Call or Email: Which Sales Outreach Method You Should Use?

BY Rachel Cagle
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Should you email your prospect or should you call them? Ah, welcome to the age-​old debate of how to make first contact with a prospective client. It’s important to pick the right outreach method since, as the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Instead of guessing which method you should use based purely on personal preference or assumptions of the prospect, your decision should be based on research. Here are some tips from Jeff Hoffman, writing for HubSpot, based on data for whether you should call or email prospective clients.

Which Outreach Method You Should Use to Contact Prospective Clients?

What time and day of the week is it?

Statistically,” says Hoffman, “phone connect rates rise as the day progresses, and as the week progresses. In other words, a person is more likely to answer their phone later in the workday and workweek.” So, if you find yourself wanting to contact a prospect after their time zone’s stereotypical lunch hour, you should call them instead of sending an email. In particular, you should reserve this outreach method for Wednesdays, Thursdays, and maybe Fridays. And it’s okay if the prospect doesn’t pick up. Leave an leave an effective voicemail, and you will have a second chance at a phone call with the prospect later.

The researched-​back suggestions for sending outreach emails are a bit different. Hoffman says that cold emails can be sent out any weekday. However, this outreach method works best if you send the email either 10 minutes before or 10 minutes after the top of each hour. This is when prospects are going into and leaving meetings, and looking at their phones as they make the change in physical location.

What’s Your Call to Action?

The outreach method you should be using also depends on what your call to action will be. If you have a strong ask, you should call the prospect. If it’s a weak ask, use an email instead. How do you know which is which?

  • Strong Ask: These require a commitment from the prospect to take action. If you’re asking for a meeting, conference call, or product trial, you’re using a strong ask.
  • Weak Ask: These occur when you are straight up asking the prospect for information instead of having them do something for you. These are less common in prospecting situations.

What's the Prospect's Persona?

Ask much as you don’t want to assume anything about a prospect, there are some commonalities based on age, job type, industry, etc. that you can base your outreach method on.

  • When to call: Use this approach if the prospect is a member of an older generation, works in a customer-​facing role, or is in a more traditional industry.
  • When to send an email: If the prospect is a member of a younger generation, works in a more reserved role (such as IT), or is in a more modern/​less traditional industry.

To learn more about which times of the day and days of the week prospects want to hear from you, check out the details of our Voice of the Buyer survey.

Photo: Clay Banks