Comparing Cold Email and Cold Call: Effectiveness in 2024

Created On:
December 25, 2023
Updated On:
February 20, 2024
Cold Email Vs. Cold Call: Which is More Effective in 2024 | Smartlead

Choosing the right channel to reach your prospects is confusing, especially with a bunch of communication channels. 

Both cold calling and cold emailing are beneficial for lead generation but they come with their own pitfalls and limitations. No matter how you communicate, cold outreach is essential for business growth. 

If you are confused between cold emails and cold calls, don’t worry. In this blog post, we have addressed cold email vs. cold call. 

Let’s dive in. 

Cold Email Vs. Cold Call: What’s the Difference? 

Cold calling and cold emailing are strategies used to prospect new leads and initiate contact with potential customers, but they differ in their approaches, mediums, and dynamics. 

In both approaches, the goal is to reach net new leads and guide them through the sales funnel. The choice between cold calling and cold emailing depends on factors such as the nature of the product or service, target audience preferences, and the stage of the sales process. Each method has its advantages, and the effectiveness may vary based on the team's resources and talents.

Let's explore the distinctions between these two methods:

1. Medium and Setting

Cold Calling: Involves reaching out to leads via phone conversations. Modern cold calling often utilizes auto-dialers and occurs in a borderless, virtual setting. Traditional methods involved physical visits, like door-to-door sales, which are now less common.

Cold Emailing: Involves sending unsolicited emails to prospects. Cold emails are delivered electronically, making it a more scalable and less intrusive method compared to physical visits.

2. Nature of Interaction

Cold Calling: Requires direct, real-time conversations with leads. Sales reps engage in verbal communication to present offerings, address queries, and move towards closing deals.

Cold Emailing: Involves asynchronous communication. The interaction occurs through email exchanges, allowing recipients to respond at their convenience. This method provides more flexibility in communication timing.

3. Call to Action (CTA)

Cold Calling: Offers limited room for testing and experimenting with CTAs. The dynamic nature of phone conversations requires a more immediate and spontaneous approach.

Cold Emailing: Allows for A/B testing and experimentation with CTAs. Sales teams can analyze responses and optimize their approach based on data and insights.

4. Funnel Stage

Cold Calling: Best suited for leads in the later stages of the sales funnel. It is effective for direct conversations aimed at closing deals.

Cold Emailing: Works well for introducing the brand, initiating sales meetings, and moving the conversation forward. Ideal for engaging leads in the earlier stages of the sales funnel.

5. Response Time

Cold Calling: Receives faster responses as communication occurs in real-time during the call.

Cold Emailing: Involves a longer response timeline. Follow-up emails are often necessary to maintain engagement after the initial contact.

6. Personalization

Cold Calling: Limited scope for personalization during the call. Personalization is often based on real-time conversation dynamics.

Cold Emailing: Offers greater scope for personalization. Salespeople can create tailor-made emails addressing individual prospects, leveraging data and insights.

7. Buyer Personality

Cold Calling: Tends to be perceived as more intrusive. Buyers with outgoing attitudes may prefer this method.

Cold Emailing: Less disruptive to a lead's routine, allowing them to review and respond at their convenience.

When to Use Cold Emailing Over Cold Calling

The choice between cold calling and cold emailing can significantly impact your outreach strategy. Here are five scenarios where cold emailing proves more effective than its counterpart:

1. Generating Sales Opportunities at Scale

If your aim is to scale your outreach efforts, cold emailing emerges as the clear winner. Its scalability lies in the ability to build automated workflows and email templates tailored to different sales funnel stages. A case in point is Belkins' approach for AMI Global, where a targeted cold email strategy reached 6,700 leads with an impressive 81% email open rate. The framework involved studying the ideal market, creating compelling email templates, and employing a tailored targeting approach.

2. Measuring and Improving Sales-Outreach Performance

Cold emailing demands a strategic and analytical approach. Unlike the spray-and-pray method, constant tracking of key performance indicators (KPIs) is essential. Metrics such as open rates, unsubscribes, response rates, and conversion rates provide insights into the success of your email campaigns. A/B testing becomes a game-changer for optimizing your cold email strategy.

3. Maximizing Outbound ROI with a Lean Team

For startups and lean sales teams, cold emails present a higher return on investment compared to cold calls. The lower upfront investment allows you to achieve significant results even with a smaller team. Focusing on refining your messaging is crucial before scaling up outreach efforts. 

