How to Get Phone Numbers for Cold Calling (6 Smart Ways)
Making sales calls to cold prospects can be highly effective. In fact, The RAIN Group found sales reps have an 82% success rate with cold sales calls.
But finding the right phone numbers to call can be a challenge. Do you purchase a call list, Google the company you’re looking to contact and hope you get the right number?
If you’re tired of making sales calls only to find that your call got sent to voicemail, we can help.
We’ll share six ways to find phone numbers, why you shouldn’t buy sales lists, and a few tips to improve your overall cold-calling process.
Ready to become a B2B cold calling pro? Here’s what you need to know.
What is B2B Cold Calling?
B2B cold calling is calling prospective business customers who have not interacted with your brand in the past. These prospects should be in your target audience, but not already in your sales funnel.
When done effectively, it can result in highly qualified leads, a full sales pipeline, and (even better) more revenue. Cold calling can also waste time and hurt your business’s reputation if handled incorrectly.
5 Benefits of B2B Successful Cold Calling
Is cold calling worth the effort?
There are plenty of stats out there that tout the drawbacks of cold calling—and the benefits of other lead generation methods like email or social media. The truth is, different sales strategies work for different companies and industries.
Some companies do well with inbound sales strategies, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t benefits to cold calling. In fact, there are quite a few benefits to conducting cold calls. For example:
- Cold calling works! Seventy-five percent of executives are willing to make an appointment or attend an event based on a cold call alone. Just make sure you have a sales process that leads those prospects through the funnel. Learn the best time to cold call.
- It’s incredibly cost-effective: You don’t need a fully-staffed call center to leverage cold calling. Having sales or SDRs spend part of their time cold calling can increase leads in your pipeline without investing thousands of dollars.
- Cold calling is easy to scale: If you find it works well for your organization, you can easily increase the number of reps and phone calls–or outsource it entirely.
- It’s easy to increase efficiency in cold calling: Using tools like power dialers or voicemail drops can speed up the process so reps can make more calls–without spending more time on the phone.
- Get access to more data: Cold calls allow you to talk to your target customer and better understand their needs and objections. This data can improve sales strategies, product development, and marketing campaigns.
Cold calling doesn’t have a high close rate; most experts report cold calls have a 1-3% conversion rate—however, it’s also fast and relatively low-cost. Unlike longer-term sales strategies like social selling or account-based sales, your reps can quickly move through a cold calling list and drive qualified prospects in your sales funnel.
6 Ways to Get Phone Numbers for More Effective Cold Calling
Know why most companies think cold calling doesn’t work? It’s because they aren’t calling the right people. Cold calling means contacting people who haven’t heard from you before–not calling irrelevant people to try and make a sale.
So, where do you get the right phone numbers from? Here are six ways to get the right phone numbers for cold calling outreach.
1. Check Social Media
The simplest way to find phone numbers is to Google the company and use the first number that pops up. However, that number is likely to send you to customer service rather than a decision-maker.
Luckily, there are more effective ways to find the right phone number for your cold calls.
Instead of looking for a number for the company, search for your ideal point of contact at that company. For example, if you sell a content marketing tool, the CMO or Director of Content is likely to be a key decision-maker. Head to social media sites like LinkedIn or Twitter to look for their contact information.
Let’s say you sell a content automation tool, and our company Close is on your target list. A quick Google search shows Ryan Robinson is our head of content:
You could then look at his Linkedin profile to see if he lists his number there or search his name on Google directly to find a phone number.
2. Look for Personal Sites/Online Resumes
Another source for cold calling numbers is personal websites or online resumes. If we stay with the example from above, we might head over to Ryan’s LinkedIn profile. There, you’ll find a link to his personal website:
The bottom of his personal site lists his email address and physical address. I also checked the contact and about page–no phone number, yet. So, let’s keep digging. I checked his Twitter account; no phone number (though most people won’t list it there!)
However, based on his website, we know he lives in Santa Monica, California. So, let’s search Ryan Robinson Santa Monica.
The first two results aren’t him, but the third result is the LLC filing with the same address from his site.
