EP 11 – Are Your Sales Reps Calling the Right People – Ryan Reisert

Presentation of the episode

On the eleventh episode of The Virtual Selling Podcast, Gabriel speak with Ryan Reisert, founder of Phone Ready Leads.

He explains to us his solution to ensure sales reps are calling the right people and closing more sales.

About Ryan Reisert

To learn more about Ryan Reisert and Phone Ready Leads click on the links below :



With the pandemic that came upon us, the rise of video conferencing tools like Microsoft teams and zoom has led to more aspects of the sales conversation to occur virtually. And what began as a crisis reaction has evolved into the new normal, but how normal is the new normal we’re talking about how the strong shift from in-person to virtual selling has transformed B2B sales experience, virtual sales enablement, new organizations, KPIs.
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Hi everybody. I’m very happy today to be with Ryan Reisert, who is a brand ambassador at Cognism and he also founded a company called Phone ready leads, which is a training and sales training company. Could you tell us a little bit about your both jobs?

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Yeah, so phone ready leads is a service or process that really helps organizations who use the phone for prospecting actually make it work. So when people who make cold calls today they pick up the phone and they start making calls. The number one complaint is nobody picks up the phone, right? They have to make about 20 to 30 dials just to get one live conversation with.
And if you look at benchmarks an average rep maybe only makes 50,000 a day. So they may only be having one or two live conversations with a target. And so they tend to say, Hey, cold calling is a lot of work and it doesn’t really work.
With phone ready leads, I’ve developed a process where that exact same rep, that exact same list. They’ll having to buy technology without having to change their methodology. Simply just insert us into where they get their data and before they start calling.
The live conversation rate happens every two to six styles.


So said differently. They can have between eight and 12 conversations in the same 50 dials they’re having maybe one or two. So that’s phone ready leads.
And then I am a brand ambassador with Cognism. Cognism is a premium data provider. So a lot of folks are familiar with ZoomInfo worldwide, Cognism is based out of the UK and is developing a contact database that focuses on three key areas compliance: Premium data and premium targeting. And so they have a suite of tools that helps folks really hone in be very hyper-targeted with the types of lists that they’re trying to prospect and my job there is to manage their newsletter, their blogs or podcasts, things like that. So I’m kind of leading the charge on the content that they’re creating at the forefront of their.

Great. So you have helped a lot of company developing themselves with cold calling, starting at bootstrap and early stage company and even bigger companie there. Could you tell us how coldcalling is helpful for those types of companies?

Yeah, so early in my career, I started sales in 2008. So the last time when the economy was super stable and booming, right in the middle of the financial crisis and back then there wasn’t a lot of these fancy tools, right? Getting data from a premium data provider even using something like Linkedin. While it was around wasn’t super popular. And so when you were prospecting for new business my first job was a lead generation specialist, which be considered like an SDR these days, sales development rep. You know, you had to build your list from scratch. You’d go to a website, find a contact information, not a person’s name, just contact information, call in to the business and say, you know, who’s in charge of this, that type of thing. And you’re building your database from scratch.
Now it was very, like, you didn’t really do that. You didn’t cold email stuff. It was not seen as a good practice, right? You look at CRMs back in 2008 and phone numbers were the most prevalent data source on a contact record. Email was not really there very often, especially if they weren’t opted in. And so you would call. You’d have a conversation. You can get them opt in and then you can follow up etc.
You know, fast forward throughout the years now, it’s kind of the opposite. You get into a lot of CRMs and emails there, but you don’t see a lot of phone numbers, which is really interesting. But back in 2008 the only way to really get business for new business development was to pick up the phone and have those conversations build your database unless you were going old school, cold calling door to door or attending trade shows and events and things like that.
Which, you know, they’ve gotten more affordable, but could be very expensive.
You know, boosts are tens of thousands of dollars just to make in the first place. And then you have to get the space and, you know, it could be six figures just to go to a 10 when these events. So it wasn’t really a way to get a new business off the ground for a bootstrapped organization, we were spending money doing those types of things.
So if you’re gonna get business back then you picked up the phone. And so that’s how I learned. And I think like everything in life, you know, you start to get good at something you tend to hone those skills, you know, if you don’t, you avoid things that give you a little bit of friction and you do more of the things you’re fairly good at.
And so luckily I was able to work with a couple of really good initial leaders. So the very first company I worked for was actually backed by AIG. This wasn’t a bootstrap but it was really exciting, but it was a home finance product in 2000. So I was only there for about six weeks before the government had pulled all their financing when the bank crisis happened, we happened to be one of those investments that AIG was putting money into. So our whole company was laid off, like over overnights, like six weeks into the role.
But my first manager, there was a like ex boiler room type of guy. Like he did finance, he was super cold caller, but he had process and technology that enabled us to be really successful.

