It’s the age-old question: quantity vs. quality in cold calling. Which is better… and why?
Should you focus on sheer numbers — calling through an entire industry in a matter of weeks or months? Or take a slow-burn approach by calling fewer prospects but with tailor-made messaging that resonates?
Trust me, these approaches are not created equal. And the success of your sales team in 2024 and beyond hinges on which of these two strategies you implement.
Obviously, you’ll want to choose the one that nets greater results. But you can’t just throw a dart board on the map and choose; there are some nuances to consider here before finalizing your Q1 gameplan.
Not to worry — I’m going to cover this in detail today. I’ll share the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches in B2B sales. And I’m going to share my own hot take on the topic.
Put these strategies and tactics into practice and I can almost guarantee you’ll have your best year yet. So let’s get to it.
Why Aim for Quantity in Sales?
You’ve heard it a million times… “sales is a numbers game.” I personally can’t stand this saying. It implies that if you pick up the phone and dial 10,000 numbers — even with a canned script and zero attention to tonality — that you’ll book some meetings or close some deals. Sure, you might bring in a few deals. But was all that effort worth it for a <.02% win rate? Absolutely not. Not to mention that you just burned through who-knows-how-many prospects that would’ve otherwise said yes if they were talking to a real human who cared.
With that said, if we’re being honest, it is easier to outsource our cold calling campaigns to India or the Philippines and pay $5 for 50-75 outbound calls. And that’s the main argument for calling in volume, or focusing on quantity in sales. It’s easy. It’s the path of least resistance. It allows us to do (seemingly) more with less. But while it certainly is easier, it often comes at a steep cost. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of the quantity approach in B2B sales.
- It’s fast
- It’s cheap
- It’s easy
- Abysmally low conversions
- High churn
- Burns through a list fast
Even the pros are actually cons in disguise. After all, do you know what else is fast, cheap, and easy? Fast food! And fast food makes you fat and lazy. So even though you feel like focusing on quantity over quality is a smart move, it’s really only going to hurt you in the long run. As far as I’m aware, no great companies have been built (and still stand) by focusing on quantity at the expense of quality.
Why Aim for Quality in Sales
Thankfully, there’s another option. Instead of the shotgun approach that is quantity, this is the heat-seeking missile approach of quality.
And the saying “quality over quantity” just sounds right. It speaks to the finer things in life like flying first class, Italian leather, tailor-made suits, and Michelin-rated restaurants (did you know there are only 13 in the US?!). So it would stand to reason that aiming for quality in sales is a wise move.
And it is. There are small/boutique sales teams that crush by making only 50-100 calls per day. They are calling off a hyper-curated list with laser-focused messaging, and they always do their homework before picking up the phone. Don’t be surprised to hear about close rates upwards of 40-50% when you are this intentional with your outbound strategy.
Here are the pros and cons of the quality approach to B2B sales.
- High conversions
- Long-lasting relationships
- Low churn
- Feels good / can sleep better at night
- Difficult to scale
- Competition gets a bigger market share
- Requires specialized sales training
- Takes a lot of effort
So yes, there’s immense value in taking a highly-targeted cold calling approach. But the achilles heel of those in the “quality camp” is that they can only reach out to a small number of prospects daily. They find some success, but their success hinges on a highly-personalized approach, which is notoriously difficult to scale. So in the end, are they really much better off than those who take the high-volume approach? Maybe, but not by much.
A Better Way: Aim for Quality AND Quantity
Now, I was assuming that the quantity camp was focusing solely on volume alone, not giving a second thought to the quality of those calls. After all, most high-volume cold callers take this “spray and pray” approach. But there are some salespeople and whole sales teams out there that aim for high-volume while also seeking to improve quality on a consistent basis. This combination is the closest thing to having a superpower in sales. And this is the exact approach my team takes.
Here’s what you do…
You first dial-in a winning outbound campaign on a small scale. So you take, say, 1,000 prospects and you call each one like they’re the only person on your list. You do your homework upfront on their role, their business, their challenges; you give great thought to your opening line; you focus on delivering value in the conversation; you leverage tonality; you listen to understand; you follow-up intentionally. You might have to tweak your approach several times before you find a winning formula. Then, once you do, you build it out to high-volume numbers. The secret here is to write everything down as SOPs (standard operating procedures) so that it’s all trainable and repeatable.
This balanced approach assumes that you need both — quantity and quality — to win in the game of sales. It’s like having two legs to stand on. Take one leg away and the person falls over (or at least they have a hard time standing). If you want to level-up your sales game in the new year, then you have to focus on both approaches, quality and quantity. You can’t have one without the other.
In the end, while focusing solely on quantity (high volume) might seem like the best way forward — especially when you’re first building out a sales team or just getting started — you’ll find that you’re spinning your wheels if you don’t also have quality-centric KPIs in place. So start with quality, and once you have a viable cold call campaign, scale that up and build a team around it.
Now, if this all sounds Greek to you, then you’re not alone. Successful outbound sales campaigns aren’t exactly a walk in the park. But whatever you do, don’t despair, just get in touch with me. At C-Level Partners, we cut through the noise and the competition, and we put you in front of the right people, in the right role, right now.
Until next time…