Cold calling is a foundational prospecting sales tactic for B2B sales teams looking to generate new opportunities. Cold call lists are the often overlooked piece of the B2B sales prospecting puzzle. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of everything you need to know when it comes to setting your sales team up for success with a high quality cold calling list that results in more meetings booked. Many people say cold calling is dead but if you speak with any current outbound sales leader or inside sales consultant, they’ll tell you that is wrong. With the proliferation of tools like Salesloft and Outreach that make sending emails at high volumes easier than ever, teams tend to rely too much on email and not enough on making cold calls.
Often salespeople will complain about the accuracy of their cold calling list and with the shift to remote work, there is some truth to that. However, it is usually a result of sales management that hasn’t invested the proper resources into providing their team with cold call lists that are high quality.
What Are Cold Call Lists?
Simply put, cold call lists are the names and phone numbers (work and mobile) of your prospects. The cold call list may have other information like the prospect’s job title, company name, and other relevant details like location/time zone.
They provide your outbound sales team, usually made up of Sales Development Representatives or Business Development Representatives an efficient way to make cold calls.
Cold call lists make it so outbound salespeople do not need to look up the phone number for each person they need to call. If they were to do that, they’d waste a lot of time. It can easily take a few minutes per contact to manually find a phone number.
If you were to make 80 calls per day, you’d be lucky to have four or five conversations and maybe book one meeting. That’s why high quality cold calling lists are so important. Sales leadership needs to do everything possible to improve the number of dials a salesperson can make per day so they have a better chance of having more conversations which means they’ll be likely to book more meetings. The odds of having more conversations improves with a high quality cold call list.
Cold Call List Tips
Direct dials are critical. Direct dials are the phone number that gets you directly to your prospect. The more direct dials you have, the more conversations you’ll have. And as pointed out above, that means more meetings. If you have to call the company line or go through a phone tree, you’re going to waste a lot of time. If you get stuck talking to a gatekeeper, you’re going to be in a tough spot for reaching your prospect.
Mobile numbers are also critical. Although this could fall under direct dials, mobile numbers are needed because of the shift to remote work. A cold calling list with mobile numbers is not a high quality cold call list. If you’re uncertain if your prospect will answer their mobile, you need to test it out. It can be the difference between reaching people and never getting them on the phone.
Tighten your cold call list. For your sales team sake, you don’t want them calling various job titles and different industries. You want to make sure you’re focused on your ideal customer profile within a specific segment. This will be helpful to your junior salespeople so they can feel more confident when they’re cold calling prospects.
Keep it up to date. People move jobs all the time. Over a couple months, the accuracy of your list will begin to deteriorate. You need to make sure your cold call list is regularly refreshed. You’ll read more about this in the sales math for cold calling lists below.
Use cold calling software. If you’ve invested in a cold calling list, you can double down on it by making more dials per hour using a tool like Connect and Sell or Orum.
Vet multiple vendors. Not all data providers for cold calling lists are equal. Depending on your ICP, some vendors may be able to provide better cold calling lists than others. Sample some data from at least three vendors and have your sales team test it out. It may surprise you what you find.
Benefits of Quality B2B Cold Call Lists
- Save Time – Salespeople don’t have to look up each number
- More Dials Per Hour – Because salespeople do not have to look up each number
- More Conversations – Salespeople will get more prospects on the phone with a quality cold call list
- Less Frustration – Salespeople get frustrated when their prospects don’t answer
- Better Results – More conversations mean more meetings
- More Productive Salespeople – Salespeople are streaky. With more conversations, they’ll book more meetings
- Tailored Pitches – Focused lists can allow you to tailor your pitch to an ICP versus a random list
- Avoid Gatekeepers – If the cold call list has direct mobiles, you can avoid gatekeepers
- Happy Salespeople – Cold calling is hard but if they’re seeing success, your team will be happier
The main benefit of a quality B2B cold call list is that you book more meetings. That’s it.
Cold Calling List ROI
Much of sales is math and cold calling is no different. The key to a high quality cold call list is the accuracy of the prospect data. If the numbers are wrong, you’ve wasted money and time. If the numbers are accurate, your cold call list can print you money. Let’s take a look at the difference between two scenarios. An old cold calling list and an updated accurate list.
|Cold Call List ROI Example||Old List||New List|
|# of contacts||100||100|
|% of accurate numbers||60%||90%|
|(assume 5% conversations)||5%||5%|
|Total number of conversations per day||10||22.5|
|Total number of conversations per week||50||112.5|
|Conversation to meeting conversion rate (20%) |
Sales Team Meetings Per Week
As you can see with the math above, the difference between a cold call list that has accurate information and one that doesn’t is staggering. Sales leaders need to regularly check the quality of their lists because as your outbound sales team grows, the production difference is magnified. A team with a new list that has half as many people can outperform one with bad data.
How To Create A Cold Calling List
When creating a cold call list if you already know who to contact, skip below. If you’re unsure who should go on your list you want to think about who is your ideal customer. Who are the people you’ve booked meetings with that convert into sales opportunities and eventually customers? What industry are they are in? What are their job titles? Keep in mind that sometimes you may not be able to reach the decision maker from similar companies. It’s okay to connect with other people at the prospective company who may be involved in the buying decision to get your foot in the door.
When it comes to creating your own cold call list, you need to have a few key fields.
- First Name
- Last Name
- Work Number – Ideally this is a direct dial – direct dials connect you right to the person
- Mobile Number – With remote work, mobile numbers are crucial
- Job Title
- Location – This helps with knowing when it’s too early or too late to call
- Email – Cold calling is effective but an omni-channel prospecting approach is best
- Notes – Jot down any notes like if there’s a phone tree or numbers you need to enter to connect
Cold Calling List Template
|First Name||Last Name||Work Number||Mobile Number||Job Title||Location||Company||Notes|
|John||Smith||212-555-1234||212-555-1324||VP of Sales||NY||MongoDB||john@||—-|
Where To Buy Cold Call Lists
When it comes to buying cold call lists, you can acquire prospect phone numbers from a number of vendors. It’s likely that you’ll want to invest buying business leads from the vendors below. You’ll purchase emails and phone numbers for your cold calling lists. It’s also likely that cold calling will be one part of your overall prospecting strategy.
ZoomInfo – Category leader, premium offering, annual only contracts
Cognism – Great for international data, annual only contracts
Uplead – Monthly contracts, great for SMBs
Lead411 – Flexible contracts
Lusha – Another international option
RocketReach – Good Value
Apollo – Great for individuals
Seamless – Another option in the category
ZoomInfo Alternatives – Other companies
Besides the named vendors above, you can also use sites like Upwork and Fiverr to manually build cold call lists. Hiring a VA to build them is a way to get fresh data but it can be a challenge for them to acquire mobile numbers.
There are also other services that only sell cold call lists that have been verified.