The Best Days & Times to Cold Call (Analyzed) in 2023
You’re pumped up for the workday. You pick up the phone and just start dialing. You feel determined to reach lots of new prospects & customers today. Except that most of your calls go to voicemail. You’re frustrated with not being able to get your leads on the phone.
Then you wonder—are you missing a few key cold calling tips? Or is cold calling no longer effective in your industry?
Well, cold calling is alive and kicking. But you’ve to reach your prospects at the right time of the day and week to ensure your calls don’t go to voicemail (which has a meager 4.2% response rate).
So what is the best time of the day to reach your prospects as a sales rep? Which day of the week works best for closing deals? Let’s find out what research has to say.
Best Time of the Day to Cold Call
Note that these findings are from a limited study by Revenue.io valid in the B2B context—majorly for SaaS organizations.
A prior 2019 study by the same company above (based on millions of sales calls) found that late mornings worked best.
The best times to cold call are when people are less likely to be busy. In the evenings, people are wrapping up for the day and are reluctant to start new tasks. Similarly, just before lunch, they might have tackled some tasks and be willing to chat.
So at both of the above times of the day, people are more receptive to phone calls than others. Essentially, you don’t want to reach out to a prospect when they are busy with their work or might have other professional meetings. There are ways to handle the "I don't have time to talk with you" objection, but if you can simply call at a better time, do that.
That said, remember that this is all dependent on the people you’re talking to. So, get to know your ideal customer and buyer persona. Learn about their role and daily activities, and you’ll have a better chance of catching them at the right time.
Best Time to Cold Call in the Morning
Late mornings are the best time during the mornings to make cold sales calls. At this time, most working professionals are done with their meetings. And they are finishing their morning tasks before they head out for lunch.
Early morning cold calls could also work as a prospect wouldn’t have begun attacking their to do lists. 2019 research from Revenue.io (that we referred to in the last section) claims that the call connection rates are highest between 8 to 11 am in the time zone of the call’s recipient.
However, depending on the target market, your prospects could also reserve early mornings for deep work. Or they might prefer using that time for their morning routines.
If you are curious, you can also experiment with early morning calls. But if you get unfavorable feedback from initial prospecting, shift those calls to late mornings.
Late afternoon would still typically work as the best daytime for cold calling. A 2009 study (on three years of data from six companies in the InsideSales.com system) found that the time 4 to 5 pm is 109% better than 11 am to 12 pm for qualifying a lead.
People probably don’t want to commit or qualify before they go for lunch.
Best Days of the Week for Cold Calling
Generally, the middle of the week works the best for cold calling. Most people have enough time in their workweek to get some work done by then and have some time to spare for a conversation. So they are more likely to be available and pay attention to salespeople.
Here are specific findings from different studies that confirm that mid-week is the best:
- Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days of the week to make cold calls: As per a Yesware analysis of 25,000 sales calls made through their dialer, calls over five minutes typically occurred between 3 to 5 pm on these two days.
- Wednesday is the best day to make calls: Another study by CallHippo found that Wednesday is the best for having more conversations in the first attempt. Indeed, there’s a 50% difference between Monday and Wednesday.
Once you’ve chosen the right day and time, you also need a compelling sales script that persuades your prospects. Specifically, try to discuss pricing on the first call, but only after you've established the value of your offering. Our good friends at Gong found that win rates could improve by 10% if you discuss pricing on the first call.
What Are the Worst Days and Worst Times for Cold Calling?
For higher success rates, refrain from calling prospects on the following days and times:
- Monday mornings: A prospect would be busy planning their workweek, battling Monday blues, and pursuing tasks accumulated over the weekend. So you do not want to overwhelm them further.
- Friday: While you should try to avoid the whole day, especially do not call during the second half of the day. People are already looking forward to the weekend on Friday and are less inclined to start a relationship with a salesperson.
The 2009 study by InsideSales.com (that we referred to earlier) found Friday to be the worst day to call to qualify leads.
This may be old data, but it still rings true. Nobody wants to answer the phone on a Friday.
When it comes to the worst times of the day, avoid cold calling:
- Outside of work hours: It would invade a prospect’s personal time and wouldn’t help your rapport as a sales rep. The connection rates anyway tend to be lower during these times.
- During lunch hours (around 1 pm): Mid-workday hours could be counterproductive for your sales team as people are likely to head out for lunch breaks.
Indeed immediately after lunch, some people feel an afternoon slump. So avoid making sales calls during such periods of energy dip either.
To improve your sales success, you need to reduce your call attempts that go to voicemail. So when planning your workweek, avoid the worst weekdays and times of the day to cold call, as we discussed above.
Remember: The Best Response Time Wins!
Barring the above suggestions on the best time to cold call, you can increase your conversion rate if you call a prospect when they are considering your products. A fast response time to form submissions on your website is key to closing more deals. We've been advising sales teams to call new trial signups within five minutes for more than 10 years already, and we've consistently seen that those who adhere to this advice fare better.