4. Booking More Meetings Without Sounding Intrusive

Cold calls are often perceived as intrusive, making cold emails a preferred choice for securing meetings.TBH, cold calling can seem intrusive in nature. Cold emails provide recipients with more control over the conversation, increasing the likelihood of securing meetings. The longer life cycle of an email allows for strategic follow-ups, reinforcing your offer and capturing attention.

5. Meeting Prospects Where They Are

In a world dominated by social media, email remains a steadfast communication channel. The absence of constantly updating algorithms and fluctuating reach makes email a reliable platform for reaching leads. Cold emails, meeting prospects in their inbox, drive them closer to deals, and enhance brand awareness. Even if prospects don't require your product/service immediately, they will likely remember your brand when needed.

When to Choose Cold Calling Over Cold Emailing

Cold calling often faces skepticism as an outdated sales technique. However, its efficacy persists in specific scenarios, offering advantages that make it a valuable tool compared to cold emailing.

1. Collecting Critical Sales Intel

Cold calling excels when your market demands in-depth knowledge about prospects. Conversations over the phone provide a personal space to interact openly, gaining insights into pain points, preferences, and personalities. The richness of audible conversations surpasses the information gleaned from one-sided research, facilitating a deeper understanding that proves crucial in tailoring subsequent sales strategies such as product demos and objection handling.

2. Bringing Net-New Leads into the Funnel

When aiming to expand your sales funnel with new leads, cold calling emerges as a powerful strategy. According to RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, 82% of buyers express a willingness to accept meetings through cold calls. The subjective nature of this choice implies that while some individuals prefer phone conversations over emails, others may criticize unexpected calls. Properly trained and skilled sales reps can transform cold calls into engaging conversations, turning potential resistance into genuine interest.

3. Quicker Identification and Qualification of Leads

One notable drawback of cold emails is the extended timeline and the need for multiple follow-ups. Cold calling, on the other hand, accelerates the process, providing a swifter method for prospecting and qualifying leads. With just a couple of calls, sales reps can gauge a prospect's level of engagement and interest. Those who respond positively and express interest are quickly identified as warm leads, streamlining the qualification process.

4. Consistent Iteration and Improvement of Pitches

Cold calling is an iterative process that offers a unique opportunity for consistent practice and improvement. Repetitive dialing provides sales reps with the chance to refine their pitches, gradually building self-confidence and identifying areas for improvement. The seemingly monotonous task becomes a hidden opportunity to perfect the delivery of the sales message, making each call an invaluable practice session.

5. Building Stronger Rapport from the Start

Establishing a strong rapport with prospects from the outset is crucial for long-term relationships. Cold calling, with its direct and personal nature, becomes a great tool for building trust and confidence early in the sales process. When prospects trust the sales team, they are more likely to share vital information about their needs, simplifying the overall sales process. The transparent channel created through phone communication also allows for instant feedback, fostering healthier business relationships.


The dilemma between cold emails and cold calls persists. This blog has dissected the nuances of these two strategies, shedding light on their distinctions, advantages, and ideal applications in 2024.

Cold emailing emerges triumphant for those seeking scalable outreach, analytical insights, and a lean team advantage. The ability to measure, refine, and maximize ROI makes it a potent tool for startups and analytical minds. It excels in securing meetings without sounding intrusive, meeting prospects where they are—in their inbox.

On the flip side, cold calling asserts its dominance in scenarios demanding critical sales intel, net-new lead expansion, quicker lead identification, consistent pitch iteration, and the establishment of immediate rapport. Its power lies in the depth of real-time conversations, the ability to bring fresh leads into the funnel swiftly, and the unique opportunity for iterative improvement.

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Frequently asked questions

General Questions

What is Smartlead's cold email outreach software?

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Smartlead's cold email outreach tool helps businesses scale their outreach efforts seamlessly. With unlimited mailboxes, fully automated email warmup functionality, a multi-channel infrastructure, and a user-friendly unibox, it empowers users to manage their entire revenue cycle in one place. Whether you're looking to streamline cold email campaigns with automated email warmups, personalization fields, automated mailbox rotation, easy integrations, and spintax, improve productivity, or enhance scalability with subsequences based on lead’s intentions, automated replies, and full white-label experience, our cold email tool implifies it in a single solution.

How does the "unlimited mailboxes" feature benefit me?

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Our "unlimited mailboxes" feature allows you to expand your email communications without restrictions imposed by a mailbox limit. This means you won't be constrained by artificial caps on the number of mailboxes you can connect and use. This feature makes Smartlead the best cold email software and empowers you to reach a wider audience, engage with more potential customers, and manage diverse email campaigns effectively.

What do you mean by "unibox to handle your entire revenue cycle"?

