Do Cold Calls Still Work? — 33 Cold Calling Statistics

ByDanica Jovic
October 04,2021

Cold calling is dead. That’s what they say, and it’s easy to see why. Everybody’s busy, and nobody likes to be interrupted by strangers selling stuff. If customers need something, they just order it online. Contacting strangers and convincing them to buy a product seems like an inefficient way to seal the deal.

And it is. Vanishingly few prospecting calls result in conversion - that is, an agreement to attend a local product seminar, to look for a brochure in the mail, to take a survey, or to accept a second call from the sales representative.

But reports of the death of cold calls have been greatly exaggerated. Cold calling statistics show that this practice plays a strategic role in the success of top-rated sales reps.strategy.

  • 69% of buyers report accepting one or more cold calls during 2019.
  • 82% of buyers say they have accepted meetings with salespeople after a series of contacts beginning with sales cold calls.
  • 63% of sales representatives say that cold calls are the worst part of their job, according to sales agent stats.
  • Almost half (44%) of sales reps stop with sales follow up after receiving a negative response to a first call.
  • 78% of sales representatives who use social media report that researching prospects on social networks helps them perform better on the job.

General Cold Calling Statistics 

Cold calling is old-fashioned but it remains an essential part of the selling process, where it transforms strangers into prospects. CEOs and other top executives say they prefer phone calls to email and other media, especially in the early stages of planning a project. Knowledgeable sales reps can provide data that helps executives be more successful.

69% of buyers report that they accepted one or more cold calls in 2019.

(RAIN Group)

82% of buyers say they have accepted meetings with salespeople after a series of contacts beginning with sales cold calls.

(RAIN Group)

About 51% of company owners say they would rather hear from sales reps via phone compared to email, faxes, drop-in visits, and other media, according to phone call statistics.

(RAIN Group)

The average successful cold call lasts 5:50 (compared to 3:14 for unsuccessful calls) and includes an uninterrupted sales pitch of 37 seconds - about 50% longer than average.

(Gong)

Representatives must make an average of six calls to sell a product or a service. 

(Velocify)

B2B Cold Calling Statistics

A good marketing strategy still has its foundation in cold call techniques, and B2B cold calling is where sales calls start. Cold calling statistics reveal that cold calling marketing programs are as effective as ever. Some executives say they count on calls from sales representatives in the earliest stages of project planning because reps talk to lots of customers and have seen how they solve problems or develop new ideas.

27% of sales people say that a B2B call is still an effective first step in a well-thought-out prospecting strategy.

(RAIN Group)

41% of sales representatives say the phone is their most valuable tool for work - along with CRM software, email, and social-media prospecting.

(Marc Wayshak)

Nearly two thirds (57%) of C-level executives say they value information from phone calls with sales reps.

(RAIN Group)

Among prospects who are willing to hear from sales representatives, 71% say the earlier the better - during the information-gathering stage of a new project. 62% prefer sellers to call when they are actively engaged in solving a business problem, 49% when they are analyzing their situation and its causes, 54% when they have decided to buy and are selecting a provider, and 30% in response to a request for a proposal.

(RAIN Group)

Of buyers who accept sales calls, 75% report interest in the product as the most important reason.

(RAIN Group)

Problems With B2B Calls

Many sales representatives say cold calls are the hardest part of the job. Calling prospects is stressful for inexperienced sellers, especially considering that they need to make an average of 18 calls to reach a prospect and a series of six successful phone sales calls more to conclude a sale.

Every year, companies spend about $2,000 per sales rep to train the sales staff.

(Brevet Group)

63% of sales representatives identify cold calls as the worst part of the job, according to sales agent stats.

(ZoomInfo)

Representatives must make an average of 18 calls to reach one potential buyer.

(TOPO)

After reaching a prospect, salespersons need to make an average of five successful followup calls to close a deal.

(Marketing Wizdom)

Experts say that almost half (44%) of sales reps stop with sales follow up after the first call.

(Marketing Wizdom)

B2B Cold Calling Statistics Reveal Why Buyers Avoid Sales Calls

Even though research shows that executives and CEOs sometimes welcome calls from sales reps, in most cases they avoid these calls.

Prospects say sales representatives seem pushy and annoying. Reps waste the prospect’s time with overly long meetings, they aren't well prepared to answer questions, and they sound too rehearsed.

