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Are Cold Call Numbers Important?

The well worn sales joke:
Mgr: How many calls did you make today?
Sls: 27. I would have made more, but someone wanted to know what I was sellin' !

Are calling quotas realistic? I think not.
On the other hand, I think the salesperson needs to understand what is acceptable and how it is measured. But measuring the number of calls, cold ones at that, doesn't fly. - by BIG Mike
But measuring the number of calls, cold ones at that, doesn't fly.
Call counts alone makes no sense at all. That seems to imply that each call was executed properly which is not realistic. - by Bulldog
I often hear amongst my colleagues,"it's a numbers game" which implys to me that the laws of probability will eventually get you a sale which I disagree with totally.

Give me 4/5 confirmed leads a day with decision makers instead of the 20 cold calls I normally do in the field. The numbers of cold calls I make aren't important. I'd rather make 10 effective cold calls a day instead of 25/30 basic ones without any success factor other than finding out who the decision maker is. - by krashslaughta
I think that the purpose of numbers of calls is to measure activity. Its to work out whether the salesperson concerned is actually doing any work. In my experience, the numbers can give you a good idea whether you have an effective and motivated sales team or a bunch of timewasters. - by Julian
I think that the purpose of numbers of calls is to measure activity. Its to work out whether the salesperson concerned is actually doing any work. In my experience, the numbers can give you a good idea whether you have an effective and motivated sales team or a bunch of timewasters.
I agree but the downside of this is that a bunch of numbers can be used in a negative way. Fon instance I've not had a good month sales wise but my activity has been high. The one thing that stands out on my sales call sheet is the big, red mark that's against my total amount sold. Very frustrating when you're putting the effort in - by krashslaughta
I know this is an older thread, but I thought I'd jump in with my two cents anyway. I track these three numbers for my telemarketing team:
  1. Dials
  2. Dials to decision-makers reached
  3. Decision-makers reached to appointments set
Number of dials tells me how much effort any given telemarketer is making. (Department goal is about 100 calls a day.)

Dials to decision-makers reached tells me how much follow-up effort is being made once a decision-maker has been identified, but not yet reached. (Our department goal is 1 decision-maker for every 10 calls.) One telemarketer was reaching a decision-maker 10-15% of the time, while another was doing so less than 4%. Over a period of time, it was impossible to attribute this to simply good or bad luck.

Decision-makers reached to appointments set tells me how skilled they are at closing. (Goal is 1 appointment for every 4 decision-makers spoken with.)

Tracking all 3 numbers give me the whole story and tells me what I need to work on with each person. I've found that by focusing on the weak area(s), we've improved both our overall efficiency (i.e., effort and follow-up) and effectiveness (i.e., closing skill). - by John Tabita
I track the activity, dollar value of the potential deal... and how far along the deal is... then I look at the weighted value of deals we're working on... It is a way to track the activity and activity value. This is how we manage our pipeline. - by Andrea
I track the activity, dollar value of the potential deal... and how far along the deal is... then I look at the weighted value of deals we're working on... It is a way to track the activity and activity value. This is how we manage our pipeline.
I agree with this approach as well. I should have qualified my post by saying that my team are strictly appointment setters, not a sales team. Once we set the appointment, the rest of the sales process is out of our hands. I can only assume and hope that our sales managers are doing everything Andrea mentioned... - by John Tabita
I track the activity, dollar value of the potential deal... and how far along the deal is... then I look at the weighted value of deals we're working on... It is a way to track the activity and activity value. This is how we manage our pipeline.
We work in a very similar fashion, and I've compared notes with other top producers, and they do too.

Good stuff, Andrea. - by Ace Coldiron
I agree with this approach as well. I should have qualified my post by saying that my team are strictly appointment setters, not a sales team. Once we set the appointment, the rest of the sales process is out of our hands. I can only assume and hope that our sales managers are doing everything Andrea mentioned...
Wow... is there no feedback loop to the appt setters? As a salesperson what I hate the most is being set up with an unqualified prospect. That's why I prefer to do my own cold calling ;bg. I always get "this one is hot!!!" then when I call it turns out to be hot but for something we dont' offer or they don't remember what it was all about.

