SDRs – Why Nobody is Answering Your Phone Calls

cold call

This could be the most important news you read in Sales Development this year:

A full 46% of Americans report getting spam calls every single day. 

There were just under 46 billion robocalls made to American numbers in 2020. 

It’s a problem in search of a solution, and the FCC has taken a number of steps recently to bring an end to telephone scams, spam, and abuse. 

Effective from June 2021, all service providers are required to use the STIR/SHAKEN framework to authenticate callers and reduce if not eliminate robocalls and phone number spoofing.

That’s good. 

But an unintended consequence of this is the number of legitimate businesses getting caught in the cross-fire. 

And that’s bad. 



STIR/SHAKEN — which stands for the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN) — is a framework of standards and protocols to be used across various networks. 

With it, originating service providers will confirm a number and user as legitimate, while other carriers will further verify that information before it reaches the intended recipient.

In theory, it would identify the caller as either ‘unknown’ or ‘spam’ if they’re using robocall or spoofing services because they would fail this authentication process. 

Number comes up as spam, do not answer. Simple, but effective. 

Unfortunately, even the best laid plans often go awry, and STIR/SHAKEN is wreaking havoc among SDRs and other individuals who rely on cold calling for proper business purposes.  

The Impact of STIR/SHAKEN


At the best of times, a connect rate in the vicinity of 7-10% is average for cold dials.

In the months since STIR/SHAKEN was implemented, some businesses have seen that number plummet to only 1-2%. 

The difference? Those legitimate users are coming up as spam for a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to):

  1. The number is not registered to your business
  2. The number was recycled and previously labeled as spam
  3. The user is running afoul of spam algorithms

The only way to know for sure is to check it yourself.

Call your own mobile phone and see what comes up. Or better yet, call a few friends or family members and ask them.

If your business number(s) is repeatedly failing its authentication, it’s no wonder your connect rate has fallen through the floor. No one is ever going to knowingly answer a call labeled as spam. 

So, what do you do?  

Playing Nice with STIR/SHAKEN


First, do an audit of all numbers used for business purposes. Are they coming up as ‘verified’ or ‘spam’? 

Next, contact your (cadence, sequencing, or dialing) service provider and confirm that the number(s) are registered to you and your business. The ease and convenience of this will vary depending on your specific provider (standalone dialing tools will be best). 

Unfortunately, many numbers are recycled. If a previous user was identified as a spammer, the number itself is likely unsalvageable. Get rid of it, and buy a new one. And don’t forget to immediately register it. 

Finally, be aware of the red flags that spam algorithms look for, such as:

  • Calling the same outbound number several times in one day
  • Using the number too frequently
  • An actual spam complaint 

Audit your business numbers at least monthly, eliminate those labeled as spam, and play by the rules for legitimate and verified use. Protect your verified and clean numbers.  

Business cold calls are not spam when you’ve done your homework and know your prospects. Don’t let something designed to prevent scammers keep you from solving their needs. 

Need help? Tenbound is a Sales Development Research and Advisory firm providing expert guidance and integrated technology solutions to help you take your Sales Pipeline to the next level. Contact us today to get started.

Leave a Comment

More Appointments. More Pipeline. More Sales.

Want More Pipeline & Revenue?
Join Tenbound Plus for $12 Month

Full Year Access

  • All Tenbound Premium Content
  • Peer-Led Community Access – Slack and Luma Private group
  • Sales Dev Manager Online Training Course
  • SDR Bootcamp Online Training Course
  • Exclusive Events, Meet-ups and Conferences
  • The Sales Development Framework Print Book ..and much more.