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What percentage of cold calls result in a sale?

If you’ve seen any of Maverriks content concerning cold calls and the results your sales team will get from the practice, then you’ll know what this article will be all about. If you’re still reading on then you’re probably considering cold calling right now, or want to find a better way of your current cold calling practice. So, let’s look at the results and pick apart what we find. 

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Calls Answered Vs. Calls Missed

Taking a look at the cold calling sales process you won’t get a result or even a sales if you don’t pick up the phone. But, simply making the call doesn’t mean you’ll successfully reach a prospect. 80% of your calls will be going straight to voicemail. It’s impossible to pitch or generate a conversation if the person at the other end of the phone is missing your calls. 

Of course, you can optimise your calling by calling at the right time, being persistent with at least 6 calls per prospect and leaving voicemails, but if the person at the end of the line knows you’re trying to sell to them they will try every method to avoid those calls unless they are truly interested in speaking to you. This makes outbound calling a time-consuming process with little return on investment. 

Now let’s take a look at the figures… 

Cold Calling Sales Results

Over 80% of decision-makers will not buy from a cold call. – via Unifyo

Cold calling costs 60% more per lead than any other method. – via Unifyo

It can take up to 6 Calls to turn a prospect into a sale – CallHippo

Representatives must make an average of 18 calls to reach one potential buyer. – TOPO / Gartner

Experts say that almost half of sales reps stop with sales follow up after the first call. – Marketing Wizdom

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

So, What is the true percentage of cold calls to sales ratio? 

Cold Calling only has a 2.5% percentage rate. Out of 100 sales calls an experienced salesperson will expect to have at least 2 successful sales calls. This success is in the form of creating a follow-up meeting or booking a new appointment. 

If you take a look at the data above you can piece together the RIO for cold calling. The average cold call will take an average of 10 minutes. Assuming the prospect answers the call, the salesperson is experienced and everything goes according to plan. With the data from Gartner, we can see it will take an average of 180 minutes or 3 hours to reach ONE potential buyer.  

Warming Up Leads with Social Selling

Now I don’t want to rain on the parade of a successful cold caller, it takes a lot of time, energy and skill to be prolific at cold calling. Unfortunately, all this success can come at the cost of the business, with little return on investment in comparison to social selling. What I have seen work quite well is the adoption of social selling alongside cold calling. 82% of prospects check companies on LinkedIn before taking calls from their salespeople. With the figure that high it’s only natural to adopt social selling strategies to warm up leads, rather than straight-up cold calling. 

Personally, I’d recommend the social selling method over any cold calling practice as it leads to less churning through contacts and annoys your prospects less. But, if that doesn’t seem feasible then an adoption method will be your best bet for increasing your cold calling performance.


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