Chilly Response To Cold Email: Sales/Marketing Execs Sending More, Gaining Less

Over half of sales and marketing executives built new relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But email did not help them much, judging by the 2021 Marketing and Sales Relationship Survey, a study from CRM platform Copper, conducted by Engine Insights. 

While 47% of those polled sent more cold emails to prospects with whom they have no relationship, with 37% doing so since the start of the pandemic, 53% say their results were the same as always were and 10% report they were worse. 

Sending patterns have varied depending on the generation. Among millennials, 50% sent cold emails more often, as did 51% of Gen Zers. In contrast, only 37% of Baby Boomers and 34% of Gen Xers did the same. And 41% of millennials sent more cold emails overall -- the highest of all age groups.  

“The average industry response rate for a cold email is abysmally low, and despite this not changing over the past year, the tactic continues to proliferate,” says Dennis Fois, CEO of Copper.



Copper adds: "It’s no surprise that the generations we surveyed who focus less on cold emailing -- Baby Boomers and Gen X -- say they have the strongest relationships with customers and prospects. Strong, personalized and even 'old-school' relationships lead to sustainable businesses."

Of the Baby Boomers in the sample, 78% report having stronger customer and prospect relationships although they are focusing less on network and cold outreach. Among the other generations, 68% of Gen X, 62% of millennials and 60% of Gen Z sales and marketing execs say the same. 

However, Copper may suffer from a lack of objectivity. The subhead in a web post gleefully says: “Cold emailing is still ineffective.” Compared to what?

But let’s also remember that cold email violates industry norms: All responsible email is now permission-based. It’s not clear what types of lists were used for the "cold" emails referenced in the study. 

Email aside, 88% of executives believe their revenue will be stronger in 2022 than it was in 2019. And 73% expect their sales and marketing teams to grow over the next year. 

Moreover, 63% report having good relationships with both customers and prospects after investing more in relationship-building, as 76% have done since the onset of the pandemic. Overall, 62% have maintained their current customer relationships while building new ones. 

Still, 40% are worried about the end of the third-party cookie, with 51% saying it will affect their marketing strategy and 13% saying they will have to entirely rework it. 

At the same time, 82% of respondents see their use of first-party customer data as “good,” suggesting that may be the alternative to the cookie. Finally, 65% report using their CRM as much as they had—or more — during the pandemic.

Engine Insights surveyed 501 full-time sales and marketing staffers from April 22-30. 



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