To Call or Email? That is the Question

June 28th, 2011

Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

When Brian Carroll and I present webinars on adding the human touch to lead nurturing, like the ones last month for the B2B Lead Roundtable and Marketo, we inevitably get these questions:

“How often should we call? How often should we email? What should we do first?”

The last question always guides me to the best responses for the first two. That’s why I always call the prospect before sending an email.

First, a phone conversation is a prime opportunity to gain opt-in. You can hear Brian and I role play how it’s done at timestamp 47:34 in the webinar replay from the B2B Lead Roundtable event. Listen in and you’ll be surprised at how natural it is to gain permission to send more information, which, of course, requires an email address.

Second, emails cannot do discovery. An email can’t tell you:

  • Whether recipients are influencers or decision makers
  • Their roles in the company
  • What they’re most interested in knowing
  • Their buying process

In contrast, a thoughtfully planned conversation is the ultimate discovery tool. It can reveal the answers to all of these points so you can identify the best:

  • Follow-up cadence and frequency: You’ll know their buying cycle and how to ideally align contact — phone calls and emails — to it.
  • Content: You’ll know what they care about and why, that’s the knowledge you need to create emails that are meaningful to them.

Third, real-life conversation is the best way to build connection. Thanks to your conversation, prospects will be looking for your email and will be more likely to open it because they know it will have content they can use. Your relationship will be off to a flying start. And, remember, whoever has the strongest relationship ultimately wins the sale.

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