Booking a meeting with a cold call is one of the best outcomes for a salesperson, apart from closing a deal. For salespeople, meetings equal money – the more prospects you can meet with, the more pipeline built, and that means more clients you can close.
For many, cold calling is the means to create these new opportunities, creating a constant stream of potential business.
There’s no doubt the effectiveness of cold calling has dropped. However, with less salespeople using it as a channel to prospect it leaves an opportunity for those who master the skill to prosper.
So with that said, how many cold calls should you make per day to succeed?
As a general rule most organisations will require Account Executives to make 20-30 cold calls per day, with appointment setting roles requiring +50. These figures take into account time to update the CRM, amount of calls before being connected, and time to have a conversation once getting through.
We know these numbers will work for some, but can this be optimised.
Naturally the more calls you make, the more meetings you will book – but when does a ‘diseconomies of scale’ get factored in.
That is to say, is there a magic number of calls to maximise your efforts and succeed?
Setting the standards
For many salespeople, having 3 set meetings per day is a metric needed to hit their targets. Some need to aim much higher, but typically 3 meetings per day provides enough pipe for most end-to-end salespeople.
So in this instance, success can be defined by booking 3 meetings in a day.
We can think of a booking as a progression within the sales process. That is to say the prospect agrees to set time aside to have a product demonstration or consultation at a later date.
So knowing the goal for success is 3 meetings per day, how many calls do others make to attain this?
Breaking Down Cold Call Statistics
Generally speaking, only 2 percent of cold calls made will be converted into a meeting. This is staggeringly low – after 100 dials, this means only 2 meetings will be booked!
So to book 3 meetings, it would require 150 calls – and this is completely inefficient.
Why is this the case?
Well there are a variety of factors that contribute. From how well known your company is, to the skill level of the caller.
That is to say a prospect is much more likely to have a positive response when an expert from Microsoft calls, compared to the salesperson from “Joe’s Marketing”.
This doesn’t mean that cold calling shouldn’t be done by businesses outside of the Fortune 500, because I’ve seen it be used by smaller companies to close their biggest deals.
The cold calling stat that astounded me was on average it takes 18 dials before you can connect on a cold call.
This signals that the ability to actually connect with a prospect influences cold calling success rates dramatically.
If you connected 100% of the time, how much more successful would cold calling be?
Using data from the sales team I work in (selling SaaS solutions) I noticed cold calls converted much higher when the decision maker was reached. To be exact I analysed 500 calls within the year 2020, and they were all purely outbound.
Looking at the results I could see a massive difference from the typical 2% conversion.
A call made to a decision maker (with 1 follow up email) converted at around 15%!
This suddenly means generating 3 new bookings per day requires only 20 calls, not 150!
Close.io Blog also backs up this data with a cold calling funnel breakdown.
They found that conversion rates on cold calls, were more than triple once the prospect had been reached.
From dial to reaching the prospect average conversion was around 15% – that is to say out of 100 calls 15 would be answered.
This also aligns well with the stat shown above that states it takes 18 dials to reach your prospect.
|Cold Calling Funnel Stage||Conversion Rate|
|Dials –> Reaches||15%|
|Reaches –> Qualifies||50%|
|Qualifies –> Closes||50%|
So far we can conclude that:
1. For lead generation cold calling is generally a low converting method.
2. The key breakdown occurs when trying to reach prospects.
3. Fixing this breakdown can increase conversion by more than 7x!
This means time should be spent optimising Dials –> Reaches within the funnel.
So what can we do?
Getting more Cold Call Connects
Calling at the Right Time
Put yourself in the shoes of the prospect.
You are inundated with calls from companies you don’t know everyday.
Being sold solutions from people you’ve never met. In and out of internal meetings too.
Your manager is on your case. You also skipped lunch to complete your 2pm presentation.
Add to that you forgot the marketing project is due in 2 days, and Tracey has not completed her part yet!
Under the pump some would say!
The point is, they don’t have time to pick up the phone.
The idea is to adapt your calling schedule around the prospect’s working day, not around yours.
Let’s look at the numbers.
From analysing over 13,000 sales calls, it’s now known that the best time to call is between 4pm-5pm. With the best day of the week being Wednesday. Monday mornings are a no go, as well as Friday afternoons.
Logically this makes sense.
People are winding down in the afternoon, Monday morning most companies have internal meetings, and Friday afternoons people have gone into weekend mode.
Conclusively, the best time to call is between 4pm-5pm on Wednesday. With Tuesday and Thursday at the same time being second best, and 8am-9am also being an effective time to catch prospects.
Making 20 calls on Friday at 4pm-5pm would connect 3 times as less than Wednesday at the same time.
Structure call time around these optimal hours to improve connection rates.
Getting Direct Numbers
Getting direct numbers for prospects will skyrocket your connection levels. We know that most salespeople have trouble getting around gatekeepers, so calling directly will cut this factor out completely.
We can recommend using either Lusha or ZoomInfo as a means to gain direct numbers.
Additionally, it’s important your number is a recognisable to the prospect. A study from Software Advice saw a 400% increase in prospects picking up when the phone when the number was local to them.
It’s evident that when cold calling the main breakdown is actually connecting with prospects.
It’s not that the strategy doesn’t work – in fact it’s incredibly effective – but effort is needed at the top of the funnel to reap the rewards.
Achieving 3 new meeting bookings per day can be done with 20 calls per day, immensely more effective than 150, when using industry conversion statistics.
We can say the magic number is 20 calls per day.
This should encourage many to focus energy on optimising call connects, as cold calling is a channel that is far from dead in the sales world.