Study Finds 1 Out of 2 B2B Sales Reps Fear Making Cold Calls

Research by ValueSelling Associates and Selling Power sheds light on the biggest challenges to outbound sales prospecting and necessary skills to connect with prospects

RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif., Oct. 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to research findings released today by ValueSelling Associates, Inc., a leading sales training company, fear is one of the biggest obstacles to business-to-business (B2B) outbound sales prospecting. More than half of sales professionals (53%) give up too easily when cold calling and 48% are afraid to pick up the phone and make cold calls. Other significant challenges to outbound prospecting include salespeople’s lack of organization and consistency with outreach efforts (60%), trouble finding and accessing the right decision maker (42%), and weak social media skills for prospecting (38%).

The sponsored research report, “B2B Prospecting Challenges from the Front Lines,” exposes the biggest challenges to outbound prospecting and the skills necessary for connecting with new prospects. The study is relevant to both direct sales and inside sales teams.

“Successful prospecting requires persistence, overcoming the fear of cold calling, targeting efforts to the person with power and leveraging a multi-channel approach,” explains Julie Thomas CEO and President of ValueSelling Associates. “This survey details specific changes sales professionals can make to secure more meetings and increase the quantity and quality of their sales pipeline.”

ValueSelling Associates, Inc. and Selling Power, the media company that produces Selling Power Magazine, surveyed online 160 U.S. sales professionals in a wide variety of sales roles and industries to investigate the challenges of B2B outbound sales prospecting.

Key study findings include:

  • Inability to reach the prospective buyer is the number one challenge that sales people face when trying to set up an initial meeting. The top challenges that salespeople face in securing an initial meeting with a prospect (for either a phone or in-person meeting) are:
    • Getting the prospect to respond was the biggest challenge (59%)
    • Access to the real decision maker (46%)
    • Finding the correct contact person in the company (32%)
    • Getting a referral or introduction (25%)
  • The three most important skills for connecting with new prospects are:
    • Conducting research to identify target prospects who are decision makers (63%)
    • Getting an introduction via referral (61%)
    • Face-to-face networking (48%)
  • More than five touch points are required to secure an initial meeting. 54% of initial meetings required more than five touch points, such as phone calls, email, social media outreach, to book the meeting – demonstrating that tenacity and determination are necessary skills in sales.
    • 44% of initial meetings require 6-10 touch points  
    • 10% require 11 or more touch points
  • Most organizations do not provide enough training on outbound prospecting. Of the 76% of companies that provide outside training, close to half (46%) provide training only once a year. And, 28% of these organizations provide this training only one time total, as part of initial onboarding.

“Repeated, incremental training on prospecting and setting up initial meetings is imperative to building a solid sales pipeline and helping sales professionals overcome their fear of making cold calls,” said Thomas. “We find that successful sales teams establish a multi-channel, cadence-based approach to their prospecting efforts.”

To download a complete copy of ValueSelling Associates and Selling Power’s research report, visit:  

About ValueSelling Associates, Inc.
ValueSelling Associates, a leading global sales training company, offers a practical methodology for selling on value, not price. The ValueSelling Framework® is a proven formula that simplifies the complex B2B sale, and the Vortex Prospecting™ program provides a repeatable process that increases connections and conversations to the revenue pipeline. Once trained on the ValueSelling method, organizations grow revenue and increase productivity. Since 1991, thousands of professionals around the world have chosen ValueSelling Associates for customized training, reinforcement and consulting to drive sales results. For more information, visit

About Selling Power                          
In addition to Selling Power, the leading digital magazine for sales managers and sales VPs since 1981, Personal Selling Power Inc. produces the Sales Management Digest and Daily Boost of Positivity e-newsletters, as well as a five-minute video series featuring interviews with top executives. Selling Power is a regular media sponsor of the Sales 3.0 Conference. Visit

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Media Contact:
Maria Doyle
Doyle Strategic Communications

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

VSA-SP research cover