Cold calling B2B: How often to dial and when?

If you are cold calling for discovery calls, you need to work a process that will get you in front of decision-makers consistently.

One of the questions you need to answer is how often do you call and when?

Let me briefly explain the basics of a call sequencing process that I believe maximizes the number of phone conversations you will have with intended targets for the hours you allocate to prospecting.

First, some surprises from someone who has personally scheduled more than 2,000 C-Level appointments by sitting in cubes smiling and dialing…

  1. I never cared about the result of any one call.
  2. I never researched a company before calling them. (Researched the heck out of the GROUPS that I called, but never individual companies.)
  3. I focused as much on the efficiency of my calling, as I did the effectiveness of my calling.


Here is a good calling sequence and how those three principles fit into it.

Day one – Call into company and identify the decision-maker.

Day two – Call the targeted decision-makers three times. The first two times, if they don’t pick up the phone, do not leave a message or voicemail. The third time, if they don’t pick up, leave a voicemail with an email. Think “touches.”

Day five (three business days later) – Repeat the above sequence. Make three dials attempting to reach your decision-maker. Leave a voicemail on the 3rd attempt and an email.

Day eight (three business days later) – Repeat sequence again.

What have you done with this cold calling process?

You made three cycles of three calls. Nine dials in total. To have any reasonable chance of connecting with a high-level person you must expect to make between 9 and 15 dials… at a minimum. That number of calls must be part of your normal call process. If you not making at least that many calls to the person you seek to reach, you are not working a process that increases your odds of success.

You left six touches. Are you familiar with the Rule of 7?

It says you must touch people seven times before they can begin to absorb your message, never mind acct on it. Literally true? No! But the point is that anything done once or infrequently is the equivalent of doing nothing at all. With this sequence your targets gets three voicemails and three email touches at a minimum. More if you make additional cycles of calls.

When do you call more often?

When you are able to determine that the suspect is more worth of your time? You do that by asking a few worthwhile pointed questions of gatekeepers. You are making the calls anyway, why not pick up some worthwhile recon info? Call those who have the potential to buy more, more often.

How is this call sequence compatible with the three surprises above?

If you really want to increase your sales, your prospecting efforts must be very efficient. I always paid as much attention to the EFFICIENCY of my call process as I did the EFFECTIVENESS of my calling.

By EFFICIENCY I mean how many sales opportunities I was creating per hour of calling time. Put another way… how many conversations during which I could deliver my set the appointment pitch to intended targets did I have per hour of calling. The more conversations I had, the more efficient my process was.

How I converted those conversations related to my EFFECTIVENESS. Converting one out of three is more effective than converting one out of five.

Everyone focuses on effectiveness, but your efficiency must be part of the equation.

Being effective cold calling isn’t going to help you if you talk to few people.

But if you organize and execute your calling with high efficiency, you can see drastic increases in your sales even if you are only slightly better than average at converting a conversation to a meeting.

Why? Because you talk to more people.

I tracked the number of conversations I had and implemented strategies that moved that number. With conversations, I had a chance to get a meeting.

Why I never research a company before calling. Because it significantly reduced my efficiency.

If I was ‘researching,” which usually means wasting time surfing the net looking at tell you nothing bland corporate websites, that was done at the expense of making more calls.

Everything you do comes at the expense of something else.

Some people believe that by “researching” you will increase the chance of a meeting. Who are we kidding? What are we really going to learn that in the few seconds we have with a top decision-maker is going to be so insightful that it will make a difference?

I always believed that I was more productive making more dials into a highly qualified group, than I was making far fewer dials into a smaller group that was “researched.”

My concern was having a pitch or script that was of maximum effectiveness with the GROUP I was calling. I never cared whether any one company said yes or no.

I cared a lot about whether 12 out of 100 or 5 out of 100 called said yes or no.

I focused on efficiency and effectiveness to get more appointments out of a group I was calling.

By calling them multiple times within a roughly 2-week period and complying with the Rule of 7, I was able to maximize the number of appointments set.