The Cold Pitch: B2B Brands In Most Sectors Prefer Email For Outreach

Email is the top channel for cold outreach in several B2B sectors. despite problems like high spam folder placement and limited outbound experience. 

Take the software development industry. Email is preferred by 16%, and social media advertising by 14.5%, and search-engine optimization by another 11.8%, according to Belkins Outbound State, a global study by Belkins. 

Email is also part of the future for firms in the software category. Their current campaign goals are to:

  • Explore new markets and engage new target audience segments — 80% 
  • Build up performance to meet growing needs — 73% 
  • Introduce cold email marketing as a new sales channel — 63% 
  • Inject more accuracy and targeting and get more exclusive clients — 62% 

Of those polled, 62% have increased their marketing budget. Their main challenges? Intense competition and the need for brand awareness. 



Only 32% are satisfied with the quality of the leads generated, while 48% are not.  And why could they not find a fit? They cited:

  • General search qualifiers — 18.2% 
  • Not getting replies — 17.3%
  • Lack of relevance — 16.4% 
  • Already taken by competitors — 14.5% 
  • Wrong pain points — 12.7% 
  • Wrong budget size — 10.9% 
  • Reaching at the wrong time — 10% 

But they are trying: 62% have increased their marketing budgets. 

The e-learning business is even more focused on email: It is the favored prospecting channel for 18.3%, while 16.2% like general advertising and 13.5% webinars and virtual events. However, they face deliverability issues and an average 30% spam folder placement rate.  

Moreover, 28% were unsatisfied with their recent email campaign, and 10% gave up on it. Another 24% were satisfied and 16% were fully so. But 22% needed to start campaign anew. 

The marketing industry is more enamored of other channels. They choose to focus on omnichannel (13.8%) video marketing (13.1%), content marketing (12.9%), social-media advertising (12.3%) and PPC advertising (121.%).  

In contrast, email is selected by 11.5%. Meanwhile, 86% of this sector is increasing its marketing budget.

In the financial technology sector, 18.5% list PPC advertising as their leading channel, followed by email (14.6%) and content marketing (11.5%).  

In this cohort, 76% have increased their marketing budgets. The biggest challenges were cash burnout and a lack of market need.  

Business consulting is also high on email — it is preferred by 13.9%, versus 12.6% for omnichannel and 12.4% for content marketing.  

The study concludes: “With numerous respondents embracing digital sales channels and switching to an omnichannel approach, email outbound remains the preferred prospecting method for communicating with potential clients.” 

Belkins surveyed 2,500 professionals, 80% in the U.S., 10% in the U.K., 5% in Canada and 5% in the EU. 

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