What is the Difference Between a Hot Call and a Cold Call?

image of a hot calling phone and a cold calling phone

With the ever growing size of sales technology stacks, the standard telephone can get lost in the array of options—especially for outreach.

Let’s not forget that buyers are taking more control over the purchasing process than ever before. Gate keepers. Privacy laws. “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.”

Couple the aforementioned facts with the reluctance on the part of inside sales and outside sales reps to call leads, and the phone can collect dust faster than a broom.

Yet, 82% of buyers still accept meetings with sellers who cold call.

Why are sales professionals reluctant to cold call?

Why do some thought leaders think that cold calling is dead?

And, what exactly is hot calling and warm calling?

Join me as we cover all these topics to help you discover which phone outreach tactic is best for you and your sales teams!

Don’t forget to read our definitive guide, “Cold Calling: Everything a Salesperson Needs to Know

What Is a Hot Call?

The newest phone outreach term, hot calling can mean one of two things.

Hot calling can refer to the use of non-phone, non-voice outreach channels to establish initial correspondence with a prospect, lead, or customer before calling.

Furthermore, hot calling can also refer to any initial phone outreach with a prospective customer who has in so many ways requested or promoted their desire to receive sales calls.

Companies with the largest marketing budgets, especially inbound marketing, define what it means to hot call.

The customer has demonstrated enough interest to reciprocate with a phone conversation, either by submitting forms or sharing business intelligence, thereby lowering or eliminating any reluctance by sales to perform the necessary outreach.

Lastly, the term hot calling is used to demonstrate the rate of engagement success, whether that be in connect rates, callbacks, or close deals. Because whether we’re talking about basketball or sales, it’s good to be on a “Hot Streak!”.

photo of a woman hot calling

What Is a Cold Call?

Cold Calling is the ultimate source of sales reluctance.

Cold calling is the outreach tactic that encourages sales professionals to call prospects that have no previous demonstrated interest in, or correspondence with the company.

Can we blame sales professionals for being reluctant to make cold calls? Sales reps receive stern warnings not to call back, explicit language screamed into their ears, and sarcastic humor that has no place in a business environment.

If that wasn’t hard enough, cold callers can also reach well-trained gatekeepers that prevent them from even reaching the desired prospect or lead.

Now finish these facts off with a very low rate of success (how many times can you hear the word “No.”?), high turnover rates that create bad sales data, and the feeling of being burned out from not meeting excessive key performance metrics.

photo of a man cold calling

What is a Warm Call?

Similar to hot calling, warm calling can have a double meaning.

First, warm calls can refer to any phone outreach to lost leads or other contacts who have had previous correspondence with your company but failed to move down the pipeline.

And second, warm calling can refer to any well-informed phone outreach that is led by sales intelligence, job postings, promotions, and any other insights that can demonstrate well-intended initiative on the part of the inside or outside sales rep.

While warm calls aren’t necessarily the polar opposite of cold calls, they are more often than not well received by prospects, leads, and customers alike.

Out of the three phone outreach tactics, warm calling is the most trending since the onset of the pandemic. This is largely due to the fact that there was a need to fill the communication void, and demonstrating any familiarity was a good path to success.

Comparing Cold Calls, Hot Calls, and Warm Calls

Now that the pandemic is in our rear-view mirror, it’s a good time for sales teams to review the pros and cons of cold calling, warm calling, and hot calling.

Pros and Cons of Cold Calling


  • For most SMBs, it’s the fastest way to generating awareness
  • Coupled with cold emailing, you can maximize outreach efforts
  • One of the best ways to A/B test value propositions and pitches


  • If done incorrectly you can hurt your company’s name recognition
  • Unrealistic KPIs can negatively influence employee morale and turnover
  • Excessive cold calling can create a repetitive, mundane staff experience

Pros and Cons of Warm Calling


  • Improved reception and comfort level for first-time callers
  • The use of high-quality sales intelligence strengthens the consultant reputation
  • Focus moves from appointment setting numbers to establishing relationships


  • Your competitors are likely using the same sales intelligence in calls and emails
  • Nurtured leads can be neglected for “breaking news” and urgent opportunities
  • Sales reps go into warm calling with too-high expectations compared to cold

Pros and Cons of Hot Calling


  • You’re customizing your outreach channels to the evolving workforce
  • Reaching customers who are beginning or involved in the buying process
  • Delivering value replaces the need for intros and pitches


  • Requires large tech stack budgets, implemented best practices, and training
  • Loss of opportunities to sales people who still maximize touches w/ cold calling
  • The return on investment is nowhere near the same as cold and warm calling

Using the aforementioned pros and cons, where will you reallocate your sales budget and personnel to maximize revenue from phone outreach?

What Phone Outreach Strategy is Best for Your Business

The most important point I can make is this—all phone outreach strategies are best for your business.

Sometimes it depends on the role of each sales team. Inside sales predominately performs cold calls with some occasional warm calling. Outside sales, on the other hand, spends most of their time making warm and hot calls.

But the argument can be made that all sales personnel should practice all three, and sales technology is making this fact much easier.

Inside sales professionals can now rapidly access real-time sales intelligence to make warmer calls and send warmer emails, while outside sales reps can now perform outreach to cold prospects based on their geolocation.


Samir Majumdar

Samir Majumdar

Samir is the CEO and Co-founder of Veloxy. After spending 20+ years creating corporate systems, boosting revenue, and eliminating inefficiencies, Samir started Veloxy to help sales professionals shorten sales cycles, accelerate pipelines, and close more deals.

Sales Insight Webinars