At my workplaces (your mileage may vary), LN2 is so cheap and easily accessible, that it really doesn't matter. It's simply easier to dump a few liters of it wherever it's needed and not worry. In fact, that was the even general approach to handling LN2 back during my diploma studies in a lab where cryogens were generally in short supply.
However there are benefits to using a cryogen in gaseous form. The heat of vaporization of N2 is 5.56 kJ/mol. Its heat capacity is 29.1 J/(mol K). If you're cooling down something from room temperature, you can initially pull out some extra 29.1*(300-77)=6.5 kJ/mol of cooling power. Of course, that's no reason not to evaporate the cold LN2 against the object to be cooled, before using the vapors to cool it further.
One really starts to feel the difference when dealing with LHe though. It's beyond the scope of the OP, but the heat of vaporization of LHe is tiny. Tiny, as in, liquid helium cannot cool down anything. It serves to stabilize the low temperature of something, that's already cold and contained in a nicely insulated dewar/cryostat. It's the heat capacity of the gas that does the trick.
In that same lab I mentioned, we would very slowly fill a bath cryostat with LHe, making sure, that there was absolutely minimal overpressure of vaporized helium, so as to utilize its heat capacity as a gas to the fullest. Allow the pressure to rise, and the cold helium gas with all its cooling potential would escape into the recovery lines.