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“1250 Dials, 50 Conversations, 2 Meetings…..”

by David Brock on April 7th, 2019

I was intrigued watching a LinkedIn video from a prospecting expert. He touted his great results, showed videos of him making prospecting calls. I suppose it was to promote his expertise in prospecting.

He was leveraging all the best predictive dialing and software technologies, exploiting his glibness/provocativeness on those conversations he had. His numbers, roughly 1250 dials, roughly 50 conversations, roughly 2 meetings. This was typical of his daily 8 hours of prospecting, a result which he was, apparently, very proud of.

Regular followers know I’m a “numbers person.” I focus on how we tilt the numbers in our favor, how we get the most out of the time we invest in our activities.

I immediately went to the numbers, for 1250 dials, he had a 4% conversation rate. For those conversations he had a 4% first meeting rate. Overall, 0.16% of his dials resulted in first meetings. With those results, it’s understandable why he has to make 1000’s of dials a day. One wonders when he had time to actually conduct the first meetings.

I reflected on my prospecting calls over the past couple of days, wondering if I was doing something wrong. I had 5 dials, 5 conversations (each about 30 minutes), resulting in 5 meetings, of which 4 were already highly qualified in the initial conversation.

I looked at my team’s performance over the past week. The numbers (at least the ratios) were similar, but in no case were any of the team making dozens of calls.

Granted, our business is not a high volume, high velocity business. Our average deal size is pretty big, our win rates are very high, and the size/nature of our business doesn’t demand 1000’s of dials, or conversations a day.

Prospecting is important to us. To achieve our goals, we don’t have to have a lot of calls, but we have to maximize our impact on each call. We are very focused, calling only on the companies/personas in our ICP. We research each, narrowing the targets to those who seem to have the problems we are the best in the world at solving. We prepare for each conversation, we make sure our targets are prepared, as well (usually our calls are preceded by a few email exchanges). We are hyper focused, we are hyper sensitive to how we use the prospects’ time, but perhaps more focused on how we use our time.

It hasn’t always been this way, but we’ve never been a high volume prospecting organization. We’ve learned from our experience, carefully tuning and refining our process to improve our productivity and impact on each call.

Everyone’s business is different. What we need to produce the qualified opportunities critical for our pipelines is different for each company. It is based on a number of criteria, the numbers we need for our pipelines, our target markets/customers, our engagement strategies, and so forth.

What I worry about is that we aren’t constantly re-engineering our engagement strategies, tuning them to tilt the numbers in our favor. Assessing, how to we maximize the probability of a response to each dial, a next step with each conversation, getting more done in each conversation.

The continued race for volume/velocity is not the answer. Just because technology enables us to do this, doesn’t mean it’s what we should be doing. Yet too often our focus in not how do we get better and improve our practice, but rather how we do more of what we are doing–even if it doesn’t produce results.

Everyone is different. This expert was proud of his results. I guess a meeting yield of 0.16% of his dials or 4% of his conversations is good for him. I’m not unhappy with my 5 dials, 5 meetings, 4 qualified opportunities. (I wonder what I could do if I were an expert.)

It is and isn’t about the numbers. We have to understand our numbers, making sure we hit our goals. But blindly scaling the numbers, just driving for volume doesn’t seem to be a great strategy. Instead, getting more out of the things you are doing seems a more productive first step.

Afterword: Our prospecting is not a great example for every organization. It is highly tuned and refined to our business. For example, virtually 100% of my calls are scheduled, that’s why 100% of my dials result in conversations. The process to achieve this, is actually pretty easy, but it’s done by design. What’s right for you may be different, but figure out how you design things to more effectively achieve your goals.

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From → Prospecting, Results

8 Comments
  1. Joel Lyles permalink

    | We are very focused, calling only on the companies/personas in our ICP.
    | We research each, narrowing the targets to those who seem to have the
    | problems we are the best in the world at solving.

    Hi Dave!

    I was wondering — what resources do you use to research your companies/personas besides LinkedIn and good ol’ Google? I’d like to be more prepared for calls.

    It’s easy when I’m talking to someone from government or a larger corporation, but with customers from smaller businesses I struggle to find enough information to keep someone’s interest beyond ‘this is their company, this is what they do, this is what problems they’re likely to have based on their persona’.

    • There are lots of resources and tools. LinkedIn is a good start, the company websites are another. There are tools you can buy–all equally good and bad.

  2. This astonishes me. I don’t know what business he is in, but in my business (which is much like yours), that amounts to scorched earth marketing.
    On the receiving end, that has to feel somewhere between swatting annoying mosquitoes and downright brand destruction. Is he totally unaware of the thousands (or, even if it’s only dozens) of negative impressions he is creating every day? Does he not care for the impression he leaves behind?
    Way too many sellers look blindly at the bottom of the funnel and ignore the spam-like marketing they are creating through such practices.

    • Thanks Charlie, we seem to be in a race to the bottom with pointless prospecting. Unfortunately, it poisons the well for everyone.

  3. Please help me understand the numbers here: how long time has this guy used on these 1250 calls?

    • I’m not clear what you are asking. The guy is using a dialer and making thousands of calls a day. There are lots of similar posts on linked in with people providing data on dial, conversations, meetings, etc. The practice is terrible, in many areas, illegal. The data also shows tremendous declines in yield per dial, rather than assessing how to improve it, people just up the number of dials.

      Anyone focused purely on volume/velocity, not diagnosing what is happening, why, and how to improve these yields, will continue to see declining results.

    • It’s pretty easy to make that many dials per day.

      You need approximately 300 good names with verified phone numbers (direct or mobile are best) and then you can use a predictive dialer like phoneburner.com to help you make 5 dials at a time and the first one to pick up gets to talk to you.

      There are other more boutique “services” but nothing is better than making the calls yourself.

      These services and technologies allow you to execute between 80 to 120 dials an hour.

      • Blair: Thanks for helping Audun out on this. I responded incorrectly. As you point out, that volume of calls is pretty easy, perhaps too easy. There are any number of products or service providers that can easily hit those volumes or more. The key issue is how do you maximize the outcomes–for example, highly qualified meetings per dial. Thanks for taking the time to respond to Audin.

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