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You may know I’m a Brit. At the time of this post, the UK government is going through it’s 27th vote on Brexit. (Actually I don’t know how many votes there have been. It’s unlikely anyone could agree on the definition of “vote”.)
I’m involved in helping companies sell more effectively. There is an issue in sales that is a lot like Brexit. It’s super-contentious and you can find people to argue for and against it, and probably have 27 discussions. That issue is cold calling.
When it comes to cold calling I am a “leaver”.
My best rationale for why is based on data. Data on this subject is hard to come by so whenever I see some that seems credible I save it. Here’s what I’ve got so far.
1. Baylor University
In 2011, Baylor University conducted a research study on cold calling with realtors from Keller Williams. They ended up having 50 agents make 6,264 cold calls. Each of the 50 agents spent one hour per day for seven days making calls. 28% of their calls resulted in a conversation with a human. They set 19 appointments.
Here’s some math:
- 50 agents spending 7 hours making calls = 350 man-hours of work
- 6,264 calls to get 19 appointments = 330 calls to get one appointment
- 350 man-hours of work for 19 appointments = 18 hours of work per appointment
2. Insight from Vorsight
Here’s some data Steve Richard (a smart sales expert) published based on his experience running the outsourced B2B calling firm Vorsight. In this case Steve’s team are calling businesses selling offerings like technology solutions and business services.
Each SDR (Sales Development Rep) makes 609 calls per week to get 21.4 conversations per week and 6.7 appointments.
- 7 appointments per week for a 40-hour week (I’m assuming Steve’s SDRs work 8-hour days and spend their whole day calling), implies 6 hours of work per appointment
3. Found on the web
I found this data on the web. It’s from a company owner looking to grow their web development shop. It’s something I found on the Internet so take it with some salt but still the numbers sound real to me.
- Cold calls made: 1,606, appointment set: 14, time spent: approximately 64 hours (eight 8-hour days), so 5 hours of work per appointment
4. Some experience of mine
Back in 2004 I ran an outsourced calling firm like Vorsight. We tracked our numbers back then and found that roughly 1 in 10 dials went through to a human and 1 in 10 of those conversations resulted in an appointment. My blokes back then made about 10 calls per hour. (Yes, I’m rounding with all these 10’s but it’s close to actual numbers so let’s keep the math simpler!)
In a 40-hour week we would average 4 appointments, which is one appointment per 10 hours of work
Here’s some cold calling data boiled down into time units.
- Baylor: 18 hours for one appointment
- Vorsight: 6 hours for one appointment
- “Warrior” business owner: 5 hours for one appointment
- Sales 2.0: 10 hours for one appointment
Let’s do some averaging that means across that data it takes an average of 9.75 hours of cold calling to get one appointment.