17 Cold-calling Statistics to Know Before Picking Up the Phone
This article is part of a larger series on Sales Management.
Cold calling is used to make direct connections with prospects and potential buyers over the phone, making them aware or interested in the solution you’re selling. This prospecting method gives sales reps the ability to target a list of contacts in a short time while getting immediate responses from leads regarding if they are moving forward to the next stage of the sales process.
We’ve compiled 17 cold-calling statistics to help you better understand its effectiveness as well as the key elements that surround this sales activity:
Stats on Driving Factors for Successful Cold Calling
The two objectives when placing a cold call is first to make contact with a lead and then try to move that lead to the next stage of the selling process. These cold-calling statistics show how the small details that go into this sales activity often lead to better connections and success rates.
1. Making cold calls on Wednesdays is 50% more effective than making calls on Monday.
Wednesday is considered the best day to make cold calls in terms of a lead answering the phone. Generally speaking, Wednesdays are when employees are deeply focused on their work and likely to be at their workstation—making them more accessible than, say, Mondays or Fridays. Try making it a sales management practice to use Wednesday as the prime day for reps to place calls.
Pro tip: To optimize your high-volume calling days, use software with dialing automation connected with your customer relationship management (CRM) software. Freshdesk, for example, is software native to Freshsales and has a power dialing module with a built-in telephone. This feature dials the phone for you based on a preset list of contacts so you can make many calls in a row without taking too much time manually typing phone numbers.
2. Successful cold calls, on average, last 1:36 minutes longer than unsuccessful ones
One of the biggest driving factors of successful calls is the time spent on the phone. Sales reps with solid cold-calling conversion rates tend to spend an average of five minutes and 50 seconds on the phone. This is in contrast to non-effective reps who spend closer to three minutes and 36 seconds. More time spent talking to the prospect means they are engaged with what a rep is saying and potentially interested in learning more.
3. The optimal cold-calling time range is from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m., 70% more effective than 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
If you’re trying to carve out an hour a day to make a good portion of your calls, this stat tells you everything you need to know. Both the 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. time slots are the two best hours to place calls based on success in connecting with a prospect on the first attempt. However, the 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. slot still produces significantly better results than that early afternoon time frame.
Pro tip: A CRM with task management features can help remind you to make your calls during these high success time frames. Pipedrive, for instance, has task management capabilities that let you add one-time or recurring tasks for yourself for a specific time and day each week. These tasks can be created as general tasks or ones specifically associated with a lead, deal, or account record.
4. Stating your reason for calling in your opening line increases success rates by 2.1x
If you utilize some of the previous stats on when to place your cold calls and manage to get an answer, you’re now in a position to deliver your opening line. During this phase, one of the driving success factors is whether or not you promptly state your reason for calling. By immediately mentioning who you are, where you’re calling from, and the specific reason for your call, prospects tend to be more open to hearing what you have to say and moving on to the next sales pipeline stage.
5. Six cold-calling attempts is the optimal number to have the best chance of connecting with a lead
Much of your time placing cold calls will be spent leaving a voicemail due to a non-answer. This stat shows how important persistence is when attempting to connect with someone. While you only have around a 35% to 40% chance of getting an answer on the first attempt, that number continuously increases when you retry up until the sixth attempt, where it then plateaus at around 87% to 90%.
6. Successful sales reps use the word ‘we’ 65% more times
An interesting finding from this research involves how a sales rep using the word “we” in association with the organization they represent impacts calling success. Speaking on behalf of the business rather than communicating in terms of “I” appears to give more credibility to the business’ brand and creates more opportunities.
Pro tip: Once you’ve crafted the perfect cold-calling script that highlights your value proposition and team-oriented business culture, use a CRM to store it for all reps to access. Popular products like Salesforce have organizational file management features to store and share documents, slide decks, and spreadsheets for everyone using the CRM system.
7. The best sales reps have an average monologue of only 12 seconds during their cold calls
Another key finding to take note of during a cold call is the average length of uninterrupted speech by the sales rep to make an introduction and communicate the unique selling proposition they offer the buyer. Twelve seconds seems too brief, but it proves the old adage that less is more—showing that prospective buyers want you to keep it short and sweet.
8. Win rates are 10% higher when pricing is discussed on the first call
Successful sales attempts tend to be the highest overall when pricing is discussed early on in the sales process during the first call. Furthermore, win rates slowly dwindle if you wait until the second or third call, and are at their lowest if it’s never mentioned at all. Pricing is arguably the most critical factor in a buying decision—and it needs to be acknowledged early to avoid wasting the time of both the buyer and seller.
9. Mentioning a common connection on a cold call can increase the likelihood of an appointment by 70%
It’s not surprising that citing a mutual connection can yield a stronger conversion rate. What is surprising, however, is how much of an impact it has. During prospect research and before placing a call to a decision-maker, checking out their LinkedIn profile to see if any of your family, friends, or professional colleagues know the person can have a huge impact on whether or not you get that appointment.
