The Impact of Direct Dials on Sales Productivity

sales productivityOften, sales reps who fail to hit the phones hard, wonder how they missed their quota. That said, not all sales outreach is created equal. Consider the following:

  • It takes 22 minutes to connect using switchboard numbers, but with direct dials it only takes 5 minutes (source).
  • When dialing a direct dial phone number at the director level, your SDR is 46% more likely to connect (source).
  • On top of that, when dialing a direct dial number at the VP level, your SDR is 147% more likely to connect (source).

The lesson here is clear: while access to direct phone numbers will not alleviate every pain point related to sales outreach, chances of connecting with prospects is significantly higher compared to calling into company switchboards.

What is connect rate and why does it matter?

To understand the importance of direct dials, you need to understand connect rate–or the average number of calls a sales rep makes to get a prospect on the phone. The average connect rate is 18 calls to one connection (source).

Let’s use a fictional scenario to illustrate the importance of connect rate. Pretend you manage a sales team of 25 reps, who each make 52 calls per day (the industry average: source). Operating under the assumption that your team works 250 days per year, what would happen if you could improve your connect rate by just one call?

Calls to Connect Rate Conversations Per Year Increase in conversations per year from industry average
18 to 1 18,055.56 Industry Average
17 to 1 19,117.65 1,062.09
16 to 1 20,312.50 2,256.94
15 to 1 21,666.67 3,611.11
14 to 1 23,214.29 5,158.73


The numbers here don’t lie. Simply decreasing your call to connect rate by just one call will yield 1,063 more conversations with prospects.

Connect rate and your sales funnel

To see how an improved connect rate translates into closing more business, let’s go back to our fictional scenario and pretend your 25 person sales team produces an average order size of $10,000. Using average sales productivity metrics, we will create a sales funnel to see how an improved connect rate can increase revenue.

Aside from the industry average of 52 sales calls a day, here are some other industry averages we can leverage to complete our funnel:

  • Average connections to schedule a meeting: It takes 18 calls to get on the phone with a prospect; the percentage of these live sales conversations that result in a meeting is 23%, or about 4 connections (source).
  • Average meetings per created opportunity: 38% of meetings (about every three) lead to a sales opportunity (source).
  • Average close rate: The average close/won ratio for qualified sales opportunities is 27%(source).

With everything else being equal, here’s how significant the downstream improvement is to each of these KPIs by improving connect rate by just one call:

Connect to Call Ratio Conversations Meetings scheduled Opportunities created Revenue
18 to 1 18,055.56 4,513.89 1,489.58  $       4,021,875.00
17 to 1 19,117.65 4,779.41 1,577.21  $       4,258,455.88


Obviously, these metrics vary from company to company. Your close rate may float around 50%. If you can improve the rate at which you get prospects on the phone, you’ll see an even higher impact to your bottom line.

Final thoughts

Sales productivity is a combination of effectiveness and efficiency. Access to direct dials will not make your sales team better at pitching value propositions or digging for pain points. Thus, while effectiveness is up to your team, direct dial phone numbers will drive better efficiency (and revenue!) by improving your connect rate.

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