is, with this tactic, you can incorporate the power of software, and this means automation. You can customize your emails for each recipient and scale your marketing campaign for large audiences – but you can’t talk to a bunch of leads on the phone, right? For this reason, professional marketers never neglect cold emails. On the contrary, they use it – just for different purposes. So to sum up, ideally, you should use both tactics because together, they’ll increase the efficacy of your cold outreach efforts.

The Extent of Disruptiveness to the Client

Keep in mind that with both cold calls and cold emails, you’re disrupting the lead’s daily routine. And although it is almost impossible, you still have to do everything in your power not to annoy the client. Which method is best for this? Keep reading.

Cold Calling

Yes, cold calls can be, and in most cases, are invasive. We’ve all faced the problem: you’re either still sleeping, doing chores or working, and your phone rings. Sometimes, you don’t pick up the phone from an unknown number, but in other cases, you do, thinking it might be important. When that happens, you’re so utterly frustrated because the person on the other side of the line is pushing you to make a purchase you didn’t plan on making. Annoying, right? 

For this reason, cold calling is commonly thought to be an old-school approach. Most prospects aren’t receptive to the offer given by the sales representative because this tactic is too invasive and takes up too much of your precious time. So, to avoid this kind of disruptiveness, think about how you can catch your lead’s attention within the first few seconds of the conversation.

Cold Emailing

Do we even need to explain how cold emailing is less disruptive? The reasons are pretty obvious. First of all, emails are less time-consuming as reading an email takes only several minutes while the average duration of a cold call is at least five minutes. And you don’t need to get lucky and catch the recipient at their desk (with cold calling, on the other hand, you always do). Plus, recipients can read them whenever they want and not adjust their schedule in accordance with the cold caller’s preferences. All of this makes cold emails less invasive and, thus, more pleasant. So pay special attention to your subject line and the prospect will never send your email to a spam folder.

Effectiveness in Collecting Information

Cold outreach got its name for a reason. Let’s be honest, prospects rarely want to communicate, so don’t expect to close deals with a bunch of qualified leads. But you can still do something – you can gather helpful data on them and get acquainted with your target audience. Let’s see which tactic works best for gathering relevant data.

Cold Calling

The benefit of a cold call over email lies in multitasking. Let us explain: when sales reps are speaking directly with a prospect, he is already making a precious personal connection with them. But it doesn’t mean that at the same time, the caller can’t gather information about the lead. Experienced sales reps know how to multitask when it comes to cold outreach. In addition, via a call, you may collect more information than via emails. A well-written sales pitch, accompanied by an individual approach, works miracles. This can hardly be done via cold emailing.

Cold Emailing

But this doesn’t mean that cold emailing can’t be useful in gathering data. First of all, it is time-efficient. What’s more, since it is indeed more challenging to make a decent argument in a text-based contact, emails are super helpful in getting a precise answer to just one question. So, if you only want one piece of information, go for cold emails. But that isn’t all: Keep in mind that prospects are often caught off-guard with a cold call, which prevents them from giving you a thought-through and detailed response. On the other hand, when emailing, leads are able to form their reply correctly – whether it’s positive or negative. 

Success Rate

In terms of success, these outreach techniques also slightly differ.

Cold Calling

If you ask any prospect, they’ll most likely tell you that cold calling is useless. Yes, making cold calls and receiving cold calls are both challenging. In fact, the success rate of phone calls is only 0.3%. The reason is pretty obvious: you can’t always catch a lead at the desk, and when you do, they’re most likely busy doing their jobs. This way, cold calling is, again, annoying in most cases. Add to this the fact that most sales reps don’t understand their potential customers’ needs and you’ll get the low success rate we’re talking about.

Cold Emailing

Cold emailing, on the other hand, gives you more opportunities to successfully engage with your customer. How do you make your cold emails successful? Actually, it’s not that hard. The recipe includes:

  • a captivating subject line;
  • message content, based on each user’s individual data and pain points;
  • testimonials and positive feedback from previous clients;
  • additional materials, like blog posts, compilations, and useful links for the prospect to get acquainted with your services. 

All these factors highly boost the cold calling response rate and add to the success of the method (up to 3% in success rate). 


Trackability is a cool thing; it helps you get to know your target audience. The good news is that if you explore trackability in the “cold email vs. cold call” spectrum, they’ll both show great results. And with the right software at hand, you’ll significantly improve your cold outreach.

Cold Calling

Powerful automation tools can assist you in tracking your calls. In a nutshell, they enable your sales team to trace things like the average cold call time, prospect response rate, total number of outgoing calls over a certain period of time, and many other aspects of cold calling that would be difficult to measure manually. In addition, with most cold calling software, you can automate your dialing process, record calls, and inspect the analytics

Cold Emailing

Decent email tracking software can make many outreach procedures more effortless. For example, you can trace crucial cold email metrics, like the email click-through rate, open rate, amount of subscribers and unsubscribers, and so on. Moreover, such marketing automation software offers a high level of personalization and automation features, helping you gain valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your outreach strategy.


After almost all of the work is done, it’s time to scale your outreach campaign. Here’s how cold calling and cold emailing are helpful in scaling.

