Categories Articles, Sales and Marketing

Recently, we wrote a post about an in-depth study we conducted revealing the best time for sales reps to make cold calls. (Spoiler alert: it’s between 10am and 4pm on Tuesday.) In that post we alluded to a corresponding study we conducted on the optimal number of cold call attempts sales reps should make to achieve ultimate productivity. We promised we would dig into that data soon, and it took a little longer than expected, but here it is.

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Like it or not, cold calls are an important part of inside sales, and the best sales teams are always trying to find ways to get the most value from them. As we discussed in our last post, the first way to optimize outbound cold calling is to find the times of day and week when your prospects are most likely to answer their phones.

But the second method for optimizing your cold calling strategy is just as important: determining how many times your reps should call an unresponsive prospect before giving up. This forms the backbone of your sales process and call cadence, and is an integral part of ensuring that your reps are striking the right balance between using their time efficiently and not letting good leads slip through the cracks. Too many call attempts and your reps are not making the most of their time, too few and they’re giving up on potentially valuable leads.

In this post, we will use our in-house research to help you answer this question and give you the data you need to determine the right cold call cadence for your reps.

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How Valuable is the First Attempt?

The first thing we learned from our in-house study was how important the first attempt is.

Number-of-Attempts-Chart

In fact, connect rates drop 33% after the first attempt. Your reps should understand that their first attempt has a much higher likelihood of resulting in a connect than any other call attempt, so they should be prepared with a well-thought-out pitch.

Pre-call research and a well prepared elevator pitch are essential if your reps want to make the most of their first calls, when they’re most likely to actually reach their prospect.

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Connect Rates Never Hit Zero

The next thing our study revealed was that connect rates have a floor. Even after 10 attempts, sales reps were able to connect with their prospects almost 5% of the time. There are a lot of valuable conversations buried in seemingly unreachable prospects. Showing your reps this data will help them use every available minute of their days. Encourage them to block off a chunk of their day to dedicate to calling prospects they’ve tried, but so far failed, to reach.

Develop a Plan That Optimizes Your Reps’ Time

What do these two findings imply for how you should set up your reps’ call cadence? The short answer is that the number of times you should have your reps call each prospect depends on your lead flow. When leads are streaming in, have them make a first attempt (by far the most likely time for them to get a connect) on all of the leads in their queue.

When lead flow is less voluminous, encourage them to continue trying to connect with unresponsive prospects. Even after many call attempts, these leads can yield results.

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Mike Baker
Mike Baker is the Content Strategy Manager at InsightSquared, where he helps distribute original eBooks, articles and guides about data-driven sales and marketing. He has a BA in English and Journalism from Oberlin College.
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Showing 8 comments
  • David

    Interesting play, makes sense. Appreciate the post~ When you have a chance, encourage everyone to check out this listing of top resources for aspiring sales masters–hope this helps

    http://inspirebeats.com/blog/101-resources-for-startup-sales/

    Anything that you’d add to this list?

  • Samantha Kovačević

    The answer to “Should You Keep Calling That Prospect?” is “it depends”? Do I have that right?

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