Cold calling can be an effective way to generate new business, but it requires discipline and organization to maximize results. The number of calls you can make per hour depends on several factors, including call duration, preparation time, and your overall efficiency. By optimizing these variables, it’s possible for experienced sales reps to make 20-30 calls per hour.
What is a Cold Call?
A cold call refers to contacting a potential customer who has no prior relationship with you or your company. It’s considered “cold” because you are introducing yourself and your offering from scratch, rather than building on an existing connection. Cold calling allows you to proactively reach out to prospects who may benefit from your products or services. It is commonly used in sales to initiate new business.
Types of Cold Calls
There are two main types of cold calls:
Telemarketing: Calling prospects directly without prior notice or opt-in. This is generally considered intrusive. Laws like the Do Not Call Registry restrict telemarketing.
Lead Generation: Calling prospects who have shown some interest, like downloading a whitepaper or requesting a demo. This is generally better received than unsolicited calls.
How Long Should a Cold Call Last?
Cold calls should be brief, lasting 2-3 minutes on average. The goal is to capture the prospect’s attention, create interest in your offering, and schedule a follow-up meeting to continue the discussion. Anything substantially longer will risk losing engagement.
Here are some tips for concise, effective cold calls:
– Keep your opening pitch to 20-30 seconds. Briefly introduce yourself, your company, and your reason for calling.
– Ask open-ended questions and actively listen to learn about challenges they are facing.
– Explain how your product or service can address one of their needs, focusing on high-level benefits. Have a 10-15 second summary ready.
– Wrap up by proposing next steps, like sending info or scheduling a meeting. Ask for the prospect’s availability or permission to follow up.
– Save more in-depth discussions about pricing and technical specs for later conversations. Keep the first call short and focused on value.
How to Prepare for Cold Calling
Proper preparation is key to maximizing productivity during cold calling sessions. Here are some best practices:
– Plan your calls in advance – Create a list of prospective customers and do preliminary research on each one. Prioritize and segment the list based on criteria like company size, industry, job title, etc.
– Write scripts and outlines – Having structured call guides keeps your messaging consistent and on-track. Script the introduction, key talking points, and closing.
– Gather pertinent materials – Have sales collateral, presentations, demos, and relevant case studies on hand. Prepare to email these assets during or after the call.
– Optimize your workspace – Remove distractions and ensure you have a comfortable, quiet environment. Have water available and adjust your chair for optimal posture.
– Practice and rehearse – Roleplay your scripts and calls with colleagues. Practicing will help perfect your approach and boost confidence.
How to Optimize Cold Calling Efficiency
There are several techniques you can use to increase your productivity during cold calling sessions:
– Block time specifically for cold calling – Don’t let it get deprioritized compared to other activities. Schedule at least 1 hour daily for dedicated cold calling time.
– Use a phone with good sound quality – This removes strain or miscommunication during calls. Use a hands-free headset for comfort.
– Leverage auto-dialing technology – This automatically calls prospects from your list and connects you when someone answers. It saves time over manual dialing. Popular options include Avochato, VanillaSoft, Five9, and Dialpad.
– Take thorough yet concise notes – Note key details about prospects and conversations in your CRM for future reference. But keep notes succinct to avoid wasting time.
– Keep resources on hand – Have quick access to information or tools needed for each call without having to switch windows or search extensively.
– Maintain energy and positivity – Your mood and tone set the tenor of the call. Stand during calls and smile to boost energy.
How Many Cold Calls Should You Make Per Hour?
The number of cold calls you can reasonably make per hour depends on your role, experience level, and call goals. Here are some typical guidelines:
– Appointment setters – 12-20 calls per hour. Their goal is to book meetings for sales reps. Calls are very short.
– SDRs/Lead generators – 8-12 calls per hour. They aim to qualify prospects at a high level before passing hot leads to sales.
– Account executives/Sales reps – 5-10 calls per hour. Their calls involve more rapport building and need identification.
– Executives – 3-6 calls per hour. As senior leaders, their call time is limited but high value.
– Beginners – 5-8 calls to start. As you become comfortable, aim to add 2 or more calls per hour every few weeks.
So for an experienced sales rep conducting lead generation calls, 15 calls per hour is a reasonable goal. At that pace, you would make 120 calls in an 8 hour workday.
The most successful cold callers typically average 15-30 calls per hour. However, quality is more important than pure call volume. It’s better to have 10 solid conversations than 30 throwaway calls.
Tips to Increase Call Volume
Here are some proven techniques to help you complete more cold calls per hour while maintaining effectiveness:
– Stand up while calling to boost energy. Use a headset for hands-free calling.
– Take short breaks between calls to refresh – get a drink of water, stretch your legs, etc.
– Keep a visible call countdown timer on your desk to stay on pace. Challenge yourself to beat your record daily.
– Sort prospects from easiest to hardest. Front-load your call sessions with warmer leads you identified during research.
– Have your CRM or auto-dialer feed you the next number instantly upon call completion. Avoid delays flipping through your list.
– Post a leaderboard tracking call volume on your team. Friendly competition can help motivate higher call rates.
– Roleplay with colleagues to rehearse your script and calling style. Practice will increase your confidence and efficiency.
Handling Rejection and Voicemails
Rejection and voicemails are inevitable in cold calling. Don’t let them derail your call volume:
– Keep going after hang-ups or rejections. Some will show interest if you persist professionally.
– Expect a voicemail 70-80% of the time. Leave compelling messages asking for a callback.
– For voicemails, cover just enough to spark interest without overexplaining. They will get the details when you connect directly.
– Log unsuccessful call attempts and follow up at least once more at a different date or time before removing the lead.
– Track your voicemail-to-callback ratio to optimize your messaging for future attempts.
– Use voicemail time productively – catch up on data entry, take a quick break, review your script, etc.
With practice, you can maintain a steady cold call pace of 15-30 contacts per hour while also effectively handling “no’s” and voicemails. The key is persistence and consistency in your approach.
How to Measure and Improve Call Productivity
To maximize the ROI of your cold calling, track these metrics:
– Call volume – Total number of calls made per hour/day/week
– Call-to-conversation rate – Percentage of calls in which you successfully speak with a prospect
– Appointments set – Number of discovery calls, demos, etc. scheduled
– Sales pipeline generated – Total dollar amount of new opportunities added to pipeline
– Voicemail rate – Percentage of calls that go to voicemail
– Callback rate – Percentage of voicemails that result in a returned call
Analyze these metrics weekly and monthly to spot trends. Use them to fine-tune your preparation, scripts, and overall approach. This data-driven refinement will steadily improve your cold call productivity.
Disciplined cold calling can generate promising new business, but call efficiency impacts results. Experienced sales reps make 15-30 cold calls per hour on average. Optimize your workspace, practice your script, leverage auto-dialing, and track key metrics to increase your call volume. Handling rejection and voicemails professionally also maintains a steady calling cadence. With data-driven refinement of your approach, you can expect to boost cold call productivity over time.