Is Cold Outbound Email Dead? Outbound to Inbound-Led Strategies in 2024

Is cold outbound really dead? Since the recent announcements from Google and Yahoo about their crackdown on spam, there have been quite a lot of doomsday posts, comments and lots of questions in the air. Let’s set our view on this topic, and how we believe that, unlike some interpretations of recent trends and announcements, cold email is far from obsolete. Cold Outbound is evolving into a more powerful tool, albeit with a dramatically different playbook.

The Decline of Traditional Cold Email

The old cold email strategy for outbound, which dominated from 2011 to 2023, relied heavily on mass, generic outreach (yup, we don’t like it either!). This approach included:

  • Sourcing contacts from databases like ZoomInfo or Apollo based on specific criteria.
  • Utilising big, expensive and often inexperienced BDRs to send generic, poorly/not personalised emails (often disregarding engagement metrics).
  • Relying on reports of who engaged with these emails for follow-up.
  • Facing frustration due to high spam rates and ineffective engagement.
  • A cycle of increasing activity metrics and turnover in sales teams.
  • Sales or Marketing leaders questioning the performance of individuals, etc…

This method is becoming increasingly ineffective, partly due to inbox saturation and evolving email filters. We’ll be honest, the standard approach from our side, is to ignore cold outbound messages.

The new approach: Push vs Pull

The new approach, emerging in 2023 and beyond, focuses on relationship-building and personalised outreach. Grab my interest, provide me value, and I’ll provide you my time. Key components include:

  • Building an audience through LinkedIn, podcasts, and events
  • Investing in community engagement
  • Cross-referencing traditional target lists with engaged community members
  • Setting up multiple email inboxes and domains with proper email authentication
    • Do you have any questions on this? Our RevOps experts can help! Drop us a line.
  • Sending personalised messages to known contacts, ensuring higher open and reply rates
  • Using tools like Instantly for inbox warming and person-level website identity tools for targeted outreach.
  • Focusing on building trust and educating prospects over time, think “full-funnel education” @ Marketing teams 😉

This updated method leans towards a pull model, where trust and relationship-building lead to higher efficiency and effectiveness in sales, and who doesn’t love that!

The Shift in 2024

As we move into 2024, the pull model is set to outperform the traditional push model in cold email strategies. This approach prioritises building relationships and providing value to potential customers before pitching products. The emphasis is on attracting prospects through valuable content and interactions, rather than pushing unsolicited messages.


The landscape of cold email is undergoing a significant transformation. This shift towards an inbound-led strategy represents a more sustainable, effective approach to sales outreach. It’s about quality over quantity, relationships over transactions, and providing value before making a sale. In the world of sales, the future is about pulling prospects in, not pushing messages out.

Thoughts? Ideas? Fancy a discussion on the topic? Or would you like us to help look at your outbound strategy? Get in touch.

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