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Sales Stats #2: The Absolute Best Time to Cold Call

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As an inside sales rep or manager, your success depends on your prospects answering phone calls. But in order to get the best results, you need to make calls when your prospective clients are likely to answer.

Through our research, we’ve found that you can substantially increase your answer rate by calling prospects at the right time.

In the first installment of our Sales Stats series, we analyzed which months and seasons are best for making sales calls. Today, we’re going to use our data to show you the ideal times to make sales calls throughout the day.

Answer Rates by the Hour

We’ve gathered and analyzed data that spans over four years and contains more than 11 million outgoing calls. According to this dataset, here are the optimal times to make sales calls:

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First, a few notes: All times relate to the time zone of the person being called, not the caller. Also, 6 AM represents the complete hour from 6 AM to 7 AM.

Here are the actual percentages:

  • 6 AM: 2.31%
  • 7 AM: 3.73%
  • 8 AM: 11.84%
  • 9 AM: 14.09%
  • 10 AM: 15.53%
  • 11 AM: 14.95%
  • 12 PM: 13.53%
  • 1 PM: 14.41%
  • 2 PM: 15.01%
  • 3 PM: 14.44%
  • 4 PM: 14.07%
  • 5 PM: 12.58%
  • 6 PM: 12.39%
  • 7 PM: 12.59%
  • 8 PM: 11.81%
  • 9 PM: 12.09%

Let’s review the data so your sales team can make the right adjustments to their sales process.

The Facts

The data distinctly shows that certain times of the day are better for cold calling than others. Let’s see how you can use this information to improve your sales success.

  • Best times for cold calling: Our data shows that the most productive time to cold call prospects is 10 AM, with 15.53% of the calls being answered. That’s more than 3% better than the second best hour – 2 PM – which registered 15.01%.
  • Worst times for cold calling: Clearly, people don’t like answering their phone before 8 AM. If you need to reach key decision makers outside of normal operating hours, you should call them in the evening rather than the early morning.
  • Best blocks of time: As you can see in the chart, the hours from 9 AM to 4 PM are the best for making calls. But there’s a drop off during between 12 PM and 1 PM, so you may want to focus on something else during lunch-time.

There are a number of ways you can use this information to increase the success of your sales team:

  • Perform sales calls between 9 AM and 5 PM. If you or your sales reps work longer hours, have the calls continue past 5 PM rather than before 9 AM.
  • Perform other administrative tasks when answering rates are at their lowest. If you’ve been filling out order forms at 10 AM and making calls at noon, switch those activities so that you’re calling when people are most likely to pick up their phones.

Take a look at your schedule and see what changes you can make to optimize your answering rates. If you’re a sales manager, disseminate this information to your team and set rules in place that ensure they call during the best possible times.

The numbers don’t lie. People prefer answering phone calls at specific times throughout the day. And when salespeople reach more of their leads, they make more sales.

Key Observations

Now that we’ve gone through the data and looked at specific numbers, let’s see how we can use it to get a better understanding of how people operate.

Evidently, people don’t want to talk on the phone right after they wake up. They want to get ready, get to work, and prepare for the day. Only then are they ready to start doing business.

As lunch-time approaches, people answer fewer calls because they want to finish their last few tasks so they can get out the door and eat some food. If you spend an hour eating lunch, go during the lull from noon to one.

Once people get back from lunch, they’re ready to work and take phone calls for another few hours. Prospects answer their phones at a high rate until 5 PM. But surprisingly it doesn’t drop much after 5 PM. It hovers at a decent rate until 10 PM.

This shows that people are more willing to work into the night than they are at the beginning of the day. But for the best chance of reaching people, you want to call during the few hours before and after lunch-time.

Many sales professionals recommend making cold calls first thing in the morning to reduce pressure and enhance productivity throughout the day. This advice is well supported by our data, as long as you don’t start too early. We recommend starting at 9 AM.

Last, earlier is better when it comes to afternoon calls since 2 PM has a 7% higher answering rate than 4 PM.

These numbers may not look big but they add up. If you want to make more sales and improve your company’s bottom-line, have your salespeople cold call at the right times to maximize the numbers of prospects they reach.

We’d love to know how this data compares to your personal experience. Please leave a comment below with your experience calling at different times of day!