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The "unibox" is one of the unique features of Smartlead cold email outreach tool, and it's a game-changer when it comes to managing your revenue cycle. The master inbox or the unibox consolidates all your outreach channels, responses, sales follow-ups, and conversions into one centralized, user-friendly mailbox.

With the "unibox," you gain the ability to:
1. Focus on closing deals: You can now say goodbye to the hassle of logging into multiple mailboxes to search for replies. The "unibox" streamlines your sales communication, allowing you to focus on what matters most—closing deals.

2. Centralized lead management: All your leads are managed from one central location, simplifying lead tracking and response management. This ensures you take advantage of every opportunity and efficiently engage with your prospects.

3. Maintain context: The "unibox" provides a 360-degree view of all your customer messages, allowing you to maintain context and deliver more personalized and effective responses.

How does Smartlead ensure my emails don't land in the spam folder?

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Smartlead, the best cold email marketing tool, ensures your emails reach the intended recipients' primary inbox rather than the spam folder. 

Here's how it works:
1. Our "unlimited warmups" feature is designed to build and maintain a healthy sending reputation for your cold email outreach. Instead of sending a large volume of emails all at once, which can trigger spam filters, we gradually ramp up your sending volume. This gradual approach, combined with positive email interactions, helps boost your email deliverability rates.

2. We deploy high-deliverability IP servers specific to each campaign. 

3. The ‘Warmup’ feature replicates humanized email sending patterns, spintax, and smart replies.
4. By establishing a positive sender reputation and gradually increasing the number of sent emails, Smartlead minimizes the risk of your emails being flagged as spam. This way, you can be confident that your messages will consistently land in the primary inbox, increasing the likelihood of engagement and successful communication with your recipients.

Can I integrate Smartlead with other tools I'm using?

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Certainly, Smartlead is designed for seamless integration with a wide range of tools and platforms. Smartlead offers integration with HubSpot, Salesforce, Pipedrive, Clay, Listkit, and more. You can leverage webhooks and APIs to integrate the tools you use. Try Now!

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What type of businesses sees the most success with Smartlead?

No, there are no limitations on the number of channels you can utilize with Smartlead. Our multi-channel infrastructure is designed to be limitless, allowing you to reach potential customers through multiple avenues without constraints.

This flexibility empowers you to diversify your cold email outreach efforts, connect with your audience through various communication channels, and increase your chances of conversion. Whether email, social media, SMS, or other communication methods, Smartlead's multi-channel capabilities ensure you can choose the channels that best align with your outreach strategy and business goals. This way, you can engage with your prospects effectively and maximize the impact of your email outreach.

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Do you provide me with lead sources?

Smartlead distinguishes itself from other cold email outreach software by focusing on limitless scalability and seamless integration. While many similar tools restrict your outreach capabilities, Smartlead offers a different approach.

Here's what makes us uniquely the best cold email software:

1. Unlimited Mailboxes: In contrast to platforms that limit mailbox usage, Smartlead provides unlimited mailboxes. This means you can expand your outreach without any arbitrary constraints.

2. Unique IP Servers: Smartlead offers unique IP servers for every campaign it sends out. 

3. Sender Reputation Protection: Smartlead protects your sender reputation by auto-moving emails from spam folders to the primary inbox. This tool uses unique identifiers to cloak all warmup emails from being recognized by automation parsers. 

4. Automated Warmup: Smartlead’s warmup functionality enhances your sender reputation and improves email deliverability by maintaining humanized email sending patterns and ramping up the sending volume. 

5. Multi-Channel Emphasis: Smartlead places a strong emphasis on multi-channel outreach. You can reach your prospects where they are with the LinkedIn outreach feature.   With Smartlead’s cold email automation software, you're always one step ahead in your outreach efforts, enjoying the freedom to scale your initiatives and seamlessly integrate with other tools—all while maintaining a focus on maximizing the impact of your outreach.

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How secure is my data with Smartlead?

Ensuring the security of your data is Smartlead's utmost priority. We implement robust encryption methods and stringent security measures to guarantee the continuous protection of your information. Your data's safety is paramount to us, and we are always dedicated to upholding the highest standards of security.

How can I get started with Smartlead?

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Getting started with Smartlead is straightforward! Just head over to our sign-up page and follow our easy step-by-step guide. If you ever have any questions or need assistance, our round-the-clock support team is ready to help, standing by to provide you with any assistance you may require. Sign Up Now!

How can I reach the Smartlead team?

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We're here to assist you! You can easily get in touch with our dedicated support team on chat. We strive to provide a response within 24 hours to address any inquiries or concerns you may have.

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