While cold calling has long been one of the most effective ways to expand your customer base, predicting the best time to cold call prospects is not a simple task.
The past few years have changed how —and where — many people work and engage with businesses. Additional factors like remote global teams, flexible work locations, and wide-ranging schedules make it even more difficult to pinpoint cold-calling trends.
Let’s see what the research has to say about the best times to call buyers in 2023.
Table of Contents
- Best Time of Day to Cold Call
- Understanding the Right Time and Strategies for Cold Calls
- Cold Outreach Statistics in 2023: B2B vs B2C
Best Time of Day to Cold Call
The best time of day to cold call a prospect is in the late morning between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. their local time. Most people are getting started and are more open to disruptions than at other times of the day. They're also more likely to be at their desks. Keep reading for the second-best time to call your prospects.
Understanding the Right Time and Strategies for Cold Calls
While the right time and strategies depend on your business and customers, going into cold outreach armed with best practices and solid strategies can help you increase your cold sales success.
1. The Best Day for Sales Calls
We recently asked 109 sales professionals in the United States about cold calling. While Wednesday and Thursday have long been the best days of the week to call prospects, our data shows that Wednesday is emerging as the best day. Thursday is a distant second, with Tuesday close behind.
This finding isn’t completely surprising. After all, people are usually gearing up for the weekend on Friday and aren’t interested in starting a relationship with a salesperson.
On Monday, buyers are transitioning into work mode and planning their upcoming week.
By the middle of the week, people have had enough time to settle into their working week and take care of pressing matters without your call feeling like an interruption.
It may initially be surprising that nearly 14% of people find that the weekends are a great time to call. However, some sales pros are in B2C industries, like real estate, retail, and hospitality. They need to connect with their prospects outside of normal business hours. In this case, weekend times make more sense.
2. The Best Time of Day for Sales Calls
Overwhelmingly, people are still making more sales calls in the first half of the day. So when is the best time to cold call? Our data shows that late morning between 10 a.m. and noon is best.
Making an early morning sales call makes sense. It lets you connect with prospects before their to-do lists become overwhelmingly long. But is it really the optimal time to catch someone at work?
RingDNA’s study last year is in close alignment with our study, showing the highest likelihood of answered calls occurring before the lunch hour.
When you think about the structure of a typical office day, you realize at 11 a.m., most people are wrapping up tasks before taking lunch, making them available and more willing to take a sales call than earlier in the day when they tackle the morning’s on-fire tasks.
So when is the next best time to cold call?
People responding to our survey indicated that just after lunch is the next best time.
Fewer people felt like the mid-late afternoon was a good time. However, Indeed’s data shows that late in the day can be a good time to reach prospects as they begin winding down and are less inclined to start new tasks, which makes them more receptive to taking a phone call from you.
What is all this to say? You know your prospects best. And if you don’t, take some time to learn about how they are most likely to structure their days.
3. The Worst Time of the Day for Sales Calls
What are most professionals in your organization doing between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.? Trickling into work. And with many people still working remotely, that makes work schedules and start times a bit more unpredictable.
When calling before 10 a.m., it’s uncertain whether your prospects are ready and willing to take your call. Once people have settled into their workday, the first hour or two is generally spent organizing the day and resolving immediate requests.
Oh, and don‘t hold out hope you’ll reach a decision-maker if you call earlier or later in the day. Those beginning work before 8 a.m. are usually looking to get work done without distraction, making them less likely to pick up the phone. The same goes for those burning the midnight oil.
The only caveat for an early morning call is if you’re in a different time zone than your prospects. For example, if you’re in Los Angeles and trying to reach someone in Boston, 7 a.m. your time is 10 a.m. on the East Coast.
4. Response Time Matters
If you aren't following up with new leads within the first hour they become qualified, you could be leaving valuable opportunities on the table.
CallHippo identified that clients follow-up calls within an hour of submitting an inquiry and those that didn't.
What’s more, 78% of buyers purchase from the first company to respond to their inquiry, meaning the faster you can respond to an inbound lead, the better. Sales teams that don’t respond within five minutes experience a lead qualification decrease of 80%.
Suffice to say, your ability to respond to a lead quickly can make or break your ability to land the sale. The moral of this story? When in doubt, call immediately.
5. Persistence Pays Off
Do you quit calling a lead after your second or third voicemail? You might be selling yourself short. The majority of sales — as much as 80% — come after five or more follow-up calls.
What makes this so astounding? According to the same study, only about half of salespeople make even one follow-up, and 44% give up after that.
Don't give up too soon.
And, it’s not just calls you’ll need to use to make the sale. Plan on multiple touchpoints and channels. 84% of sales end up taking place over two to four different channels.
6. Scripts Can Increase Close Rates
Our recent survey found that while some people use absolutely no script, 81% of salespeople prefer to use call scripts to guide sales conversations. This isn’t surprising because scripts can increase your success rate by 500%.
What may surprise you is that 48% of salespeople prefer scripts that are detailed and designed to give them flexibility in responses. Most people find that bullet points aren’t specific enough, but adding detail and offering a few paths can help you overcome objections while flowing with the conversation.
After all, you may have a specific goal in mind while doing cold outreach. But, if your solution doesn’t work for the client, you may be able to save the sale with a different offer.
Creating scripts that allow for a variety of prospect responses often makes it easier to respond and point them in a direction that helps them, without turning them away if one solution doesn’t work for their needs.
Need a starting point for your cold call script? Grab our template here.
Cold Outreach Statistics in 2023: B2B vs B2C
Recent HubSpot surveys of sales professionals provide some fascinating insights that go beyond the best time to cold call. Here are some statistics to consider as you create your cold call and sales strategies.
61% of B2B companies and 52% of B2C companies are using cold outreach to increase sales, showing that cold calling is still highly important and relevant in today’s world, despite changes brought about by the pandemic.
- Phone calls remain the most common form of cold outreach, used by 73% and 64% of B2B and B2C companies, respectively.
- Email is close behind, with 68% of B2B and 53% of B2C employing cold emails.
Now that we know what is most popular, it’s time to look at what’s most effective.
- 53% of B2B companies and 43% of B2C companies find that phone calls are the most effective channels for cold outreach.
The takeaway? While social media and text messaging are growing, phone and email are not just the most popular forms of cold outreach. They’re also the most effective, by far, dwarfing response rates.
Choose the Best Time and Strategy for Cold Calling
Ultimately, picking the right time to make your sales calls is essential to sales success. While these six rules of thumb are a good place to start, you may find different strategies work better for your business. Test these approaches and adopt the ones that work for you. You might be surprised to find how many more prospects you can reach with a few simple tweaks.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.