Sales Benchmarks: The 30/50 Rule for Cold Emailing & Cold Calling

One of the hardest things about being a sales rep is knowing if you’re doing a good enough job. But what is “good enough?” You might feel like you’re crushing it with your cold email campaigns only to find out your competition is getting double your response rate.

In sales, knowledge is power. While you might not be able to get your competition’s exact metrics, knowing industry benchmarks can tell you where your sales efforts are working and where they’re lacking and need your attention.

If you’re in the B2B space, these are the benchmarks you should be hitting at every step of your cold email and cold calling sales funnels.

By the way, if you're interested in streamlining your cold email writing process, you might find our Cold Email Generator to be a helpful resource. Or our AI Email Writer!

And if you some ideas for your B2B, we also got you covered with some really great 12 B2B cold email templates.

Sales Benchmarks for Cold Emailing: The 30/30/50 Rule

A basic cold email sales funnel looks something like this:

  • Open rate: How many people opened your email?
  • Response rate: How many people responded to your email?
  • Conversion rate: How many people took the action you wanted them to take (i.e., schedule a demo, sign up for a trial, download a whitepaper)?

First off, if you’re not able to track these numbers, then you’re already in trouble. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. And the only way you can improve your sales funnels (and your entire sales process) is by knowing how you’re doing at each stage.

Utilize Close's 14-day free trial to measure important metrics for your cold emailing today. Close's Explorer reporting feature gives you access to email data, including emails sent, open and response rates, and more—for both individual sales reps and sales teams.

To track the results of your team's email sequences, head over to the Workflows page and get a quick overview of key metrics for each:

‎Once you have your tracking in place, there are specific benchmarks you should be hitting to know if you’ve got a healthy funnel.

Opening Rate: Minimum 30 Percent

If less than 30 percent of the people you send cold emails to are opening them, this is a problem you need to deal with. An open rate below 30 percent makes every other part of your sales process harder. Try writing better subject lines, experimenting with sending your emails at different times, or making sure you’re only messaging your ideal customer.

Response Rate: Minimum 30 Percent

You don’t just want prospects to open your sales emails. You want them to read and respond to them. Again, if less than 30 percent of people who opened your email are responding, this area needs improvement.

Ideally, your response rate should be closer to 50 percent. But if it’s lower than 30 percent, that means something is fundamentally broken in the body copy of your email and won’t be fixed just by doing more outreach.

To fix your response rate, you might try experimenting with:

  • Your pitch: Is it short, clear, exciting, and compelling?
  • The person you’re pitching to: Did you properly qualify the lead? Are they your ideal customer profile?
  • What you’re asking them to do (your CTA): Is it super clear what their next step is? (i.e., hit reply, schedule a time for a call or demo, etc.…) Remove as much effort as possible for the prospect to maximize response rates—one way to do so is the 1, 2, 3 email hack.

Conversion Rate: Minimum 50 Percent

At this point of your cold email funnel, you should only be dealing with highly qualified and engaged prospects. They’ve opened, read, and responded to your emails. And you should be able to convert at least 50 percent of them.

As always, you want to aim to be above this number. However, a conversion rate of less than 50 percent is a major red flag. However, if you have a 90 percent closing rate or higher, that's not necessarily good either.

If someone has a 90 percent conversion rate, that means they're not asking for the close often enough. The action to take here is to ask for the close earlier and more often.

Implement effective strategies and techniques to optimize your sales conversion rate and improve your closing percentages.

Explore our comprehensive guide on the sales conversion rate to discover proven methods for maximizing your conversion rate and driving higher sales numbers. Learn about the key factors that influence conversion, effective closing techniques, and how to strike the right balance between assertiveness and customer-centricity.

Sales Benchmarks for Cold Calling: The 30/50/50 Rule

When it comes to cold calling, your funnel looks quite similar to cold emailing, but with a few small differences in what you should be tracking:

  • Reach rate: How many times did you reach the person you intended to?
  • Qualify rate: How many of the people you spoke to did you qualify?
  • Conversion rate: How many of those leads took the action you wanted them to?

Again, you need to be able to track all of these metrics to know where your cold calling funnel is working or not.

Close's powerful reporting feature allows you to get a high-level overview of your calling activity for the entire team or broken down by individual rep. You can slice and dice the data based on the specific criteria that matter to you so that you get metrics that matter and ultimately lead to meaningful insights.

‎In addition to the Explorer, Close's reporting feature also allows you to see the status of the deals in your pipeline with Opportunities, changes in lead statuses with the Status Change Report, and more. Try Close's reporting feature today—sign up for a free trial! want to learn what recurring revenue has to do with total contract value? Find out in our article!

Reach Rate: Minimum 30 Percent

If less than 30 percent of your cold calls turn into a conversation with a decision maker, your cold calling campaign is dead in the water. Ideally, your reach rate should be closer to 40-50 percent. And if you can’t fix this number, nothing else really matters in your cold calling funnel.

Qualify Rate: Minimum 50 Percent

Here’s where we see a bit of difference from your cold emailing benchmarks. You want to qualify at least 50 percent of the people you get in touch with.

This number might seem high. But you need to think about the context. If you did your job, then you’ve already researched and qualified this lead before they even picked up the phone.

Once you contact these pre-qualified leads, at least half of them should confirm they’re a good fit for your product. Otherwise, you’re wasting tons of time, energy, and money calling people you never should have reached out to in the first place.

Conversion Rate: Minimum 50 Percent

By now, you’re probably starting to see a pattern emerge. But it’s just simple logic. If you’ve done your research, called, and spoken with qualified leads, at least 50 percent of them should do what you’re asking them to do. If you’re not hitting this number, we’ve written about many ways to increase your cold calling conversion rate.

Hey there! If you're serious about cold calling, our article highlighting the top 8 sales headsets is your secret weapon.

These Benchmarks are Just a Starting Point

Benchmarks like these are a great way to know if you’re doing the right things with your cold calling and emailing campaigns. But no one can tell you exactly what numbers your business needs to hit to be successful other than you. So, when you're comparing your numbers to these metrics, there are a few things to consider:

  1. Benchmarks are minimums: Hitting a 30 percent open rate or 50 percent conversion rate isn’t a cause for celebration. But it does mean that you’re going down the right path and don’t need to make serious changes.
  2. Context is everything: Every business, market, and industry is different. And there’s a chance your metrics might be completely different, and you can make the math work, hitting vastly lower numbers. But that is a rarity. In 99 percent of cases, these benchmarks make sense.
  3. If you’re close to a benchmark you don’t need to rebuild your entire funnel: If your numbers are wildly off, you’ll want to make some drastic changes to your funnels. But, if you’re only slightly below them, focusing on incremental growth is better. Track your metrics month-on-month and use experiments to get your numbers up.

Even if You’re Hitting (or Above) These Benchmarks Your Work isn’t Done

These benchmarks are just guides, not goals. They’re the minimum you need to be hitting to know that you’re at least going in the right direction.

In sales, the work is never over, and there’s always room for improvement. Track your metrics through every step of your sales funnel, measure them against these benchmarks, and always look for ways to improve.

If you sit back and say, “We’re hitting 50 percent, so we’re all good!” Someone will come and knock you off the throne.

Good sales teams hit their numbers and are happy. But great ones are never satisfied.

Want to improve your outbound sales drastically? Grab your free copy of my book, "Your Growth Hacks Aren't Working. Now Pick Up The Phone And Get Customers!" which is packed with actionable advice on cold emailing and calling prospects and turning them into paying customers!

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