What is the Best Time for Cold Calls?

Our in-house analysis of thousands of calls says that the ideal time for prospectors to make calls is between 10am and 4pm on Tuesday. What does this mean for your team?

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If you’re like most high-growth companies, a huge share of your performance hinges on the efforts of your outbound prospecting team. They make the dials that lead to the meetings that become the opportunities that ultimately convert into deals. Knowing this, it’s easy to understand why getting the most from your prospecting team is essential.

This doesn’t just mean scaling up your team and doubling the number of reps you have cold calling. And it certainly doesn’t mean setting unrealistic activity goals for your reps, forcing them to tear through lists and jam as many mediocre conversations into a single day as possible.

In fact, the best way to increase your prospecting team’s results is not by inflating the sheer number of dials it makes, it’s done by getting more out of each dial.

This goal is achieved in 2 main ways:

  1. Picking the most effective time to make calls

  2. Coaching your reps to make the most of every connect they get

In this post, we will use our own in-house research to explore the first of these avenues, and in an upcoming post we will dig into the second.

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Time of Day

If your reps don’t connect with a prospect, there is little hope of converting that prospect into an opportunity. This raises an obvious question: at what points during the day are your reps most likely to get through to their prospects?

There’s plenty of conventional wisdom about this question – “During lunch!” “Early in the morning!” – but we’re not much for conventional wisdom here at InsightSquared. So in the summer of 2013, we set out to answer this crucial question with data.

Before we get to the data, though, I want to issue one caveat: Our research identified ideal times for our reps to make prospecting calls, but it was based on our prospecting team’s data. Connect rate can vary significantly by industry, so if you want a truly accurate picture of your own prospecting team’s ideal call times, you should analyze your own call data and identify the best times for your specific context.

In the meantime, feel free to use our research as a guide.

Now onto the data! In the image below, you can see our results. After logging thousands of calls we found that our reps had the highest connect rates between 10am and 4pm.

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After that, connect rates plummeted. This research showed us that something we thought we knew — that early morning was a good time to make calls (as evidenced by the high call totals between 8am and 10am) was not the case. Those dials would have been better saved for the late morning and early afternoon when connect rate hovered around 8%. This simple change helped us make better use of our reps’ valuable time and ultimately achieve the best results from our prospecting team.

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Day of the Week

Of course, time of day is not the only variable. We were also extremely curious about how specific days compared to each other in terms of connect rate. These results were perhaps even more telling.

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As you can see in the chart above, Tuesday (with a 10% connect rate) proved to be the best day for our reps to make calls, with each subsequent day representing a gradual drop off in connect rate, finally settling into a low point on Friday (8.7%). A difference of 1.3% may not seem like a lot, but spread across tens of thousands of calls, it can have a tremendous impact on your Pipeline.

What does this mean for you?

After all this research, you’re probably asking “How can I use this to improve my own prospecting team?” and I don’t blame you. Clearly, the answer is not to have your team make calls only between 10am and 4pm on Tuesdays. So what is the take-home point?

Your prospectors have a limited amount of time in the week, so you should have them plan their dials around the ideal times and save non-dial work (meetings, call planning, Salesforce.com upkeep) for less efficient times like Monday mornings and Friday afternoons.

If you’re curious about other prospecting best-practices, check out our award-nominated FREE eBook on building a outbound prospecting team.

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