Now we know his middle name, so that’s another piece of information! That page also provides us with another address, this one in San Francisco. On LinkedIn, he’s located in the LA metro area, so we know he’s in the greater LA/San Francisco area, maybe not exactly in Santa Monica.
By searching Ryan J Robinson, California, I see a result for a site called Spokeo. By adding the information I’ve learned (and trying two different age ranges), I found this:
You can pay to get the rest of the cell phone number if that’s your style, but I wanted to see if I could find it without paying. Now I have the first six digits, so I head back to Google and search the partial number with XXXX as the last part of the number since I don’t know it.
Take a look at the results:
Notice the picture of Ryan that matches his LinkedIn profile–we’re on the right track.
Clicking on that first search result brings me to Rocketreach, which quickly delivers the phone number I’ve been searching for:
Several other tools offer similar information, including Whitepages or Peoplefinders. In many cases, however, you’ll be able to find phone numbers on personal websites or through social media accounts without relying on third-party tools.
3. Ask Your Network
Building a network is key to B2B sales success–and it might just help you find contact information. If you know someone who works with your ideal contact or knows someone at their company, reach out and ask for a referral.
I do recommend being careful with this approach, however. Overusing your network can burn bridges. When you reach out, focus on the value you can deliver and how you can help the person you want to reach.
Here’s an example of outreach to your network:
Obviously, the exact wording will depend on your relationship with your contact, but the point is to keep it personal and not be pushy.
Psst... Eager to find your ideal sales headset? Our article on the top 8 options is a must-read for cold calling success.
4. Send An Email To Your Cold-Call Contact
Remember when we started looking for Ryan’s number above? While his phone number was a bit harder to locate, finding his email was pretty simple. Rather than going down an internet rabbit hole, we could have sent him an email to see if his phone number is in his email signature.
For example, I saw from my internet searches that Ryan has written for a vegan publication, so maybe I’d email him about one of his posts asking for vegan restaurant recommendations for my upcoming visit to California.
If he doesn’t list his phone number in his email, I’ve at least made contact, and he might be more willing to talk to me down the road.
5. Call the Company Switchboard
If all your other efforts fail, calling the main company line might be your only option—but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Many companies (especially larger ones) have a switchboard to connect you with the right person. Let’s say you want to contact someone at CitiBank. Searching for a CitiBank phone number shows you customer service numbers–not very helpful.
However, if you search CitiBank corporate or CitiGroup corporate (the parent company), you’ll find other numbers that might connect with a specific person. Alternatively, if you know your target prospect lives in a certain area, search for the phone number of the local office.
For example, if I wanted to connect with a prospect who works out of Citi’s site in Jacksonville, Florida, I might search “citibank Jacksonville, FL” and call the corporate number.
The 904 area code means it's local to Jacksonville, so I might get lucky and get the switchboard.
Remember that this same tactic can be applied to your business. VoIP systems allow you to use digital phone numbers with specific area codes. If you called a Jacksonville prospect with a 904 area code, they’re more likely to answer.
6. Use Sales Prospecting Tools
Sales tools can be a fantastic source of contact information for B2B prospects. Sales enrichment tools like Clearbit or Crunchbase often provide the email or phone number for specific contacts along with other information about prospects.
Other tools, like LeadInfo, identify visitors to your website and help you find contact information for them. Email and phone-finding tools like Swordfish AI or ZoomInfo offer filtering features to help you find outbound leads based on set criteria, such as location, industry, and company size. Cognism provides manually verified mobile phone data and phone verification service on demand to target prospects directly.
These tools make it easier to contact the right person–and provides contextual information that can improve your chances of closing the deal.
Can You Buy Lead Lists?
Do not buy lead lists—they are unlikely to be particularly effective. Buying a huge database of numbers might provide you with phone numbers for cold calling, but those leads might not even be in your target audience. (Plus, B2B calling lists can be particularly pricey.)
There are several other issues with buying lead lists as part of your sales strategy:
- The numbers you get might be old, outdated, or just plain wrong. 👎
- Some numbers may be on the do not call list, which means they’re unlikely to respond positively to your call.
- Depending on where your leads live, buying lists could go against data storage/privacy laws.
