2024 Untapped: Cold calling will define the upcoming year in sales

Adam Sockel

Jan 03 2024


While many sales professionals will remember 2023 as a challenging economic time, it laid the blueprint for showing why the upcoming year is set to be a groundbreaking year for phone-led organizations. While email and social selling cluttered inboxes, we saw record numbers of cold calls made, connections, and conversations. Yes, sales reps are making more calls, and our data revealed that prospects are answering those calls at increased rates.

2023 was a substantial year for cold calling and phone-first sales organizations. Not only did our State of Sales Development report find that most of all sales pipeline comes from the phone, but sales reps using Orum made 66% more calls in 2023 than the year prior.

The growth of Orum’s platform didn’t just extend to the number of dials made in 2023. Reps experienced 3.5 million connections, resulting in more than 1.4 million conversations. That’s a 100% increase in conversations compared to 2022. Prospects are more willing to answer a cold call and stay on the call with reps to hear their pitches, dispelling (yet again) the tired rumor that “Cold calling is dead.”

Orum’s AI-powered Live Conversation Platform eliminates manual tasks to ensure you can get to a conversation as fast as possible. Also, it comes complete with other AI-powered features like objection detection, call notes, and our brand-new hot numbers. Data shows that these aspects take an average of three minutes per call, meaning that the Orum users collectively saved over 380 YEARS worth of time by using our system. Reps used that time to personalize pitches, perform omnichannel outreach, and work on upskilling themselves.

The consistent growth of Live Conversation Platforms, the new restrictions on bulk email, and the crowded landscape of social media highlight the ongoing resurgence of phone-first sales organizations. But it’s not enough to pick up the phone and start dialing. You must be strategic in your approach to maximize your time and effort.

With that in mind, we looked at our data from the previous year to provide strategic stats you can use to drive greater pipeline in 2024.

How to improve your cold calling success in 2024

The data from our platform and the sales industry indicate that 2024 will be The Year of the Cold Call. Every marketer is exhausted with writing “Doing more with less,” but we anticipate that trend to continue as organizations increasingly transition to a full cycle sales model, specifically with Account Executives expected to prospect and sell. This deepens the need to maximize time spent on prospecting to ensure it’s as successful as possible.

We dug deep into Orum’s data intelligence to uncover what drives success for phone-first sales reps.

When is the best time to cold call?

The first thing to understand when cold calling is when people are most likely to pick up. Analysis of 60 million of the calls made on our platform in 2023, the numbers reveal that Mondays between 8:00 and 9:00 am and Wednesdays between 5:00 and 6:00 pm have the best connection rates. This indicates that prospects are willing to have discussions before starting their work week and after their work has been completed midweek.

Connection rates drop off after 4:00 pm on Fridays, indicating that, as much as sales reps hate making those end-of-week calls, prospects hate them even more.

What are the most common cold call objections?

A key factor in succeeding during cold calling is objection handling. Understanding what objections your prospects are most likely to have is essential in being prepared to respond with confidence and value.

In 2023, the top three most common cold call objections were:

  1. “This isn’t a priority for us right now.”
  2. “I’m the wrong person to discuss this with.”
  3. “Can you just email me some information?”

These are objections categorized as “brush-offs.” The prospect wasn’t expecting your call and is trying to get off the phone as quickly as possible. We’ve built out several webinars and articles breaking down how to respond to objections like these, but the key component is creating a positive result from the call. This could include understanding the “Why” behind your solution not being a priority, learning who the correct person to speak with is, or shifting that request for more information into a booked meeting.

When you know what objections are most likely to occur, you are better equipped to respond to them productively for you and the prospect.

Why you should have a callback number set up

Cold calling has proven to be the most effective outbound channel, but naturally, it will result in missed calls. This makes it essential to ensure reps have a callback number set up, which is something 75% of all Orum users have done.

Setting up a callback number so prospects can call you back isn’t just an anecdotal positive. It leads to more engagement and generates genuine pipeline opportunities. Reps with callbacks book 25% more meetings per dial than reps without callback numbers set up.

Should you leave a voicemail during cold calling?

We’ve written about this in-depth previously, but the short answer is yes. Not only does leaving voicemails give you an opportunity to provide value and insight, but they also directly drive an increase in conversations with prospects. When sales reps leave a voicemail, they experience a 25% increase in connections to future calls.

Increase your cold call connection rates with Orum’s Hot Numbers

Recently, Orum released Hot Numbers, which, by analyzing the more than 100 million calls made on our platform, proactively identifies numbers more likely to connect while the average connect rate overall for cold calls in 2023 was 5.35%, reps using Orum’s new Hot Numbers feature are experiencing connect rates that are consistently four times higher.

Since it was released, the overall connect rate for Hot Numbers sits at 22%. November and December saw days where reps experienced connection rates with prospects of up to 35% of their calls.

Consistency is key in cold calling

When adding a Live Conversation Platform like Orum to your tech stack, it’s natural to see a substantial increase in booked meetings during the first month of usage. These numbers come as reps are excited to try out a new, proven tool. When diving deeper into the metrics, we find that the longer reps use the platform, the more productively efficient they become.

Not only do reps using the Orum platform continue to exceed their pre-Orum meeting numbers, but they see their monthly meeting numbers increase from their new benchmarks consistently the longer they use the platform.

Creating a calling culture builds sustainability

Being an SDR or AE can be very isolating, especially in the modern reality of remote and hybrid work. This can lead to cold call hesitancy, as the rejections feel harsher when you’re dialing alone. This is one of the many reasons Orum launched Salesfloor, our virtual collaboration space, in 2023.

Orum’s Salesfloor is a virtual collaboration space where sales reps can collaborate, call, and celebrate together. It enables reps and managers to listen to live calls, get instant feedback, and bond during call blitzes or meetings.

On average, Orum users spend one to two hours daily on the Salesfloor spread across two to three sessions. This aligns with how much time most reps spend cold calling daily.

The Salesfloor positively impacts rep performance, especially over time, as they can learn from not only their own experiences but also from the experiences of other reps. Sales reps using Orum’s Salesfloor increased their connect-to-conversation rate by more than 10%.

As your sales organization rolls out plans for the new year, you’re certain to see countless pieces of content touting some secret to success in 2024. The truth is the same as it’s always been. When it comes to sales, the best way to win is by building trust and creating relationships, and the most direct way to do that is by having more conversations.

Opportunity is calling; there’s never been a more important time to pick up the phone.