Pro tip: The TeamLink feature in LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a powerful prospecting tool that lets you see a list of your connections who are also connected with a prospect you’re targeting. From the mutual connection list, you can make an introduction to a potential lead in just one click and give yourself a better chance of converting.
Stats on Cold-calling Popularity
While cold calling is considered more traditional than some of today’s sales outreach methods, such as emailing or social media messaging, many businesses still use it as their primary prospecting channel. These cold call statistics tell you just how common this prospecting method is today within sales teams and how sales reps truly feel about doing this sales activity.
10. B2B technology sales reps average 35 calls per day
B2B technology businesses commonly have a similar start to the sales process, where prospect research takes place and then a cold call is made to schedule a product demo with a decision-maker. Based on this statistic, a solid number of calls are made each day to make these attempts.
Pro tip: CRMs offer excellent reporting tools for managers to track sales activity such as phone calls placed as well as total production for revenue and deals generated. HubSpot, in particular, has easy-to-use features to create reports according to the type of data the user would like to see and how they want it organized, such as by rep, team, or regional department.
11. 63% of sellers say cold calling is the worst part of their job
While it’s essential in many sales roles, a majority of reps do not enjoy doing this activity compared to other parts of their job, such as networking, generating proposals, or even data entry in a CRM. The task as a whole can be intimidating at times, especially for newer sales reps, as you’re making calls to total strangers knowing they will be caught off guard, annoyed, and may likely reject your proposition.
Pro tip: Keep your sales team motivated to make their calls by gamifying your sales operation. Using various competitions with rewards and incentives goes a long way toward producing solid results and maintaining a positive culture. Check out some of our ideas in our article on sales contests to motivate your team.
12. 41% of sales reps say their phone is still their most valuable tool for selling
Sales reps may not like cold calling, but a good portion of them still find their phone to be their most valuable asset. This beats out other sales tools like a CRM system, their email account, and their social media profiles. The implication of this stat is also proof that cold calling is not dead and is still useful when executed properly.
Cold-calling Success Statistics
Common questions businesses ask about this prospecting method are “What is the success rate of cold calling?” and “How many cold calls does it take to get to a meeting?” These cold-call statistics tell the story of how effective cold calling is and helps you decide if it can help grow your business.
13. It takes an average of 1.5 hours of cold calling per day for 5 days to win one appointment
The time it takes to schedule one appointment is roughly four-and-a-half hours per week. This does not include time doing other tasks, breaks, or being distracted by peers—it is the actual dialing, calling, and conversing. Keep this in mind as you set sales quotas on minimum calls per day for your sales team. Make sure it’s realistically attainable yet high enough to produce results.
14. 57% of C-level executives prefer to be contacted by phone
C-suite executives and VPs are the top decision-makers for any business-to-business (B2B) sale. Despite how intrusive cold calling may seem, most executives still prefer being contacted over the phone than via email or social media. Another interesting finding is that the number slowly decreases as the managerial hierarchy decreases. For example, it drops to 51% of directors and 47% of middle managers who prefer a phone call as the contact method.
(Source: RAIN Group)
15. The average conversion rate of a cold call is 2%
This stat is perfect for understanding what is necessary for consistent lead generation—roughly 50 cold calls for every appointment and new lead generated. While this seems like a lot of effort for one lead, it should be noted that the same data set found that the conversion rate for leads considered “high-quality” is 18%—nearly nine times higher than general leads.
The biggest take-away here is that pursuing the quality of leads rather than the quantity of leads will save you lots of time and resources during the sales process. Therefore, more emphasis should go into determining what makes the best quality customers for your business and exclusively sell to those kinds of leads.
(Source: Finances Online)
16. Sales reps need to make an average of 18 calls to reach a potential buyer
We touched briefly on how it’s around a 2% average conversion rate from cold call to appointment. This stat, however, shows how tricky it can be to reach a decision-maker and potential buyer—emphasizing the importance of those cold-calling details we mentioned earlier on what day and what time to place your calls.
17. Cold calling is 5 to 10 times more effective than email campaigns
The consensus from this research is that when completed properly, cold calling is more effective than email for responses and conversions. While email is great for targeting a large audience at once, most people don’t respond, much less open the message. Cold calling is more personal and gets immediate answers from leads while giving you a stronger chance of generating the appointment and eventually closing the deal.
(Source: RAIN Group)
Cold calling today remains popular and effective, assuming best practices are followed. While you might see stories online or posts on LinkedIn either crediting or discrediting this sales method, these cold-calling statistics take real data from businesses to tell the true story of their experiences. Incorporate cold-calling strategies into your sales process and train your sales reps on how to place effective cold calls to prospects.