Increase Sales Efficiency – Become 375% More Efficient Using Direct Dials

If you are in IT sales, research shows you probably spend about 25% of your time researching contacts online and making phone calls that get you to the switchboard and ultimately voicemail. It is probably why you have abandoned your cold calling strategy for calling back inbound leads.  On the surface, this appears to improve your sales efficiency but as our Whitepaper The Power of Outbound: Rethinking Your Sales Strategy discusses – you’re leaving revenue on the table for others to snatch up. At DiscoverOrg, my team of data analysts has a lot of experience on the phone.  They make hundreds of cold calls each day to IT decision makers. Recently we decided to put them to the test.  We tracked the outbound calls our 85+ person data research team dialed to Vice Presidents in IT at Fortune 1000 Companies. Our goal was to quantify the power direct dial phone numbers have on prospecting, efficiency and connect rates. We measured direct dial calls to operated assisted calls.  The results were telling:

Study Results

Time before pickup using a direct dial number

  • 27.4 seconds

Time before pickup using switch board/dial-by-name directory

  • 102 seconds

Time spent on phone before reaching contact via direct dials (per 30 contacts)

  • 14 minutes

Time spent on phone to reach contact via switchboard/dial-by-name directory (per 30 contacts)

  • 51 minutes

Results showed that by relying on the switchboard or dial-by-name directory, it took our analysts an average of a minute and fifteen seconds longer to reach the Vice Presidents. On the high end, we had some hold times exceed the five minute mark.  These types of stats just kill those sales efficiency metrics.   As many of you have experienced, some operators were not authorized to transfer our calls to IT leader. Many analysts also experienced the dreaded – transferred to the incorrect individual. Others were lucky and got an internal transfer but many had to start the process all over again.

As the graph below shows, those in IT sales attempting to call a VP of Information Technology can call to the same amount of contacts in 16 minutes using direct dial numbers as they would in 60 minutes utilizing the corporate operator or dial-by-name directory. This makes a person using Direct Dial Phone Numbers 375% more efficient than one without.


The statistics are mind-blowing.  While you look over the statistics again – know that we were not surprised to find that individuals were more likely to answer their phone when the call was direct – however, we were surprised to see that the number was 36% more likely.

  • Percentage of pickups using Direct Dial
    • 40%
  • Percentage of pickups using Switch Board or Dial-By-Name Directory
    • 3.33%


Striking Gold

If the average salesperson spends four hours a day cold calling, by leveraging direct dials a salesperson can have 19 one minute 30 second conversations with Vice Presidents of Information Technology and leave around 29 voice mails per hour. Per week this would amount to 380 conversations and 580 voice mails per month.  Imagine what this could amount to – 19,760 conversations and 30,160 voice mails per year.  Sounds like one exhausted sales rep who is building a solid pipeline!

Without Direct Dial Numbers, a salesperson would have a single one minute and 30 second conversation with a Vice Presidents of Information Technology and leave only 27 voice mails per hour.  This translates into 1,040 conversations and 28,080 voice mails per year.

  • Number of voice mails and conversations using Direct Dial (Per Year)
    • 19,760 conversations / 30,160 voice mails
  • Number of voice mails and conversations using Operator/Dial-By-Name (Per Year)
    • 1,040 conversations / 28,080 voice mails

For those in the highly competitive and volatile world of IT sales, direct dials just make sense. They allow salespeople to have 18x more conversations.  This is the pot of gold –what every IT sales person strives for – a chance to talk to the decision maker.    Don’t believe me? Give our direct dials a test drive.  Tell us your top target account HERE and we’ll send you their direct dial numbers and you can measure your own success.

Robert manages the DiscoverOrg research teams who cover Customer Service, Government and Higher Education, Technologies, more