- Lead lists can be costly–which doesn’t make much sense when you can usually find that information for free (using Google search) or via paid tools like ZoomInfo where you can search leads in your target market.
- Purchased leads may not be in your target audience, resulting in reps wasting time contacting potential customers that will never convert.
Rather than buying lead lists, take the time to build a cold calling list customized to your business and your prospect’s true needs.
5 Cold Calling Tips to Improve Your Sales Strategy
Now that we’ve addressed how to get numbers for cold calling, it's time to start making calls. Here are five tips to improve your B2B cold calling.
1. Use the Right Sales Technology
If you want to be successful with cold calling, you can’t just start making calls. (Well, you can, but you’re not going to get the results you want!) Start by making sure you have the right sales technology, including a sophisticated CRM and set of sales tools that help sales teams iron out their ideal audience.
Sales prospecting tools can record calls and track customer information, such as objections, additional contact information, and company demographics. This increases your chances of closing the deal by following interactions from the first call.
Later, when they reach out on social media or ask for a demo, you already know who they are and maybe even which solutions to pitch.
2. Build A Targeted Cold Calling List
Many salespeople spend hours on the phone just to get one or two follow-up meetings. While cold calling does have a lower response rate than warm calling, you can drastically increase effectiveness by building a better target list.
Create a better cold calling target list by making sure the people you call actually fit your customer persona. Here are a few more tips for a better cold calling list:
- Analyze your current customer base and look for similarities. Are they in similar industries, levels of business development, or locations? Use that to refine your buyer persona.
- Search the company online and look for a decision-maker. Check out their social media profiles and that of the company for indications of pain points you can mention in your call.
- Create a more detailed call list with the name, position, company, and phone number of the person you want to cold-call.
All of this should be done before your first cold call. Try prioritizing your list to focus on the contacts that are most likely to answer and make a good customer for your company. Tools like Close’s Lead Filtering and Smart Views make it easy to create a list of the right leads and prioritize leads based on the highest chance of reaching them.
For example, sales reps can view leads based on time zone so they call when leads are likely to be working. Filters can also be combined, for example, to create a lead list that has never been called, never been emailed, and are in the same time zone as the sales representative.
3. Use Power Dialer Tools to Improve Efficiency
Power dialers are automated telephone tools that dial a new phone number as soon as a call is completed, which increases cold calling efficiency. Close users, for example, report doubling their call volume and velocity using our calling feature which calls multiple numbers at once and routes answered calls to a rep.
With Close, you’ll also see prospect information in the same dashboard so you aren’t going in blind. You’ll know who the prospect is and have a decent understanding of their needs.
4. Get Your Introduction Right
When it comes to cold calling, that first impression is crucial. You only have a few seconds to reel the prospect in and make sure they’re listening.
So what do you say? Do you launch into a scripted speech? Act like you aren’t a salesperson?
I’m already lost–and I don’t want to talk to this person. Honestly? Most people are just going to hang up. Instead, take the time to introduce yourself and ask about them.
You can keep it simple:
“Hi X, this is X, how’s your day going?” And then wait for an answer. You can also mention a specific event in your industry or a LinkedIn group you share.
This is where a cold calling script comes in handy. Write out a few basic introductions and main points you want to cover so you know what to say next–without sounding scripted.
5. Use Call Coaching To Get Your Sales Pitch Down
Cold calling, like every other sales strategy, is a learned skill. With practice, you’ll get better at remembering what to say next and responding to objections. Call coaching can help you improve faster by role-playing different types of calls so it becomes second nature.
Pair up with a team member and decide who is the caller and who is the sales rep. Act your most common call situations, like getting past a gatekeeper or overcoming specific objections. Over time, cold calling will be second nature.
Close Helps Sales Teams Nail B2B Cold Calling
Finding the right phone numbers for cold calling is just the beginning. Once you get prospects on the phone, make sure you’re tracking the relationship and using cold calling tools to improve call efficiency and provide sales representatives with the information they need to close more deals.
Close is a sales-focused CRM that improves cold calling efficiency with tools like a power dialer, smart filtering, and dozens of integrations so all your sales data is in one place. Try it free for 14 days.