Salespeople the world over are duking it out over the best strategy: cold calling or social selling. Which one delivers the best results? Which one is hype? Which one, ultimately, is the best for your business?

This debate, like so many in the sales and marketing space, will probably never have a clear-cut winner. And that’s because there is no one-size-fits-all tactic that can universally work for every situation and every product or service.

Let’s take a look at both sides of the coin, so you can determine which one (or both!) is right for you:

In one corner: Cold calling

Cold calling is the name brand heavyweight in this battle. It has been a mainstay of sales teams for decades, and has an impressive track record.

Although it might be less glamorous than social selling, cold calling still has its many adherents. They maintain that by reaching out to many prospects, and using the right sales pitches combined with persistence, your team will hit their quotas and then some. Cold calling cuts through the noise that decision makers face in their everyday life, and puts your business top of mind.

In the other corner: Social selling

Social selling might not have the weight that cold calling brings to the fight, but it is quickly growing in popularity. And it’s not difficult to see why: by leveraging new tools and tactics, sales teams are seeing great results.

Those on this side of the debate say that social selling provides more context and better touchpoints than cold calling. It allows salespeople to learn about their prospects using social networks, and apply this learning to their sales pitches.

New stats bear out the benefits of social selling. According to research from LinkedIn, 78 percent of social sellers outsell their peers who don’t use social media, and leaders in the space are 51 percent more likely to reach their quota.

The champion 

So, which tactic wins the title?

Really, there is no clear winner. Cold calling has the benefit of a long history of success, and with the right team and leads, can deliver stellar results. At the same time, social selling provides insights into the needs and pain points of your audience that weren’t accessible years ago, equipping your team with the knowledge they need to close.

Both tactics can be effective on their own, but we’re fans of using them together. The data gathered via social selling can be used to make cold calls more targeted and effective. Plus, if you are engaging in both cold calling and social selling, you have more touchpoints and opportunities to engage with leads than if you primarily focus on a single tactic. In the end, if you have the ability to do both, you can test and see which one – or which combination – works best for your business.