Cold Calling vs. Hot Calling: What Is The Difference

Anna Sopova

Effective sales outreach has become the holy grail of marketing strategies.

Every business wants to expand its customer base and companies do not leave any stone unturned to acquire new customers. 

Sales personnel often have to make unsolicited calls to strangers to pitch the brand or product, win their trust, and convert them into loyal customers. 

These calls are more commonly known as cold calls. Since no prior contact has been established with the recipients, they do not anticipate such calls and almost always respond negatively.

If instead of a stranger, you were to call somebody who has had some contact with your business, it would be hot calling. Based on the prior connection and awareness about your brand or company, the recipients of warm calls are not taken by surprise and are more likely to respond favourably.

Did you know that it takes 18 calls on average to connect with a buyer? No wonder 63% of sales employees pick cold calling as the least favourite part of their job profile.

Being in the marketing and sales department, you must be aware of several tools and techniques used to reach potential customers.

This guide, however, will help you better understand the difference between hot calling and cold calling, and if you should implement it for getting leads.

Difference Between Cold Calling and Hot Calling

As we mentioned already, the primary difference between a cold and a hot call lies in the way it is received. Judging by their names, hot calling and cold calling should be on the opposite ends of the spectrum. But in reality, hot calling (or warm calling) is a better and more efficient version of cold calling.

Salespeople relied heavily on cold calls before social media, and online marketing gained prominence. In recent years, many of us have started questioning the usefulness and validity of cold calling. If you had to make a cold call today, you would call a stranger without any groundwork or information to help you win them over to your brand.

It does not involve picking up a telephone directory and randomly making cold calls. Research and surveys are conducted to create a list of people who would most likely be interested in the brand or product. However, these lists rarely have a considerable number of genuine leads. In fact, cold calls are ineffective more than 90% of the time.

Hot calling involves making use of several platforms other than a telephone to establish an initial contact before a salesperson makes the call. You would do your homework before making a hot call - recent announcements, leadership change, milestones, and so on. Sales executives are expected to be able to answer any questions asked by potential customers. 

It is evident that hot calling requires more time and tends to be a tad bit more expensive than cold calling. Employees need to be well-informed about the industry they are catering to and might have to undergo some training.

It should come as no surprise that cold calling is not as effective as hot calling is. It is a trade-off you need to evaluate - hot calling provides better results than cold calling at a higher cost and time requirement.

The concept and the results differ significantly, and so do the techniques. Let’s look at the methods of hot calling and cold calling you should be considering.

Cold Calling Techniques

If you want to know how to cold call, some tools and techniques are being employed by sales personnel to make the process productive and more rewarding.

1. Choosing a List

Some people feel like cold calling is merely a random means of getting under the skin of others. But it is a legitimate process that can be streamlined to derive results. The process starts with choosing a list of prospective customers to call. You can find and create lists from various online sources like LinkedIn, BuyingAList, and so on.

2. Tracking and Scheduling

After selecting a file, you must have an active policy of monitoring and scheduling in place. How will the calls be divided among the sales personnel? How will they track their progress to check if they are meeting their respective targets? Who will monitor the entire process and intervene to address bottlenecks?

You need to have the answers to many such questions for this process to be a success!

3. Avoiding Churn

Cold calling aims to acquire new customers. One of the biggest challenges faced by companies is customer attrition, more commonly known as churn. You do not want to be losing your existing customers while focusing on acquiring new ones. Ensure you have policies in place to avoid this churn, or else cold calling will be rendered redundant.

Hot Calling Techniques

If you want to know how to hot call, here are some of the most prominent techniques and methods in use today.

1. Social Selling

Social media usage is at an all-time high, and the graph will only go up! Around 75% of B2B buyers have used a social media platform for their decision-making process. So if you haven’t included social media in your efforts to reach new customers, you are missing out on a huge opportunity.

2. Direct Mail

If you believe direct mail is a thing of the past, think again! Direct mail campaigns have proved to be exceptionally useful even today. Nearly two-thirds of the recipients of direct mail end up buying the product. So it makes sense for you to incorporate direct mail in your hot calling process.

3. Referrals

One of the best ways to turn a cold call into a warm call is to use references. Rather than calling prospective customers, seek referrals from any possible mutual contact that might introduce you. It has been observed that 84% of B2B buyers consider referrals in their decision-making process.


Cold calling is not a complete waste of your time. 

Despite being challenging and less rewarding, it always has been and always will be a part of the sales outreach strategy of companies. But you must focus on ways to convert cold calls into hot leads for your business.

Hot calling requires more investment, both in terms of time and money. But if done correctly, it can pay huge dividends in the long run.

As they say, customers come first! If you want to get new customers and build long-term relationships with them, you would have to find the perfect mix of hot and cold calling.

Till next time!

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