I've been following an interesting discussion on the Electronic Recruiting Exchange about whether cold calling or emails are most effective for sourcing candidates.Posted by: David Regler @
Whilst the discussion has a recruiting focus, it's equally valid for sales & business development.
Reading the emerging discussion posts, what became apparent was that there seems to be a polarised view on this. Some people say email, some say cold-call..with each citing outstanding results they've had from their respective method.
To me, this isn't a case of "either or"...more like "and both".
Cold calling, sending unsolicited emails, using online networks such as LinkedIn are all valid strategies. Each has it's advantages and disadvantages and, guess what, none of them work 100% of the time with 100% of people.
In my experience, different management levels, and different industries have their own particular quirks. And, of course, it all depends on how compelling your proposition is...and what the outcome is that you're after; appointment, qualified opportunity, passive candidate sourcing...they all put a different spin on your approach.
Truth is, for some client's I've set up great high-level meetings without ever speaking directly to an executive. For others I've accurately sourced passive candidates through LinkedIn. Sometimes it's all been by phone...it's like they didn't know email even exists :-)
Email is certainly not going away, and with the rise of Blackberry's and mobile email devices it's often the only way you'll reach someone for a time-sensitive project.
To me, the quality of your approach counts more than how it's delivered. If it's targeted, simple and compelling (and, of course, the timing's in your favour) then you'll get good results.
The secret is to remain flexible and try something different until you get the results you want.
Much like life, really.