One of the sales questions we hear most often is: “How many cold calls per hour should I make?” Like most sales process questions, there is no simple answer. Before you can find the solution that best suits your situation, you need to ask a few important questions:
- What is the objective of my call?
- What is the quality of my list?
- Will I be using a CRM?
- Are the calls cold (never been contacted) or are the calls warm (is this the second or more attempt)?
- Will there be any additional sales related activities required, e.g. quotes, order processing, and appointment scheduling?
- When you have answers to these important questions, you can calculate your cold call activity rate.
How to Calculate Cold Calls per HourTo calculate the number of cold calls you should make per hour, let’s begin by making the following assumptions:
- Objective: Book a meeting.
- List Quality: Average. You have a Company name, Point of Contact, and phone number.
- CRM: Yes.
- Cold Calls: This is the first attempt for this list.
- Sales Administration: Meetings need to be scheduled.
When you are making your first attempt at cold calls, we recommend that you spend a few minutes researching the company you are calling by looking at their website or doing a quick Google search on the company name.
You can get bogged down and absorbed in this activity if you are not careful. I suggest you spend no more than two minutes per prospect on this type of activity and another one minute making a quick note in your CRM about what you have learned about the prospect. This will save you from having to look up the company again on your second attempt.
Average Cold Call Prep Time = 3 minutes.
When your objective is to book a meeting and you are making your first attempt at a contact, your average call time will be very short.
You will spend a lot of time in “voicemail land” or being directed to other points of contact by a gatekeeper. These calls will usually average one minute over the course of a day. So, if you assume there will be only a few live contacts/conversations, then your average talk time per call will be about one-and-a-half minutes.
Average Talk Time/Call = 1.5 minutes.
After each call you should learn something about your prospect that will “warm up” your next call.
You should allow at least another minute to disposition your first attempt in your CRM application and capture additional information such as:
- Title from the prospect’s voicemail
- Assistant/gatekeeper’s name
- Best option on the automatic response system
- Backup person’s name, cell phone number, vacation or office schedule
Average Cold Call Disposition Time = 1 minute.
Finally, let’s assume that you book two meetings per day as a result of your efforts, and it takes about eight minutes to have the conversation with the prospect and to send out the meeting invitations.
If you work an eight-hour day and your entire day is dedicated to cold calling, this activity will average two minutes per hour.
Scheduling Meetings = 2 minutes.
In summary, when we include pre-call research, the actual call, and post-call CRM updates, you should allow an average of seven-and-a-half minutes for each cold call.
60 minutes divided by 7.5 minutes per call equals 8 cold calls per hour.
Use the Cold Call Formula to Grow Your Pipeline
In our experience, a diligent inside sales person making their first pass through a new list will be able to easily achieve 8-10 calls per hour.
The cold calls per hour will increase as the list becomes warmer and more refined over the next few calls. This will allow a good inside sales person to average 10-12 calls per hour while effectively maintaining and updating information in the CRM.
Therefore, when asked how many cold calls per hour should an inside sales person be able to make, a fair and reasonable response is 10 calls per hour.
To learn more about how to set more meetings and build a bigger pipeline, download our eBook detailing the “Active Demand Generation” methodology.