Top 54 Cold Calling Statistics for Prospecting Success 2023

Check out our list of key cold calling statistics for salespeople, including cold calls’ effectiveness, challenges, and common mistakes.

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Thanks to the rise of newer prospecting methods like social selling, cold calling has spent a lot of time under interrogation. Many companies have run studies and surveys to find out whether cold calling still works, and, if so, how to do it more effectively. From these various studies, we’ve compiled the top cold calling statistics across the following categories:

Cold Calling Statistics Infographic

If you're interested in taking a deep dive into the cold calling topic, check out our ultimate guide on cold calling. There you'll find the effectiveness, plus the steps and scripts to do it successfully.

Effectiveness of Cold Calling for Prospecting

Cold calls have a success rate of 2% in converting cold leads to warm prospects. (Source: Charlie Cook's Marketing for Success)

27% of sellers say that reaching out to new contacts is extremely effective. (Source: LinkedIn)

Only 18% of buyers say they wouldn’t accept meetings with providers during an exploratory stage. (Source: RAIN Group)

An average of 39% of sales professionals reach C-level executives on the first cold call, followed by 72% for the second call and 93% for the third. (Source: Zippia)

41% of sales people believe the phone is their most important tool they have for work along with CRM software, email, and social media. (Source: TrackoLab)

92% of all lead interaction happens over the phone. (Source: SalesIntel) 

It takes an average of 8 call attempts to reach a general prospect. (Source: SalesIntel)

It takes sellers an average of 18 calls to connect with a technology buyer. (Source: Gartner)

65.2% of leads say they find value in discussing their situations with salespeople. (Source: CSO Insights)

45.6% of B2B leads are willing to hear new ideas at the beginning of a sales conversation. (Source: CSO Insights)

The data shows that cold calling is a numbers game. The more calls you make, the better chances you have of connecting with ideal prospects for lead generation. So don’t give up. Even though some claim cold calling is dead, if you do it consistently and correctly and you have accurate data, you’ll likely find it to be effective.

How Buyers Feel About Cold Calls

Only 2% of buyers state that they don't want to interact with a salesperson during the buying process. (Source: RAIN Group)

19% of potential buyers desire interaction with a salesperson during their awareness stage — the timeframe in the buying process when the buyer is actively researching and learning about the product or service. (Source: HubSpot)

49% of buyers prefer to be initially contacted through a cold call. (Source: RAIN Group)

54% of technology buyers prefer being contacted by cold call. This is more than buyers in financial services (40%) and professional services (50%). (Source: RAIN Group)

57% of C-level buyers and VPs list a cold call as their preferred way to be initially contacted, compared to 51% of directors and 47% of managers. (Source: RAIN Group)

69% of buyers have accepted phone calls from new providers in the last 12 months. (Source: RAIN Group)

71% of buyers want to hear from a salesperson early in the buying process — when the buyer is looking for new ideas and opportunities to improve their business. (Source: RAIN Group)

84% of prospects who have been cold called say the caller came across as pushy. (Source: Crunchbase)

82% of buyers say that they accept meetings with salespeople who reach out to them over cold calls. They also say that 70% of salespeople contact them over the phone to book meetings. (Source: RAIN Group)

82% of B2B decision makers think that sales representatives making the cold calls are unprepared. (Source: LinkedIn)

Buyers are generally open to receiving cold calls from salespeople, especially if a salesperson comes with new insights, ideas, or research that can help them improve their business or overcome current obstacles. Higher-level executives also seem to be more appreciative of these calls.

How Sales Reps Can Successfully Cold Call

7% of top sales performers report pitching. That percentage jumps to 19% for non-top performers. While top salespeople might pitch, they prioritize engaging buyers in conversation. (Source: Sales Insights Lab)

Tuesday has a cold call connection rate of 10% and gradually decreases throughout the week leaving Friday's connection rate to be 8.7%. (Source: LinkedIn)

You’re 2.1 times more likely to book another meeting if you begin a cold call by clearly stating why you’re calling. (Source: LinkedIn)

Those who discuss their product or service 50% less than the average will result in increased cold calling success. (Source: Sales Insights Lab)

48% of salespeople do not make a follow-up call and 44% of salespeople do not make a second follow-up call. Given that 93% of executives pick up on the third attempt, it's important to follow up at least twice. (Source: Invesp)

Top performing salespeople typically speak 6% slower than other sellers, at about 171 wpm. (Source: Sales Insights Lab)

Beginning a cold call with “I understand we share a common LinkedIn group” raises the chances of securing an appointment/meeting by 70%. (Source: LinkedIn)