Even if the lead is rolling in your CRM at 4.45 pm on a Friday, don’t hesitate to call them right away. Just be sure you're using one of the best small business CRMs that syncs data in real-time & allows you to call a lead with just one click.
A much-cited study by Dr. James Oldroyd showed that the odds of connecting with a lead if called within 5 minutes are 100 times higher versus 30 minutes.
A more recent study of 433 companies by Drift found a 10x decrease in odds of making contact with a lead after the first five minutes. If you take more than five minutes to respond, your chances of qualifying leads decrease by 80%.
Think about it this way:
When potential clients are contemplating buying a product like yours, they are in the ideal headspace to talk to you.
You can be the first salesperson they talk to about their requirements and address their objections. You get the opportunity to walk them through how the features of your product fit best with their tech stack and solve their problems.
Now leads may also roll in outside of your work hours or when you’re focused on some other tasks. All the leads may also not be of the highest quality. Yet you need to maintain a quick lead time to improve your response rates.
Here are quick tips for the same:
1. Set up a dedicated team to handle queries: If the number of leads that come outside your office hours seems large, it may be worthwhile to hire a dedicated person (or a team) to handle them. They could even manage your queries on a commission basis.
2. Implement live chat on your site: Conversational AI can answer routine questions and qualify leads instead of your team. After your prospects get a dose of instant gratification via chat, a salesperson from your company could take over.
3. Set up automated email sequences: Depending on where a prospect has the first touchpoint with your company, you can run them through a personalized email sequence. Close even offers multi-channel sales outreach sequences that can increase your reach rate.
Don’t forget one of the most important ingredients to improve response rates.
Follow-up Calls are Invaluable for Keeping Leads Hot
Beyond the initial contact, you can’t let the excitement of prospects cool off. Given that 23% of leads were never contacted (as per an audit of 2241 US companies from 2011), most sales reps probably give up too soon.
But while following up regularly, don’t come across as needy. Spread out those six calls you make across fifteen days or so.
Psst... Want more help honing your follow-up game? Steli Efti, CEO of Close, wrote the book on it (literally!):
Tips for Cold Calling Success
Tirelessly dialing prospects every day is an unsexy outbound lead generation tactic. It’s old school, so you may feel like prioritizing text messages or email outreach over it. But 50% of buyers still prefer being called on the phone.
As we conclude the article, here are some quick tips for cold calling success:
Create a daily cold calling action plan: Facing a sales slump or tend to get distracted during your day? Then structured deep work sessions alongside planned blocks of time for call prospecting will help.
Follow cold calling timing best practices (but...): In this article, we established the following times work best for higher response rates:
- Late mornings at around 11 am (right before lunch) and late afternoons between 4 to 5 pm (before the end of the workday) are the best cold calling times.
- The middle of the week (Wednesdays and Thursdays) are the best days to reach prospects.
Also, these days and times are not suitable.
- Monday mornings (or early mornings in general) could be already stressful for your prospects. So they won’t have the patience to take your calls.
- Fridays may work against you as people gear up for the weekend (and may not commit to a sale).
However, the larger context of your industry and an individual lead is important. If you find a prospect is out on a company get-together on Wednesday and Thursday, you can consider reaching out on Friday.
Disobey best practices if it helps reduce your response times: Call a lead right away, even if it comes at 4:30 pm on a Friday. Delay in getting back can drastically drop your contact and qualification rates.
Craft a compelling sales pitch: You need to create a cold calling script personalized to you, the product you sell, and your prospects. Then tweak it over time by understanding what works and what doesn’t.
Record your calls: Instead of those expensive sales workshops and coaching sessions, you can simply perform a simple exercise:
- Make a lot of cold calls and record them
- Listen back to identify and learn from your mistakes
This is sufficient to become a cold calling pro.
Keep tabs on your sales performance: Granularly tracking your cold calling conversion funnel with KPIs is important. It can help you understand how you’re faring in the different stages of your sales process.
Improve your data accuracy: Too many sales callers waste time dialing phone numbers that don't exist or won't connect to the right person. Use multiple methods to keep your lead data up-to-date, include B2B databases, or social media platforms like LinkedIn.
Religiously follow up: Aim for at least six call attempts spread over 15 days before giving up on a lead. Or maybe keep following up until you hear a no—that’s the mantra I followed by following up with an investor 48 times to book a meeting with them.
Leverage automation in your cold calling: The Close CRM comes with a built-in predictive dialer. So you longer need to sit back and wait for people to pick up your calls—just hear that "hello" and start talking. Close also offers sales Sequence automation, with phone call steps included as part of your outreach. Your team will be automatically notified when it's time to make a call.
Close lets you call lead lists without switching apps, dial multiple numbers at once, and routes available sales reps to a call only when a real human answers. Watch a quick, on-demand 10-minute Close demo, or start your 14-day free trial.