Sales reps often dread cold calling. In fact, 63% of salespeople say cold calling is what they dislike most about their jobs (source). So, why is that? Cold calling is not an easy job by any means, however it’s necessary for successful/efficient prospecting. It requires dedicated time, a structured process and consistency to set qualified appointments over the phone.
It takes an average of 18 calls to actually connect with a buyer (HubSpot). That means you should try to call through your database a minimum of 18 times before retiring a list or ruling out this prospecting method. Oftentimes, salespeople give up after only two or three attempts but that simply isn’t giving tele-prospecting a chance to gain results.
Let’s say your goal is to set two appointments per week. Based off our experience, you can typically anticipate that an average of 200 dials is needed per week, which will likely generate conversations with 20 people. From those 20 people it is highly likely you will schedule two appointments. If your sales team is responsible for executing, their contact to appointment conversion should greatly improve. Now, this isn’t always the case due to many factors, however this equation is a good baseline to use when calculating the dial activity needed to gain the results you’re after. After executing cold calling effectively and consistently, you will be able to determine an accurate benchmark for your organization.
200 dials could take anywhere from 7.5 hours to 12.5 hours. If you are having more conversations, it’s understood that dial activity will be on the lower side, but conversations are a good thing. Not only do conversations increase your chance of booking an appointment, but they provide an opportunity to fact find. Leaving voicemails will also change dial efforts. If you have a simple system in place for logging call results and navigating your database, it will be much easier for your reps to meet their numbers and achieve success.
This is simply a starting point for your team to configure how much effort is required for cold calling based on how many appointments you’d like to set on a weekly basis. We based our conversion on setting two appointments per week because it’s the standard for our clients, but to keep things simple we broke it down to 100 dials, 10 contacts and one appointment. If your goal is to set five appointments per week you need to shoot for 500 dials and 50 contacts.
The contact rate is the hardest percentage to move, but if you can increase the number of contacts made, you will most likely get more appointments. Having a clean and targeted database will help increase your dial to contact ratio. You won’t always get the decision maker right when you are curating your prospecting list, but you have opportunities in your conversations to change and update data accordingly along the way.
We often say that appointment setting is a numbers game. We say this because in most cases sales reps simply don’t put enough effort into cold calling to warrant desired results. As much as the numbers do matter, there are also many other factors that weigh in on tele-prospecting results. Pounding out 100 random dials is not going to cut it.
Here are a few factors that play a role in successful appointment setting:
- Targeted Database
- Right Messaging
- Simple Process
It is critical to start your cold calling efforts with a well curated prospecting list. If you take the time to build this properly your outreach will have the highest chance of producing great results for your team.
Documenting a thoughtful and strategic talk track is a must-have. Good messaging is the driver of your conversations and can make or break your cold call. Be prepared for someone to pick up the phone.
It’s very important to have a simple process for tracking and reporting call activity and outcomes. Remember, if you’re going through your database 18 times, you will need to be very organized in documenting your efforts. If you are able to utilize a CRM that allows you to create call queues, you can smash out dials and quickly record outcomes. Working smart allows you to work quickly but efficiently.
Establishing set sessions for your team to only focus on cold calling will keep them on pace to meet their dials and ultimately meet your weekly appointment goal. You can spread the sessions throughout the week to still allow for other tasks and avoid burnout. Consistency is also super important when it comes to recording outcomes, taking notes and following up.
As we’ve mentioned, there are many contributing elements to successful appointment setting over the phone. There’s always questions around cold calling and whether or not it is a good method for prospecting. It certainly isn’t a good method if you don’t execute properly. We are firm believers in prospecting with a multi-faceted approach, so you can solely rely on this method to produce all of your desired results but it certainly shouldn’t be overlooked. Use 100 dials as a starting point to help you determine the required effort your team must put forth to get those appointments. After you’ve been cold calling for a while take a look at your data and see how you need to adjust. There are many data points to help highlight successes and areas for growth but two important measurements to focus on is your dial to contact ratios and contact to appointment ratios.