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.