In successful cold calls, there are 77% more switches between who’s speaking than there are in unsuccessful cold calls. (Source: LinkedIn)

The tone of your voice determines 93% of whether your cold call will succeed. (Source: Close)

Finding a common connection with a lead during a cold call can increase the likelihood of setting another meeting by 70%. (Source: LinkedIn)

Only 22% of salespeople have a formal referral program to utilize during cold calling. (Source: Zippia)

Sellers who open their cold calls with their reason for calling boost their cold call success rate by 2.1 times. (Source: Gong)

Asking about the lead's well-being at the beginning of a cold call boosts your likelihood of booking an appointment by 3.4 times. (Source: LinkedIn)

As salespeople, we're taught to listen. On a cold call, however, it’s more important that you speak (and say the right thing). This is your chance to get the individual interested in taking a meeting, so speak confidently about the benefits of your solution.

Common Cold Call Mistakes to Avoid

The worst dates/times to place a cold call are Fridays, specifically afternoons. (Source: Crunchbase)

91% of customers say they’d give referrals. Only 11% of salespeople ask for them. (Source: Dale Carnegie)

Opening with “How are you?” only gives you a 5.2% success rate, while asking “How have you been?” gives you a 6.6 times higher success rate. (Source: Zippia)

44% of sales representatives stop the sale after receiving negative feedback in the first call made. (Source: SmallBiz Genius)

Salespeople often think the only positive outcome of a cold call is a booked appointment — they’re missing out on referrals. If the lead isn’t a good fit, ask if they know anyone who is; if you were polite, they might be open to giving you another name to call. Learn from salespeople’s common mistakes or your own, and you’ll start to secure more referrals and appointments.

Effectiveness of Leaving Cold Call Voicemails

94% of all calls from unknown numbers go to voicemail boxes, so leaving a well crafted voicemail can increase your response rate by 3% to 22%. (Source: Zippia)

The average voicemail response rate is 4.8%. (Source: Pipeline)

11% of voicemails salespeople leave get a response on the first attempt, 22% get replies on the second attempt, and 33% get responses after the third voicemail. (Source: Sales Hacker)

80% of calls end in a voicemail, and 90% of first-time voicemails never receive a response. (Source: ZoomInfo)

A perfect sales voicemail should be in the neighborhood of 20 to 30 seconds. (Source: HubSpot)

On average, sales reps will spend 15% of their time leaving voicemails. (Source: Pipeline)

It’s best to test the effectiveness of voicemails on your specific customer type. Consider testing cold calls with crafted voicemails and calls without them to see whether it’s worth the time investment.

Challenges of Cold Calling

On average, sellers spend just 23% of their work week selling to prospects. And less valuable administrative paperwork eats up 22% of their time. (Source: Pace Productivity)

Inaccurate B2B contact information wastes 27.3% of sales representative's time, equating to 546 hours per year for a full-time sales representative. (Source: LinkedIn)

Just 37% of prospects feel sales reps that have cold called them delivered relevant information regarding their needs. However, nearly 75% of salespeople thought they were spot-on with what they knew and pitched. If it’s hard to tell where a cold call went wrong, it’s tough to improve next time. (Source: HubSpot)

42% of sellers claim they lack the data necessary for making a good cold call. (Source: Lattice Engine)

Every year, 43% of people change their phone numbers. (Source: ZoomInfo)

48% of sales professionals say they’re afraid to pick up the phone to make a cold call. (Source: ValueSelling Associates, Inc.)

92% of sales people give up after only four “no’s.” (Source: Marketing Donut)

Typically, sales people don’t make any more than 2 attempts to get ahold of leads through cold calling. (Source: LinkedIn)

63% of sales reps say cold calls are the worst part of the job. (Source: Zippia)

88% of buyers say they have mostly nothing to do with cold callers. (Source: LinkedIn)

In a firm of 50-100 people, there is an average of seven people involved in a purchasing decision. This makes it tough for a salesperson to find the right decision maker on a cold call. (Source: Gartner Group)

Salespeople often struggle to make successful cold calls because of a lack of accurate data. This makes it hard not only to reach the individual, but also to do proper research to personalize the cold call messaging to the recipient.

Bottom Line: Cold Calling Statistics

The answer to whether cold calling is effective varies across industries. Some sellers will see more success with it than others. But in general, the data shows that as long as it is done with tact and personalization, cold calling is an effective way to reach decision makers and quickly form relationships with them. This is especially true in the B2B space when reaching out to higher-level executives. For more key statistics, check out our roundup of top sales statistics for better selling.

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