It might be time for changes in cold calling marketing, since 58% of prospects say they currently find cold calls useless.

(RAIN Group)

87% of prospects say salespeople don’t understand their needs.

(TOPO)

84% of buyers complain that sales reps are annoying in their efforts to convince them to buy.

(HubSpot)

60% of cold calls go to voicemail.

(XANT)

Best Practices for Successful Cold Call Sales

Sales reps need to keep up with customers. They need to know what time to call, on which days, and how many follow-up calls to make.

Customers aren’t always sitting by the phone. They are on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Social media is a way to reach new leads and target them based on their interests. Buyers expect and deserve more than a rote sales pitch with no personalization or research.

The best reps study how to make cold calls less objectionable, how to connect with prospects, and the best time to cold call particular prospects.

On average, B2B sales representatives make 45 calls per day.

(Bridge Group)

74% of reps say they research prospects before making sales calls.

(HubSpot)

80% of sales require five follow-up calls after the first meeting with a prospect.

(Brevet Group)

Sales representatives leave an average of 70 voicemails per day.

(RingLead)

The cold calls success rate is 46% higher on Wednesdays than on Mondays.

(CallHippo)

About 15.5% of calls are answered between 10 and 11 a.m., which makes that hour the best time to make sales calls.

(PhoneBurner)

The first 50 minutes after a lead shows interest in your product is the best time to make a cold call. This statistic is particularly useful if you’re monitoring web log-ins.

(CallHippo)

78.1% of sales reps report using social media channels for research as part of their selling process.

(Social Centered Selling)

82% of prospects check companies on LinkedIn before taking calls from salespeople.

(RAIN Group)

78.6% of sales representatives who use social media for prospecting report higher sales than the average for agents who don’t use social media.

(A Sales Guy)

Cold Email Stats and Facts

Cold emails work; that's a fact. But they need to be created properly and sent at the right time. Thousands of cold emails are sent every day, but most wind up unread in prospects’ spam folders. Only a few generate cold calling leads and increase sales. The secret with cold calling email correspondence is that you must be persistent. Follow-up emails increase chances that buyers will answer and even buy a product or service.

70% of sales representatives give up on sending cold emails if they don’t get a response after the first attempt.

(YesWare)

There is a 22% chance that sales reps will get a response after the second follow-up email.

(MailShake)

80% of business buyers say they are more comfortable receiving cold call emails than phone calls.

(RAIN Group)

31% of sales reps identify personalized email messages as very or extremely effective.

(RAIN Group)

More than 80% of cold emails stay unopened forever.

(Campaign Monitor)

Frequently Asked Questions
What is the success rate of cold calling?

A reasonable cold call success rate is 1-2%, according to sales statistics on cold calling. This might lead to the conclusion that cold calling is dead, but the truth is that this technique is still valid in an overall marketing strategy. 

What is the best time to make cold calls?

The best time to call customers is 10-11 a.m.. At this time of the day, there is a 16% chance that your prospect will answer. The next best time to call people is 2 p.m., at 15%.

How many no's before a yes?

On average, sales representatives need to make five or six phone calls to have a successful cold call conversion rate. Also, it takes an average of 18 attempts before agents reach a lead who is willing to talk.

What are the best days to cold call?

The best day to call prospects is Wednesday. On Wednesday you have 46% more likelihood of connecting with a prospect than on Monday. The reason? Monday is the busiest day of the week. On Mondays, companies make schedules and organize tasks for the week. Executives, CEOs, and managers with buying authority don't have time to talk with sales reps. People slow down on Friday and shift their thoughts to the weekend. So it is the middle of the work week - Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday - that are the best days to cold call. 

Does cold calling really work?

Yes, cold calling really works, according to cold calling statistics. Buyers find some cold calls a useful part of the research process for new projects. And cold calls are one of the few proven ways to increase the selling company’s prospect base.

Sources

About the author

Danica’s greatest passion is writing. From small businesses, tech, and digital marketing, to academic folklore analysis, movie reviews, and anthropology — she’s done it all. A literature major with a passion for business, software, and fun new gadgets, she has turned her writing craft into a profitable blogging business. When she’s not writing for SmallBizGenius, Danica enjoys hiking, trying to perfect her burger-making skills, and dreaming about vacations in Greece.

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