How to Find Your Prospects Direct Dial Phone Number | Funnel Clarity

One of the keys to effective prospecting is learning how to find direct dial phone numbers to reach your prospect. With gatekeepers and data privacy on the rise, finding direct dials is often easier said than done. Finding a direct line phone number is worth the effort, and Funnel Clarity has data to prove it.

Importance of Direct Dials in Modern Prospecting

Funnel Clarity conducted a research study on the impact of calling a prospect where the direct dial phone number is known for the prospect versus calling the switchboard and being transferred:

  • Time to Dial: 80 seconds (switchboard) vs. 45 seconds (direct dial).
  • Dials to Connect: 20 dials/prospect (switchboard) vs. 12 dials/prospect (direct dial).
  • 147% more likely to have a conversation with a VP using a direct dial.

Consider the impact of having direct dial numbers on a seller’s efficiency. In one hour of calling purely switchboard numbers, it will take sellers about 24 minutes to reach a prospect. By the end of that hour, they will have only reached around 3 prospects. Using purely direct dial phone numbers, sellers will reach a prospect about every 5 minutes; that’s 12 prospects per hour.

Definition of a Direct Dial

The data overwhelming reinforces that the fact that direct dial phone numbers drastically improve prospecting efficiency, but what is the definition of a direct dial?

A direct dial or direct line phone number is defined as the number of a prospect where they are most likely to answer. This includes a prospect’s cell phone number or alternative number which isn’t necessarily their office phone number.

This is an important distinction as a commonly held belief is that a direct dial phone number has to be the prospect’s main office number – this is simply not true.

How to Find Direct Dials for Your Prospects:

  • Use Sales Intel Tools
  • Online Resources
  • Switchboards and Administrative Assistants
  • Other People at Your Prospects Organization

Use Sales Intel Tools to Find Direct Dials

There are many paid sources for direct dial phone numbers with varying degrees of accuracy. One of the most popular sales intelligence tools for finding direct dials is ZoomInfo and DiscoverOrg. Other popular tools are LeadIQ, InsideView and industry specific databases.

These sales intelligence tools are all great, but they only get you to first base in the quest for direct dials. To up your percentage, you need to do some proactive information gathering.

Online Resources are a Goldmine for Direct Dials

Sales intelligence tools can get pricey when trying to find direct dials, fortunately, there are many other no cost resources for finding direct dials. The first one being online resources.

A simple Google search of the prospect oftentimes returns their direct dial phone number in the search results. Prospect’s also frequently post their direct dial phone number on their social media accounts such as Twitter but most often on LinkedIn.

Switchboards and Admins are an Underutilized Resource for Direct Dials

If sales intel tools and using online resources don’t yield any results for your prospects direct dial, you still have a very powerful underutilized tool for finding direct dials – the phone. By calling into the organization and speaking with the prospect’s admin or the switchboard, you can get your prospects direct dial phone number.

Admins and switchboard operators hold a lot of information that is rarely shared because sellers rarely ask for it. When calling them, ask for your prospect’s direct dial phone number in a credible way and never misrepresent yourself. Other times it pays off to call an alternate location or international office.

>> Read More: How to Get Past the Gatekeeper >>

Don’t Forget About Other People at the Organization to Get Direct Dials

While admins and switchboards are an underutilized resource for finding direct dials by sellers, there is an even more underutilized resource for direct dials – other people at your prospect’s organization. This could be a colleague from a different department or even the IT help desk.

Approach these people by asking for help in reaching your prospect at the organization and ask directly for the direct dial. Similar to admins and switchboards, never misrepresent yourself and always be honest.

Overcoming Common Challenges

Despite the varied opportunities to help you find direct phone numbers for prospects, obtaining direct dials can present challenges. As with other tactics in sales, it’s essential to be flexible and adaptive, considering a few practical solutions. Here are a few scenarios to consider:

Uncooperative Switchboards

Due to company policies or security concerns, switchboard operators might be hesitant or unwilling to provide direct dials.


When facing this, remember: a polite and clear explanation of your purpose can go a long way. Emphasize the importance of direct communication for efficient business dealings. Building a good rapport might encourage them to assist you. Otherwise, consider tactic #4, contacting other people in the organization.

Navigating Complex Organizational Structures

Large corporations often have intricate hierarchies, making it challenging to identify the right contacts for direct dials.


Start by diving deep into the organization's structure. Use online tools and platforms like LinkedIn to map out key decision-makers or relevant departments. This research helps you zero in on your ideal prospect. 

Don't forget to tap into your professional network for insights. If you have contacts within the company, ask for referrals. They can often direct you to the right people.

Use of Gatekeepers

Large corporations often have intricate hierarchies, making it challenging to identify the right contacts for direct dials.


Establish rapport with gatekeepers by explaining your purpose concisely and respectfully. Building a professional relationship might lead to assistance in obtaining the required contact information. If initial attempts fail, be persistent yet polite in your pursuit. Sometimes, repeated respectful requests yield positive results. Your patience and strategic approach in these situations can make a significant difference.

Measuring the Impact of Direct Dials

While taking the time to identify and perfect your strategy around how to find direct phone numbers, it’s equally important to measure the impact that using those numbers makes. There are three main metrics to track:

  • Response Rates

These indicate how engaged your prospects are. A high response rate means your direct dial outreach is making a real impact, connecting you effectively with your prospects.

  • Conversion Rates

From initial contact to qualified leads demonstrate the efficiency of direct dials in moving prospects through the sales funnel.

  • Deal Closure Rates

But only those that are directly tied to the use of direct dials.

While efforts may be slow at first, these metrics collectively showcase the transformative impact of leveraging direct dials in prospecting strategies, affirming their role in driving substantial business growth. For reference, the estimated conversion rate for cold calls is around 6.3%, which is substantially higher than those for email click-through rates.

Evolving Trends in Direct Dial Prospecting

Direct dial prospecting continues to be an invaluable aspect of a sales professional’s toolkit. Beyond how to find direct phone numbers, advancements in technology have revolutionized many aspects of how salespeople connect with prospects. Several emerging trends and technologies are reshaping this landscape:

  • Predictive Analytics for Prospect Identification:

Advanced analytics predict prospect behavior by analyzing past interactions, enabling businesses to anticipate their needs and preferences, thus optimizing direct dial outreach strategies.

  • Data Integration:

Integration of direct dial prospecting tools with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems allows for seamless access to updated contact information, enhancing the effectiveness of sales and marketing efforts.

  • Blockchain for Data Security:

Blockchain technology is increasingly being explored to ensure the security and integrity of contact databases. It offers encrypted and decentralized storage, reducing the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access.

Use Multiple Methods for Finding Direct Dial Numbers

Data has proven over and over again that the most successful sellers and prospectors have a higher percentage of direct dial phone numbers than their underperforming peers. These sellers also do not rely on only one source for finding direct dials. Instead they leverage every tool they have available to them for getting a direct dial for their prospect.