20+ Cold Calling Statistics to Inform Your Sales Calls
Steli Efti · September 13, 2022
As much as people say they don’t like cold calls, The RAIN Group found that sales reps have an 82% success rate when they make cold sales calls. Either those reps must be pretty good at calling, or prospects must be really interested in hearing more. Or both!
Today, we’re taking a moment to cover some of the basic details of cold calling , then we’re diving straight into a ton of statistics on cold calling that you can use to improve your own success rates.
What is Cold Calling?
Cold calling is a vital component of outbound sales with the goal of connecting via phone call with as many potential customers as possible, introducing them to your product or service, and moving them into the next stage of the buying process.
Top-performing salespeople learn the ins and outs of successful cold calls through proper sales training , ongoing call coaching , mock sales calls , and data-driven optimization. Cold calling works in both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) industries.
Benefits of Cold Calling
The process of cold calling allows sales representatives to evaluate leads—and their chances of actually buying—during the first call. By asking the right questions and comparing prospects’ answers with the needs of your ideal buyer persona , you’ll be in a good place to rate each lead’s chances of conversion. (It helps when sales reps use great sales prospecting strategies !)
In many cases, the cold call is not to close a deal but advance the prospect through the sales cycle . This may mean arranging follow-up calls, email outreach, etc. That’s why good sales reps are careful not to confuse the prospect with excessive information . Rather, they use a good script and study cold calling best practices and statistics.
Challenges of Cold Calling
The statistics clearly show that cold calling has its challenges. Voicemails, no answers, dialing wrong phone numbers, and snippy gatekeepers are only a few of the cold caller’s pain points. Also, since the primary purpose of cold calling is to qualify leads , that means that many prospects won’t be a good fit, they’ll know it, and be unhappy you’ve interrupted their day. For some, this rejection will roll off of a caller’s back . For others, they may feel personally rejected . To those, we say “Remember QTIP (Quit Taking It Personally).”
The cold calling statistics back up the challenges:
Cold calling fears and avoidance. 2018 research by ValueSelling Associates says that 48% of sales reps fear making cold calls and consider cold calling a bad time at work. Zippia says that 63% of sales reps identify cold calls as the worst part of their job. According to Harvard Business Review this causes them to miss their sales quota, make less money, feel unfulfilled, and leave their jobs.
Voicemail.As of 2020, RingLead said 80%-90% of calls from unknown numbers go to voicemail and 60% of cold calls overall go to voicemail. We know that most sales voicemail messages suck . Make sure to use proven voicemail scripts to get higher callback rates.
Follow-up calls. An October 2021 report by CallHippo says that 30% of leads never receive a follow-up call after initial contact. We think this is due to poor record keeping and no or poor quality CRM usage.
Best and worst times of day to call. The Keller Center at Baylor University reports that the worst time to call is after 5 p.m. CallHippo says the worst time is 7 to 11 a.m. Also avoid 12-1:30 p.m. due to lunch breaks. This means the cold calling salesperson needs to build their schedule around the best times to reach the specific contacts in their target market. Since a bulk of this good time to call is the mid-afternoon - which happens to be a generally low-energy time of day for people, motivation is lacking. Learn more about the best days & times for cold calling .
The source of leads matters. Finding good leads is hard work and involves strategic prospect research and building a great referral network. Remember to ask for referrals as soon as a customer makes a purpose. Once someone is convinced enough to buy, they’re likely to be convinced enough to tell someone about it.
Aligning lead calls with the prospect’s buying cycle. Contacting leads when they are actively shopping around boosts their responsiveness for 71% of B2B buyers, according to a RAIN Group study. But how do you know when to call? If you speak to a lead who is not interested right now, you can ask them if they plan on evaluating your kind of solution in the future and, if so, when.
Aligning lead calls with the prospect’s budgeting cycle. You may also learn that businesses in your industry budget for their next year’s purchases in October. If that is the case, using the phrase “I wanted to touch base with you before you finalize next year’s budget to see if investing in our solution will help you save money overall.” in August or September may help open some doors.
How Has Cold Calling Changed Over Time?
Cold calling has definitely changed over time, and it’s not just the evolution of technology that has changed things. While technology has provided a handful of groundbreaking technologies for cold-calling such as call automation software , largely it has provided solutions to broader marketplace changes.
In recent years, we’ve seen the following significant changes in cold calling:
Cold-calling happens from remote locations. The cold caller no longer need be in a call center or office environment. Workplace flexibility, the rise of remote sales , and of course the COVID-19 pandemic means people can work from home.
Cold-callers dial to and from more mobile numbers. As the marketplace shifts to workers being “connected”, companies equip their employees with company-provided smartphones. Data shows that many cold callers prefer using their mobile phone.
Cold-calling is now part of a larger outbound sequence. Rather than a cold call being a standalone task, cold calling is part of a larger sequence that may involve research, email, LinkedIn connections, SMS/text messages, etc. In fact, data shows that following up with text messages is highly effective.
Lots of data collection means lots of statistics. Today’s sales professionals are far better informed than their historical counterparts. The information in this article has been compiled from dozens of surveys and sources including ZoomInfo, Hubspot, Salesforce, Ringlead, Smallbizgenius, Sales Insights Labs, Gong, and more. This means you are even better informed than the sales rep next door who hasn’t read this. Congratulations!
