Settling the Big Debate – Cold Calling vs Social Selling

Settling the Big Debate – Cold Calling vs Social Selling

There is a long-standing debate raging among sales professionals: Which is more effective, social selling or cold calling?

I am not going to bore you to death with stats. Instead, I’m going to give you some insight that I have gained as a Sales Professional who has sat on both sides of the fence for over a decade. I’ve viewed multiple posts, blogs and podcasts to try and determine a winner for myself.

I came across a recent Hubspot blog which appeared to settle the debate in favour of social selling, boldly stating the “hate” for cold calling. The blog consisted of impressive conversion figures, with the origins of these stats referenced, however, what is often left unclear is the industry, target, sales cycle, resource or end result of these stats’ origin.

Without knowing the full picture, how can we possibly judge?

My background includes a period as an Event Manager for the largest sales and marketing expo in Europe. At this event, exhibitors included direct sales people, cold callers and, what appeared to be, the more passive social sellers. There has always been one impression that stuck with me after this event. Whilst the direct sellers approached any delegate who came within talking distance, the social sellers would wait to be approached. I’ll leave it to you to conclude whose stands were busier…

Now, it seems that these characteristics are commonplace, as shown to me by a recent experience. A well-known sales trainer recently posted on LinkedIn, “I have an associate looking for support in their telesales process.”

The post had received dozens of comments and recommendations, however, with the benefit of having their phone number, I picked up the phone and introduced Air, asking how we could help.

I was astounded to find out that from a 2-day old post requesting TELESALES support I was the first person to PICK UP THE PHONE and have a conversation with them. Whilst multiple people had attempted to social sell, guess what? The prospect wanted a conversation and, funnily enough, I was the only one introduced to their associate.


Air Marketing

The team at Air Marketing


So how do we settle the debate?

Well, in my opinion, it’s simple. There is no debate, and nor should we be comparing. Both cold calling and social selling have their place in any B2B sales process, it’s not a matter of which one is better. When used together, they maximise the effectiveness, reach, efficiency and quality of your process. Each prospective client will buy in a different way and their more likely to notice your company if you get on their radar in 2 or 3 different ways.

There is though, one key difference between the two. It seems that more and more people want to social sell, and fewer people like or want to be making cold calls in today’s market. So, if you want to stand out quickly, cold calling should never be ignored.

Here at Air, we have multiple ways to win new business for ourselves and our clients. We run targeted tactical campaigns across email, social, traditional and phone-based channels. I will social sell, but I will still pick up the phone and cold call too.

One shameless stat I will give you is that we saw 357% growth in revenue in our second year in business, and we’re on target to grow by more than 100% again in our third year. And do you know why? Because wherever our clients and their customers are, and however they like to buy, we ensure we’re there too. Simple.

Written by Simon Murthwaite, New Business Manager, Air Marketing Group

Visit or contact 0345 241 3038

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