Cold Calling

You can’t expect every salesperson to be awesome at cold calls. Yes, you can tutor your sales reps until they’re pros at making phone calls, but this approach isn’t exactly advantageous time- and moneywise. Then, there’s an option to hire more sales reps so that your cold calling efforts are scaled. But new employees also won’t work for free, right? And yes, they’d also need further training to bring some decent results. This is why cold calling might not be your best option in terms of lead generation scalability.

Cold Emailing

You got this right: cold emailing works better for scaling. This tactic is way cheaper and easier to scale in comparison to a cold call. Can you imagine how many effective emails you could send within the duration of one call with a prospect? And the best part is: there’s no need to hire additional employees to scale your cold email campaigns. In this “cold email vs. cold call” battle, the winner is a cold email.

Okay, now that you’re familiar with the key differences between cold calls and emails, let’s take a look at some exciting statistics.

Some Useful Statistics on the Efficacy of Cold Emailing and Cold Calling 

  • During a phone call, you only have around seven minutes to make the prospect interested;
  • If you’re looking for the best days to make phone calls, consider Wednesday and Thursday. As for the time of day, you may want to contact the clients either right before lunch (somewhere around noon) or closer to the end of the workday (around 5 pm);
  • Click-through and open rates skyrocket if you send your personalized emails during late mornings or afternoons;
  • Call-to-actions are very underrated: an average office worker doesn’t want to arrange a meeting with you, they want you to hear about their problems. This is why cold email CTAs inquiring about the customer’s interest and pain points perform better than those asking “When is the best time for you to talk?”;
  • Recipients open only around 24% of cold email pitches;
  • Cold outreach isn’t easy: on average, it takes as many as six attempts for most salespeople to connect with the lead or at least arrange a meeting;
  • Approximately half of sales specialists don’t contact the prospect with a follow-up call after the first cold call over the phone;

Interesting, huh? Well, keep these facts in mind while choosing your cold outreach strategy, which we are going to discuss now.

Should I Opt for a Cold Call or Cold Email Strategy?

We know how overwhelming it can be to decide between cold calls and cold emails. Below are some tips facilitating the cold outreach process.

Set a Goal

What’s your main objective for the first contact with the client? Arranging a meeting? Collecting information? Hearing their feedback? Deciding what you want from the client makes all the difference. Then, read the key dissimilarities once again. Both cold calling and emailing have their pros and cons, don’t they? Start from there. If your goal is to collect several pieces of information, it’s smart to opt for a phone call. This is when a cold call might be your best option. And vice versa; if you want just a single piece of info from the prospect, go with an email. Sales prospecting isn’t that hard when you know precisely what you want.

Know Your Customers

Knowing your buyer persona is extremely crucial to how they end up perceiving you. Why? Because customers usually prefer various ways of communication. Some like to speak over the phone while others never pick up calls, only answering emails when it’s convenient for them. These preferences depend on multiple factors, like their age, profession, or industry. For instance, millennials prefer to use email as a means of communication. By comparison, older people say they’d rather pick up your phone call as “typing the letters is too much.” Remember: each prospect’s time is a precious thing that a sales rep should respect. So ask your prospects directly, analyze statistical data, or carry out questionnaires – do whatever it takes to find how each segment wants to communicate and contact your leads in ways that are comfortable to them.

Consider the Client’s Attitude

How are things moving along with your customers? Are they responsive and ready to make a purchase? Do you feel like they’re willing to close the deal? High-level buyers usually only need a checkpoint to make sure they possess all the information needed to close the deal and are aware of your product’s benefits. In this case, it’s best to send a short personalized email. But not all prospects are responsive. Most of them remain on the fence about your product until the last minute. This is the time to call them. In this scenario, time is everything, and if your lead is in doubt, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and ask them whatever information you want to get. The privilege of sales calls in this case is that you can immediately get a direct answer. 

Cold Emailing and Cold Calling Tools to Boost Your Productivity in General

Whatever approach you end up choosing, it’s helpful to use automation tools to speed up the sales process. Check out our list of top software programs to boost your cold outreach campaign and take your closing skills to the next level.

The software uses artificial intelligence to analyze open, click-through, and response rates. Basically, Folderly makes sure spam filters don’t recognize your emails as “junk” and will go straight to the intended recipients’ inbox. They’re familiar with all anti-spam laws and know how to deal with them. So with this tool, the right person will get the relevant content at the right time, which means you’ll close more deals.

  • Hubspot Email Tracking Software

With Hubspot’s cold email tracker, you’ll know exactly when the lead has opened your email. The tool improves your email marketing efforts as sales teams no longer have to guess how useful and catchy their letters are. Plus, it’s free.


Sales prospecting has never been easier – thanks to tools like this. With, you can now manage all your sales activity, including calls, emails, and things like week progresses. The software keeps all your data in one place, paving the way for a new email marketing era

So don’t be anxious about choosing the wrong strategy, because they’re both effective – just pick the right tool and you’re good to go!

Vladislav Podolyako
Vladislav Podolyako
Founder & CEO
Vlad’s decades of entrepreneurial wisdom and business building experience have allowed him to successfully mentor a diverse group of business owners, entrepreneurs in growing their companies. A recognized expert in the areas of transforming organizational culture and leadership development, B2B Sales, Marketing, spent more than 10 years building technology products, with a background in communication networks and electronic device engineering.

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