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Direct Dial Phone Numbers: B2B Sales Guide

In business, not all phone numbers are created equal.

A direct phone number really makes a tangible difference to the sales team’s results

It’s simple—

The more direct-dial phone numbers you have, the more you sell. That’s guaranteed. 

You can avoid receptionists, operators, and other gatekeepers so you get straight to decision-makers.

Sounds good?

In this article, we’re going to analyze:

  • What direct dial numbers are
  • Their importance in B2B sales
  • Where to find business direct phone numbers

What is a direct phone number?

In sales, a direct phone number (or direct dial) puts you directly through to the decision-maker you want to contact. It helps you avoid phone trees and reach the person you want to speak to!

You could say that if you don’t have the prospect’s direct phone number, you don’t have their phone number at all.

Why are direct phone numbers important in business?

Direct-dial telephone numbers are important because they shorten the sales cycle and immediately improve the connection rate, which leads to higher sales in the long run. 

Here’s how—

According to Gartner’s research, the average contact rate is 18 calls per connection. Sales reps often phone a company’s switchboard number and ask for someone high up in the company. Unfortunately, the person who answers the phone is likely trained not to put them straight through. 

On the other hand, when sales reps use direct dials they are 147% more likely to have a conversation with a decision-maker, without the need to deal with gatekeepers—people you have to persuade that your cold call is important enough to trouble their boss with.

Last but not least, the more senior potential buyers you reach, the less rejection you’re going to face. A Rain Group study found that 57% of C-level executives like to be contacted directly by phone whereas only 51% of directors and 47% of managers prefer that option.

When discussing cold calling C-suite executives on direct phone numbers, Adil Advani, CEO at WellPCB, said:

When the CEO gets on the phone with someone and realizes they want the business, there’s a greater chance of conversion because of how rare those calls actually are.

In recent years contacts’ direct phone numbers are becoming even more valuable because there are fewer people in the offices. Many companies are taking the plunge and opting to work remotely full-time.

For cold callers, it’s more important than ever to find mobile direct dials!

How to get direct phone numbers for better sales?

B2B direct dial numbers make your sales team more efficient, more confident, and more effective. To bring more direct dials into your organization, let’s look at good and bad ways of sourcing them.

1. Use sales intelligence tools

Sales intelligence tech provides businesses with B2B data to make the prospecting process more efficient—skip the gatekeepers and reduce tame-wasters. It’s a perfect solution for companies that want to build their pipelines fast. 

For example, Cognism Prospector is a lead gen tool that provides you with smart and compliant direct dials from high-quality lead sources. All of the sources are cross-referenced with patented Revenue AI technology to maintain accuracy. It lets you build prospects lists that are relevant to your ideal customer profile (ICP) and then prioritize contacts based on the sales triggers.

💡 Watch the video below to find your next best opportunity.


Talk to Cognism today

2. Conduct online research manually

For those businesses that can’t afford to pay lead generation companies to source direct dials from, searching contact information on social media can be a viable option. It’s more time-consuming than using the Prospector but can be accurate when done right.

Prospecting on LinkedIn is usually the best way to go about it—as many as 80% of B2B leads are generated through the platform. Once you find a company that matches your ICP, click on “People” on the company’s profile. Filter the list of all employees and see if they shared their direct telephone numbers in their profiles. 

Alternatively, try Cognism Chrome Extension in your browser. A tab will open up showing the prospect’s direct phone number and email address. Plus, all the event-based data such as recent appearances and funding rounds.

💡 Watch the video below and accelerate sales with our lead generation and sales automation solution.


Talk to Cognism today

3. Check the prospect’s email signature

You can also find direct line phone numbers in email signatures. Including it next to a job title is a common practice for professionals in many industries. You can check your company’s inbox or ask colleagues if they have been in touch.

Don’t forget that bounced and out-of-office emails are also a great source of contact information.

💡 Instead of looking up phone numbers, you can implement lead generation strategies that elicit customers’ direct dials.

What is not the best way to obtain direct dial numbers?

Many companies offer to sell or rent contact lists with people’s phone numbers and email addresses. But it comes with risks that can have a negative impact on your sales and marketing.

First off, when you buy lead lists, the data is likely very basic and probably out of date. You will be dialing random people and wasting time and money.

But most importantly, lead lists are usually non-compliant with global data regulations such as GDPR in Europe, CAN-SPAM in the US, etc. As a result, you risk being marked as spam and ruining your company’s reputation.

💡 For more information, check out Cognism’s B2B data compliance guide and learn how to choose a data provider.

Why is it so hard to look up direct phone numbers?

Cold calling is still one of the most effective prospecting techniques. It is legal but there are rules you need to follow that aim at protecting people's personal data. Many providers abuse the rules and people decide not to share their direct dial numbers.

What is the best practice when dialing prospects directly?

Cognism’s Head of Legal, Aksa Kalam, said that the best practice when dialing prospects directly is to contact them only on a legitimate interest basis. Here’s how she explains the concept:

It means you’re contacting prospects about a product or service which is genuinely appropriate for them. When you have legitimate interest, you’re not calling up to waste their time or push a product that they have no use for. 

How do direct dials help B2B sales teams?

When you have a list of direct-dial phone numbers for your prospects, your sales development representatives know that every phone call they make has the potential for success. This feeling is incredibly empowering for salespeople and they can’t wait to get on the phone and do deals instead of fearing rejection!

💡 We asked our sales team how to respond to rejection when cold calling prospects. Watch the video to find out their answers.

But more importantly, having direct dial numbers puts your salespeople in front of more decision-makers. Direct dials generate more 
B2B sales conversations.

Let’s create a scenario:

With those numbers, over the course of a year, your team will have 6,250 conversations with decision-makers.

Direct dials aren’t a guarantee that you’ll reach the buyer every single time. But what if you reduce the number of calls to reach a decision-maker down to 12?

Suddenly, your team makes 9,375 conversations over the year. That’s an increase of 50%!

Depending on your sales strategy and your conversion rates at each stage, it could make a dramatic difference to the revenue you generate.

Key takeaways

  • Dialing direct numbers increases sales team productivity and efficiency. SDRs can provide better value propositions and understand prospects’ main pain points.
  • Therefore, direct phone numbers improve your connection rate and improve your bottom line in the long run.
  • Sales intelligence and acceleration platforms like Cognism provide the sales team with a verified, high-quality contact database to help them reach decision-makers, not the gatekeepers.
  • Cognism's proprietary AI technology provides a blend of real-time company, people, and event data to streamline prospecting and find and deliver new revenue.

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