I think there should be a feedback loop so that both the appt setter and the sales person are both accountable for $$ sales. JMHO. - by Andrea
Once we set the appointment, the rest of the sales process is out of our hands...
I disagree. I have done telemarketing and the appt is only as good as the telemarker makes it. Most telemarketers, unfortunatley, will write up anyone they can keep on the phone. There is a HUGE difference between an appointment (which they may or may not remember since they probably aren't really interested) and good solid lead where there is genuine interest in what the sales rep will be presenting. One is a possible sale, the other is a waste of time! annyd; - by lisamom
I disagree. I have done telemarketing and the appt is only as good as the telemarker makes it. Most telemarketers, unfortunatley, will write up anyone they can keep on the phone. There is a HUGE difference between an appointment (which they may or may not remember since they probably aren't really interested) and good solid lead where there is genuine interest in what the sales rep will be presenting. One is a possible sale, the other is a waste of time! annyd;
I agree up to a point. Yes, a telemarketer can be overbearing to the point that the person agrees to the appointment just to get him/her off the phone.

However, if we've clearly articulated the value of our offering and the person says "yes" to the appointment, then there is some level of interest in our product/service. It's up to the rep to take it to the next step. That's what I meant by, "Once we set the appointment, the rest of the sales process is out of our hands..."

Some reps (no one here, I'm sure) want leads that are sooo quailfied that all they have to do is ask them to sign on the dotted line. In the past, we've had some reps bail on our appointments because they think the ones we set are poor quality. Others have used it as an excuse to justify not making the sale. But the good reps who appreciate our appointments have the attitude of: "Just get me in front of a decision-maker and I'll sell them."

IMO, the amount of qualifying you do ought to be based on size of your sale, the length of your sales cycle, and the complexity of your business. We sell advertising. Ours is fast-paced business, with a short sales cycle and a publication deadline that must be met. Getting our reps in front of as many decision-makers as possible within a narrow window is key. My team is making 90+ calls per day, per person, so there's not a whole lot of time spent on "qualifying." If they understand what we're selling, that it has the potential to help them get more customers, and they say, "Yes, I'd like to met with a rep," then they've qualified themselves.

Your business model may be entirely different. When I ran my web business, I took great pains to actually dis-qualify people, because it was a more complex sale, therefore the timeline from intial contact to closed sale was much longer (sometimes 2-3 months), so I couldn't afford to waste time with tire-kickers or people who couldn't make up their mind. But when I tried to apply a lengthy qualifying process to a shorter, fast-paced sales cycle, it simply wasn't effective. - by John Tabita
I gave up doing all that human spam stuff about 5 years ago.
There are many more effective ways to get customers than to carpet bomb them. - by helisell
I think that the purpose of numbers of calls is to measure activity. Its to work out whether the salesperson concerned is actually doing any work. In my experience, the numbers can give you a good idea whether you have an effective and motivated sales team or a bunch of timewasters.

100% wrong attitude. Unless you are in a calling center your idea doesnt work.
Someone can call fruitlessly or actually make calls that count.
Calls that count take time unless you have the RIGHT name and number and have spoken before.... which incase is then NOT a cold call.
Remember sales cycle length too. - by Gil Gunderson
I know this is an older thread, but I thought I'd jump in with my two cents anyway. I track these three numbers for my telemarketing team:
  1. Dials
  2. Dials to decision-makers reached
  3. Decision-makers reached to appointments set
I would add to this that it is important to collect the reasons associated with the 'No' answers. By analyzing this data we've been able to gain insight into issues the sales guy is having that are affecting his performance, and then provide coaching to eliminate those issues. - by DaveB
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