Is Cold Calling Dead? Hear from the Experts Should you still be picking up that phone and calling cold?

Should cold calling still be part of your sales strategy?

One of the oldest tricks in the book of sales is the cold call. A cold call is a sales pitch call made without prior contact–a call out of the blue. There was no prospecting, qualifying, no rapport, no built trust or credibility. It’s a call right off the bat from the moment you get a number.

There’s been a lot of talk about this subject.

Is cold calling dead?

Some say that cold calling is flat-out dead. There’s just no place for cold calls in this connected world. Internet marketing has taken over! Some people say that cold calls are still very effective–and there’s good reason why firms still continue to hire competent outbound sales people.


A new, emerging sentiment is one that introduces the concept of smart calling. Doing your homework before making that call. This implies that the contact is not entirely cold–but the warming up was done without prior direct contact.


Various influencers have said their piece on the matter. Let’s hear what some of them have to say.

Is cold calling dead? According to influencers and experts…

Paul DiModica straightforwardly states that cold calling is still the most profitable sales activity in terms of the profiles of sales made using the technique.

Paul DiModica, Author, Value Added Selling

Cold Calling is the fastest way to increase your sales pipeline, your company’s revenue, and your personal income. It is the difference between meeting a CFO of a Fortune 500 company and selling to supervisors. If you were to analyze the top income sales position in the U.S. (stockbrokers, commercial insurance salespeople, mergers and acquisitions salespeople) you would find that they all cold call.


Matt Heinz is not outright saying that cold calls have no place in the playbook of the modern salesperson. However, he shares some techniques that should be done in order to make an effective cold call. One of which is to talk about the person you’re calling! Don’t make it a sales pitch. A cold call should be part of prospecting and not closing the sale.

Matt Heinz, Heinz Marketing

Calling new prospects still works, but the way you approach it has to be right. You can’t call expecting to get much of their time. You can’t call assuming they want a run-down of your features right away. And you can’t call to talk about yourself.

Your prospects are busy. They don’t have time for you. But that’s exactly how you can approach cold calling to be effective. Make the call about them. Have something prepared to offer them, something that ties directly to a priority or initiative they care about and are working on right now.


Jill Konrath shares that there’s no need for the power dialing cold calls made by outbound salespeople. It’s not all about numbers. If you want to close sales through cold calling, you need to be patient, make sure you know what you’re talking about, and be on-target with your messaging.

Jill Konrath, B2B Sales Expert

That’s not true. Lots of people are still doing it — but they’re no longer dialing for dollars. Cold calling is alive and well for smart, savvy salespeople! Intelligent salespeople go slower, but are more effective because they have a depth of understanding that shows through in their messages and conversations.


The following influencers outright say that there is just no place for cold calling today. Cold calling is dead.


Russ Thau, VP of Sales, Intercom

It’s time for sales to stop being the late adopter within the organization and wake up to the fact that no one wants to make or receive a cold call. At best, sales phone calls irritate your prospect. In the future I believe sales teams will implement a modern messaging strategy and the measure of sales skills will turn to how many messages they send along with their conversion rates.


Mahan Khalsa, Co-Author of Let’s Get Real of Let’s Not Play

Cold calling results in about a 1-3% success rate for getting an initial appointment and it’s generally abusive to both parties. When that same call is made with a referral, the rate jumps up to 40% and even much higher when that referral comes from within the company.


John Bonini, Impact Branding

Basically, cold calling ignores the entire sales process that often occurs for a prospect to become a buyer. It’s main function is to skip ahead a few steps and make a sale. Well…as those statistics state, how well is that working out?


Aaron Ross, Predictable Revenue

Making the field salespeople do cold calls means having your highest-cost (per hour) sales resource perform the lowest-value (per hour) activity.


Art Sobczak, Business by Phone

“Cold” Calling Might be Dead, But Not Smart Calling. Ideally, it’s not the only way; but it’s a vital component of the model. Businesses that merely react — waiting for the phone to ring, for web orders to stream in, and on business coming from existing customers — are not nearly as successful as those who employ proactive “hunting,” or telephone prospecting, as part of the mix.


Anneke Seley, Founder and CEO of Reality Works Group

In this day and age, there’s no excuse for a call to be cold anymore.

Of course, Anneke Seley is talking about the convergence of online operations with business. With how businesses are connected online, there’s no reason for leads to “stay cold”, as Anneke says. There are a lot of ways to warm up a prospect before making that first phone call.

Final thoughts

For us here in Tenfold, we still believe that cold calling is part of an effective sales strategy. It can be introduced in various stages of the sales funnel. As you know, sales is not a monotone, mechanical endeavor. There is a lot of room for creativity. What can work for a certain product can work for another one.

Cold calling is not dead–at least we don’t think it is.


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Dan Sincavage

Dan Sincavage

Dan is a Co-Founder of Tenfold and currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer. Dan oversees the Tenfold sales organization, manages strategic partner relationships and works with key enterprise accounts to ensure their success with the Tenfold platform.

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