Use of a dynamic cold calling script and sales pitch. The best outbound calls have a great script. Analysis shows that a caller needs to focus on empathy, understand pain points , and engage prospects authentically. That means the caller must be able to adjust their script to the individual needs of the prospect.
Persistence and patience are the keys, now more than ever. Zippia reports that the number of cold calls before reaching a prospect jumped from 3.7 in 2007 to 8.0 in 2020. The same study showed that 69% of buyers now report that they accepted one or more cold calls from sales representatives within the past year, it just takes twice the persistence as before. The fortune is in the follow-up , now more than ever before.
20 Surprising Cold Calling Statistics
Let’s dive into some cold calling statistics that will help you refine your cold calling strategy. These statistics can be surprising from both sides of the coin - some are refreshingly good, some are shockingly bad. Luckily, you’re learning about them so you can avoid the bad ones and strive for the good ones.
General Cold Calling Statistics
1. Cold calling has a 2% success rate, on average. ( Zippia )
2. Gong.io research shows that calls that include “How have you been?” increase the closing rate 6.6 times, calls that use “we” vs “I” increase success rates 35%, and callers who open the conversation with the reason for calling boost their success rate by 2.1 times. ( Gong.io )
3. A sales rep makes an average of 35 cold calls with a count varying depending on day of the week. This means the more prospecting calls a person makes can significantly drive their success rate up.( Revenue.io )
4. The best times to make cold calls are 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. ( Close )
5. The best days to make prospecting calls are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. ( CallHippo )
6. 42% of sales reps say they lack the necessary information to make effective cold calls.( Revenue.io )
7. 28% of cold call attempts are answered, 55% are not answered, 17% are non-working numbers. That means that inaccurate data has a 17% affect on the bottom line. ( Baylor University )
8. Prospects won’t listen for much more than 30 seconds to a cold call voicemail message. InsideSales reports that each additional second used beyond 30 decreases the chances of connecting with customers by 2%. ( InsideSales )
9. Most successful sales calls are 14.3 minutes in length. ( Revenue.io )
B2B Cold Calling Statistics
10. 82% of business buyers accept meetings with cold callers. ( RAIN Group )
11. After reaching a prospect, salespersons need to make an average of five successful followup calls to close a deal. ( Marketing Wizdom )
12. Beginning a cold call with “I understand we share a common LinkedIn group” raises the chances of securing an appointment/meeting by 70%. ( LinkedIn )
13. 87% of prospects say that salespeople don’t understand their needs. ( TOPO-Gartner )
14. 84% of buyers complain that sales reps are annoying. ( HubSpot )
15. 82% of prospects check companies on LinkedIn before taking sales calls. ( RAIN Group )
Cold Calling C-Level Executives Statistics
16. 90% of C-suite executives say they never respond to cold calls or email marketing. ( Funnelholic )
17. 57% of B2B C-level executives prefer to be contacted by phone ( RAIN Group )
18. The same research shows that 71% of these buyers want to hear from callers early in the buying process ( RAIN Group )
19. Almost 75% of executives prefer to work with salespeople who come from referrals ( IDC )
20. Online professional social media networks are the number one information preference of decision-makers in the final stage of the purchasing process, so a robust LinkedIn presence for your company and your sales team can drive up your success rate of cold calling. 63% of c-level and VP executives use LinkedIn versus 56% of non-executives. ( IDC )
13 Tips for Using Cold Calling as an Effective Sales Tool
As you can see from the statistics, cold calling can be both a highly effective and highly ineffective sales tool—it’s all about how you apply the information we’ve presented here. So, here are some cold calling tips to drive sales success.
Use QTIP - Quit Taking it Personally - The reason 63% of sales reps identify cold calling as the worst part of their job is because of the rejection they feel when nobody answers or hangs up abruptly.
Create a killer cold calling script including good voicemail scripts.
In your script and conversations be sure to include questions that display empathy and build rapport. Remember “How have you been?” increases the success rate by 6.6 times.
Use “we” statements more than “I” ones to double your success rate.
Always make your follow-up calls and keep good records
Build a great outbound sequence to include cold calls , cold emails, etc.
Collect and analyze data in order to compare your performance to the data points mentioned in this article. See if you measure up or can exceed them.
Make more calls each day. The more calls you make, the more sales you close. You can even use a predictive dialer to save time and become more efficient.
Plan your cold call times mid-week and use Mondays and Fridays for scheduling follow-up meetings.
Listen, listen, listen! If 87% of prospects say salespeople don’t understand their needs, make sure you ask your prospect what their pressing needs, using open-ended sales questions , and then follow through with good conversational and consultative responses.
Create and build out a solid LinkedIn presence for you and your company. Try and get all your management team onboard, too.
Try and get referrals for your cold calls. If mentioning you are in a mutual LinkedIn group can help then mentioning a mutual connection suggested you call will immediately increase the prospect’s overall engagement.
Adopt a highly adaptive, feature-rich customer relationship management (CRM) system that automates most of these processes and reports so you have more time to drive B2B sales.
Based on all the sales statistics we’ve covered, it’s easy to see that even small adjustments in your sales habits can have major results. It’s also clear that streamlining and centralizing sales management is key to sales success.
Merge what you’ve learned here with a CRM tool that top-performing sales organizations use, like Close . You can automate much of your sales process so your sales team’s efficiency will soar. Take a few minutes to watch our on-demand demo , then sign up for a 14-day free trial and see for yourself!
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