Is “Calls/Hour” a Meaningful Measurement?
When you think “Cold Calling” and “Metrics” one measurement quickly comes to mind: Calls/Hour.
I want to dedicate this piece to both the benefits and downsides of this measurement.
Calls/hour is a key metric for VSA, as it should be for any outbound cold calling organization. But, this metric is not as clean and pure as some would think:
• At VSA, it just so happens that the caller who produces the greatest opportunities also makes the highest calls/hour. This woman is amazing. She encourages decision makers to take action much more quickly than most on our team. Because of her strong and quick closing skills, making more calls per hour allows her to produce more opportunities.
• But, we see just the opposite with new callers. Some new callers produce the fastest calls/hour on our training account, but generate virtually no opportunities.
These new callers are focused and hard-working, but are actually skimming too quickly through a list, without truly penetrating it. In cases where a caller cannot effectively engage, faster calls per hour do not result in more opportunities.
Our job is to coach the new callers to slow down and make each call count – and not to worry about calls/hour.
• Here’s another interesting situation. A caller who is a strong closer was calling at a slow pace. Yet, when she reached decision makers, she was able to engage, encourage and set appointments.
We talked about her low calls/hour. It turns out she was stopping between calls to confirm that she was making the right decisions. When I validated her judgment, she minimized the time between calls, thus boosting her calls/hour. Because of her strong close ratio, the faster calls significantly improved her overall opportunities per hour. She is now producing in the highest quartile of all callers on her accounts.
• For most in cold calling, there is an inverse relationship between calls/hour and opportunities/hour. Callers who are producing high opportunities/hour tend to make calls per hour in the “middle of the pack.” A high-producing caller typically talks longer with each decision maker, writes more notes, and sends more emails. Therefore, opportunities per hour are high and calls per hour are lower.
So, is measuring calls per hour a good thing? Yes, absolutely. It’s a red flag when calls/hour are too high or too low, without the corresponding high performance in opportunities. However beware that the callers do not grow overly concerned about their pace of calls, at the expense of meaningful, effective conversations that result in appointments.
Remember, calls/hour is just one metric in a full array of measurements. In many cases, trying to make those who are already effective in producing opportunities speed up calls/hour will actually reduce their opportunities per hour.