Back in the day, cold calling was the primary strategy for many sales teams. Not any more. Most businesses see the average cold calling conversion rate and steer clear, opting for digital strategies instead.

At face value, this seems like a smart play. When used correctly, an automated funnel allows you to generate leads with relatively little ongoing effort.

But could you be missing out on big opportunities by going digital only?

It’s an idea that goes against the grain, but hear us out. In this post, we’re going to look at why cold calling was abandoned — and why you should think about adopting it once more.

Isn’t Cold Calling Dead and Buried?

If you were to make a direct comparison between sales techniques in the 1980s and the present day, you would notice some significant differences.

In particular, cold calling has gone from being standard practice to being a complete outlier.

The change can mostly be attributed to technology and how it has shaped cultural norms. In general, we rely far more on instant messaging than phone calls nowadays. 

Marketers and salespeople always follow the crowd, so it’s little wonder that cold calling has fallen away. But there are still instances where talking is the most efficient way to communicate. 

cold calling generates sales

Cold Calling Conversion Rates Give a False Impression

Many sales consultants point to the conversion rate of cold calling as a reason to drop this tactic. It varies between industries, but most studies put the overall average figure at somewhere between 1% and 6%. 

You might be thinking this sounds like a massive waste of time and money, given that every call takes the attention of a sales rep. But what if the average conversion rate didn’t tell the full story?

The thing is, that average figure is dragged down by those annoying spam callers. You know, the ones that dial your number three times a day to offer you insurance or something else you don’t want?

These call centers not only mask the true conversion rate of cold calling — they give the practice a bad reputation, as well. But when cold calling is done properly, the recipient is actually likely to welcome the connection.

The Evidence in Favor of Cold Calling

Don’t believe us? These stats from RAIN Group should persuade you otherwise:

69% of buyers accept calls from new salespeople

Most buyers are pretty comfortable on the phone, so it makes sense that they will respond to incoming calls. In fact, you’re probably more likely to reach them this way than by sending an email that will get lost in their inbox.

62% of buyers want to receive a call when looking for solutions

In business, problems cost money. If you can offer the right solution at the right time, any buyer will be interested in your pitch. Not least because you will be saving them research time.

82% of buyers are willing to meet sales reps who reach out

If you take a passive approach to lead generation, there is a stronger chance that prospects may stumble upon your competitors. By anticipating demand and reaching out, there is a good chance you will be able to book some meetings.

51% of company owners prefer being contacted via the phone

If you want to reach people at a higher level, cold calling might be your best bet. Founders and CEOs barely have time to reply to important emails from staff and clients, let alone your speculative pitch. 

the key stats for cold calling

How to Boost Your Cold Calling Conversion Rate

So, it’s clear that cold calling still has a place in sales and marketing today — particularly in terms of B2B. 

The question is, how do you make this tactic work for your business? If you’re thinking about giving cold calling a try, here are some principles to work to:

1) Choose the Right Prospects

One of the main causes of poor conversion rates is indiscriminate cold calling. 

Calls take time, and reps usually have to dial many times before they actually get through to their prospect. That is a lot of effort to waste on someone who doesn’t fit your buyer persona.

To avoid this pitfall, it’s essential to cherry-pick the contacts to call. Make sure you are phoning the right person, at a company with the right profile. If you can find any clues online about their funding or recent product launches, so much the better.

LinkedIn is an excellent place to go scouting for potential clients, and for finding key information.

2) Prepare for Every Call

Another reason to research your prospects is preparation for the call.

Like many other forms of sales and marketing, the best cold calls are personalized. The individual you are contacting should feel like a top priority. 

In order to deliver this kind of service, you need to understand every prospect — from their job description through to recent company news. These details might seem unimportant, but they can really help to break the ice and build trust over the phone.

Of course, there is a limit to how much time you can spend on gathering information. Using a tool like Datanyze can help. With a click, our Chrome extension lets you view key information about any LinkedIn user.

3) Use a Carefully Crafted Script

Just as you might use a template for email prospecting, it’s a smart move to create a script for your cold calls.

A script ensures you will hit every key point. You can also run A/B testing on scripts, meaning you can optimize the structure of your pitch over time. 

When we say script, we don’t necessarily mean you should be planning out every word. Instead, try to create your opening lines and then build a list of bullet points. Remember that reps need to personalize the script for each prospect, so leave room for that.

4) Analyze and Improve

In digital marketing, we measure pretty much every click that a prospect makes. This data then informs everything from our choice of CTA to the color of the buy button.

If you want to see results from cold calling, you should be collecting similar data from every call. 

Tools like Chorus can automatically record and analyze calls, giving you valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t. 

For instance, data shows that the average length of a successful cold call is 7.5 minutes. The rep asks four questions on average, and both parties will have monologues lasting for 30 seconds or more.

Of course, your successful cold calls might not match these average figures. The key is to gather your own information, and then to optimize your scripts accordingly.

stats for the average successful cold call

5) Most Importantly…Preheat Your Calls

Under a strict definition, a cold call is when you dial the number of someone you have never previously communicated with. This lack of familiarity is often the key barrier to entry.

However, there are ways to make your cold call a little warmer. For instance, you can connect and engage with prospects on social media. LinkedIn is really good for this, because you have many ways to interact. 

You could also send an email in advance of your call, with a few details about your pitch. If your prospect sees the email, they will already be familiar with your name and your service when they pick up.

Improve Your Cold Calling Today

Maybe one day, cold calling will bite the dust. But that time is still some way off. For now, this sales strategy delivers impressive results for anyone who uses it correctly.

If you’re planning to do some cold calling yourself or you want to put some reps on the phones, explore our blog to pick up more cold calling tips and tactics.

If you want to make the pre-call research more efficient, remember to download our Chrome extension and sign up free to give Datanyze a try!