If you’re in sales, you know the feeling. You’re making cold calls to contacts, hoping someone will pick up and get you that much closer to your goals. Your sales floor debates consist of asking the important questions:
“What’s the best way to handle the objection that a prospect is too busy?”
“Should we call on bank holidays?”
“Does local presence impact connect rates?”
In my experience, that last one always seemed to leave the sales floor stumped.
While many SDRs try to match area codes with the prospects they’re calling, the jury’s out on whether a local area code truly matters when it comes to reaching someone.
Here at Orum, we’re a company built by sales development experts for sales development teams (fun fact: we use it for all our own sales outreach!). Orum processes close to two million dials per month on average — we’ve got top-notch data at hand to find the answer and help you weigh local impact into your strategy. Our team of engineers parsed the numbers from over 1.5 million calls made on Orum during fall 2021 to settle this question once and for all.
Does calling with a local area code have an impact on whether or not the prospect picks up?
In short, no. Using a Chi-square statistical test, we did not discern a significant difference between pick-ups for calls made from the same area code as the prospect. With a 4.6% connect rate for local calls and a 5.5% connect rate for non-local calls, we can say with confidence that local presence doesn’t have a meaningful positive impact on connection chances for your sales team.
Let’s get into the gritty details for the data wonks out there. We analyzed a data set of 1.5 million calls made via Orum software in the fall of 2021, comparing the connect dispositions (a label defining the outcome of a call) when the area code matched the prospect’s versus not matching. We ran a Chi-square test on random sample sizes of 5,000, then calculated a Cramér's V correlation based on those results to determine strength of association.
There was a very weak correlation between calling with a non-local area code and the recipient picking up; however, it wasn’t enough for us to say yea or nay on whether it meaningfully impacts connect rates.
How come local area codes don’t result in higher connect rates?
This might be surprising for some people. Why isn’t there a stronger correlation between local calls and improved connect rates? It seems logical, but the numbers don’t pan out.
We have a few ideas as to why using local area codes doesn’t necessarily mean the person on the other end will pick up:
Contacts use out-of-date area codes.
How many of us have changed our phone numbers when we move to a new city? A 2016 Pew Research Center study showed that 10% of US adults use a phone number from a different state, and that doesn’t even account for intra-state changes.
Contacts’ vendors and clients aren’t local.
In some situations, a local area code could indicate that an incoming call isn’t relevant if most of the prospect’s business is conducted nationally or even globally. They could be used to receiving calls from all over, ignoring local calls with the same bias we mentioned above.
How can I use local presence to my advantage?
That said, we have a few ideas on situations where calling from a local area code may result in better connect rates from prospects:
Industry hubs with strong local communities
Know your prospects. If they exist in an industry that has a strong community in certain geographical areas, using local area codes in your calls may actually move the needle. For example, if you’re reaching out to IT departments, they’d likely have vendors based out of California or Seattle.
Target medium-sized cities
This is a tactic that has worked anecdotally for me. I’ve seen success in choosing local area codes from medium-sized cities in the Goldilocks zone of not-too-big but not-too-obscure, making calls from a local number more likely to be relevant.
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