What is the best time to make sales calls?
We mined the 2019 call data from millions of sales calls to uncover which times of day are ideal for key sales activities, including the best time to make cold calls.
The data in this post is based on connection rates – the percentage of all sales calls that connect, or are answered, by prospects.
Why do times of peak call connection matter? Recent sales leader research from TOPO shows that sales leaders are prioritizing live call execution as the most important skill of new sales people. That is a leading indicator of the fact that sales development teams are still seeing cold calling as a valuable channel. The best time to make cold calls is an important part of live call execution, as calling at the right time can maximize your answer rate, thereby maximizing your sales conversations and ultimately opportunities.
According to our research, the best time to call prospects (in their own time zone) is in the late morning.
This makes sense for several reasons. Working professionals start their day at varying times, but the majority are in the office by the late morning.
While meetings often get booked during these hours, that means this is the time of day that professionals are expecting to hear from people, which may make them more likely to answer the phone.
Check out this chart for a detailed breakdown of the best time to call prospects:
Keep in mind that this data is for all calls made through the ringDNA platform in 2019 – that includes calls made between business professionals who have pre-existing relationships. For most sales reps, a more helpful chart would be to examine cold calls specifically.
According to 2019 call data, the best time to cold call is 9am in the call recipient’s local time zone.
Call connection rates are highest between 8am-11am in the time zone of the person receiving the call.
That means that sales development reps or anyone making prospecting calls should structure their day by prioritizing morning sessions for call blocks – focused time of just working through target lists to try and connect with prospects.
Check out this chart for a detailed description of when most teams make cold calls and when prospects are picking up the phone, according to our research.
Sales reps shouldn’t necessarily avoid making calls during times of lower connection rates – those lower connection rates are simply times when prospects are less likely to pick up the phone, but that doesn’t mean they will never answer the phone at that time.
The best time to make prospecting calls during the day is whenever your target leads are picking up the phone. This means it is very important to structure your day according to your sales territory’s working hours, and make your calls during their peak connection rates. For example, if you are based on the east coast of the United States but calling in to the west coast, the data shows that you should begin making your prospecting calls at 11am, and continue calling through 6 or 7pm to ensure you are taking full advantage of the times that your prospects are answering the phone.
The worst time to call prospects is outside of working hours. During these times, not only are connection rates lower, but a phone call is likely to bother your prospects. Calling prospects during their personal time is usually inadvisable.
During working hours, the worst time to call prospects is around 1pm. Depending on their work day, most prospects are spending time eating out with colleagues, taking a break, or getting some much needed focus time during these hours.
This answer rate also coincides with the energy drop-off that research shows is common among working professionals just after lunch. Many of us experience an energy lull during this time, and it makes sense that we are less willing to engage with someone unknown on the phone at this hour.
Now that we have worked through several different ways to think about optimal times to cold call businesses and prospects, what do we do with the information?
Our best advice for sales reps looking to reach more customers consistently is to schedule the day around call blocks, and treat these metrics as benchmarks.
For time blocks, set aside an hour at a time for your prospecting calls, several times throughout the day. If these are just standard call blitzes or steps in a sales cadence, ensure that you have your prospect lists ready to go, with phone numbers, names, and all of the contextual history of their engagement with your company. Then, when the time of your scheduled call block arrives, you are ready to begin dialing through your list and don’t have to waste your time doing prospect research.
There are many pitfalls that can capture a salesperson’s time, keeping them from spending their focused effort where it matters. If you can keep the discipline of call blocks during peak connection times, you are more likely to reach your customers and generate more opportunities for your pipeline.
Keep in mind that these data points are best used as benchmarks – in other words they are a helpful starting place for making decisions about how to spend your time. As a part of your sales management process It is extremely important that you begin collecting your own data about peak connection rates, as your specific market and target audience will have nuances and differences from data points generalized across many industries.
At ringDNA, we’ve processed over 130 million conversations, and we spend a lot of time optimizing sales workflows using data. That means we have spent a lot of time researching and understanding cold calling. This metric is just the tip of the iceberg, along with several other benchmark data points that we have detailed in our 2020 Sales Prospecting Performance Report.
Alex Lamascus is the Sales Content Manager at RingDNA. He has previously scaled and managed an inside sales team and has supported B2B sales in various industries for the past 5 years. When not writing or buried in the latest sales book, he can be found repairing vintage turntables in his garage or honing his grilling skills.