And so sitting in that environment only for a short period of time helped me see that the phone can be very effective. And then I moved over to a bootstrapped pay-per-click company right after that job.
And my boss, there was also a really good coach and cold calling enthusiast if you will, like, he knew how to develop a process and, and run calls. He wasn’t as good at the technical side. So where I was able to help out there was taking what I learned from my very first company, only for a short period of time and the friendship I gained with my first manager, his name was Matt McGraw. We played poker on the, you know, the weekends and things like that.
He helped me kind of figure out how the Salesforce thing worked, how this calling thing worked. And I was able to get some traction within that bootstrapped environment.
And over time, new technology started to emerge and data became easier. And you know, over time I developed my own process that helped me really crack the code on the cold calling.
And so I’ve been doing it for about 15 years now.
I’ve made my way up through the ranks from this lead generation specialist, eventually to a sales rep, they were sales directors back then, and then now and then a director of sales running the sales team at Eastern division was the paper hook company.
And then I had a few stints at some funded startups, but most of those were more of the turnaround type, not necessarily the hypergrowth type.
And then I had a stent at earlier stage company was still more of a turnaround, but we were doing some work in paid social advertising. The company’s called blue Shaka.
We’re doing a lot of work with Facebook ads, another interesting event where I started, they had a great product about a month then the Facebook privacy terms changed, used to be able to do like one-to-one marketing on Facebook. And then they moved it to this concept called audience. And that cutoff almost all of our revenue overnight while I came in to lead sales and the founder was supposed to be raising the series a, so we had to pivot and we got into an accelerator.
I helped us get in. Got some pretty big deals with Walmart and Mars. And then we got acquired by sprinkler which is a unicorn. And so that was my very first experience of being a part of a hypergrowth fast growing one of the fastest growing SAS companies of all times for a period of time. And I realized that even those organizations struggle with the same principles that I had developed over my first half of my career.
And there was this rising need for talent in sales development.
And so I actually read a report on LinkedIn, it was 2015, that said sales development was the third fastest growing job on LinkedIn yet there’s no real professional development. And there was these rise of these boot camps in coding, software development and data science.
Those were the first two fastest growing, but there really wasn’t much going on in sales development yet. So I decided to start a SDR school it’s called inside sales bootcamp.


And built out a program to help train people coming out of school or making a transition to try to break into tech companies using sales development as the intro road instead of you know, data science or software engineering. Built and sold that curriculum to one of the funded versions. There’s a bunch of those now. And then I wrote a book called outbound sales, no fluff, that kind of brought that curriculum to physical, easy to read, consume resource, and then I’ve been focused on just helping companies install those fundamentals through my consulting practice and a couple of companies that I’ve worked on since then.
So that’s kind of the background of where I come from.
All along the way, even with the rise of all this technology, all the automation, all the data while folks have been trying to figure out how to crack the code with cold email and even ads, et cetera, and B2B I’ve found that every time I touch the other channels, the phone consistently becomes the most cost-effective way to generate new business opportunities.
Whether you’re funded or bootstrapped there’s no faster way to information, a faster way to pipeline than to have a conversation with the people that you’re spending this other time having a conversations with. So I’ve just kind of hone that skill and focused pretty extensively on how to make the phone work for growing companies.

And how do you do that? I understand that technology is really important to have the right data to call at the right time, but it’s also some human skills and emotional skills that are important.

Yeah. So actually, the way to execute on this actually doesn’t require the technology and automations at first, right? It’s a pretty simple formula you’re trying to solve for. The first thing is you got to make a list. So of course, having data of like the contact information and how to find those people is helpful, but it’s not required. Right. You can go online, do web research and find companies. You can use free resources like LinkedIn to get the list of the people that you’re looking for. But step one is to make a list.
Of course, premium data will help. Step two is know what to say. So build a script to know exactly what to do. Step three, call the list. Okay. You actually call them and then step four is you follow up. Okay. So it’s really that simple four easy steps and where the nuance comes in is that a lot of people don’t have a lot of structure to how to manage the pipeline that’s happening there. So those follow-ups calling the list, knowing what to say, making the list as an example. There’s no real stage definitions and exit criteria that you see in the sales process.
Once I have a meeting with somebody, right? If I have a meeting with you typically in CRM, I’ll have a stage definition and an exit criteria if I’m running a sound sales process, right. Stage zero meeting stage one meeting held intro complete, so on and so forth all the way you pitch discovery, proposal, close, right? That type of thing. And there’s lots of training out there that provides resources. It’s a multi-billion dollar world. You’ve got Sandler, you got Miller Heiman, you get forced management, you name it, a medic, epic, all that stuff.
Nothing really exists on how to do the same type of structure from prospecting. And so that’s actually my methodology that I wrote about in my book. I call it buckets. And again, it doesn’t require technology and automation to run this thing. It’s just having a solid process. Once you run that process and you understand those stage definitions, that’s an extra criteria, which if you want to link it, it’s free and available online.
If you want to find the information here, we’re going to dig into details in this podcast, but it’s available and lots of others have talked about this for a long time.
The secret sauce is in the first to second stage. So once you’ve made your list and as you’re building your message for that list, before you call the list, you want to be able to understand who on that list is likely to pick up the phone and who’s not. Okay. And so the only way you can figure that out, the best signal that somebody who’s likely to pick up the phone is that they pick up the phone.
So how do you do that? Well, you specialize your workforce and you actually have a lower cost team that calls the higher velocity calling, you know, the average connect rate for a cold list if I bought data from let’s say Cognism or ZoomInfo or a lead IQ or any of these other data vendors, right. Generally that cold connect rate if I just make that list and call it myself is going to be in this two to 5% range. I mean, I have to make a hundred dials to talk to two to five people, but if I figure out who picks up and who doesn’t pick up, and I just call the ones who pick up that connect rate’s going to be something like 15 to 30.

But how do you figure that?

You call them. So you specialize your workforce and you put a team of either super entry level people on, or you can use phone ready leads. That’s what we do. A super entry level people and you have them make a hundred calls to find the two to five people. And instead of those people trying to pitch and close meetings on that very first call, you can do something like awareness and gathering more from information.
Are they still the right person, run a survey. Do they care about these things? Invite them to events or podcasts, things like that. Doesn’t really matter what they say. You know, that they pick up the phone. Once you know that you just follow up on the ones that pick up the phone with a more senior person.
That more senior person can actually manage that first conversation effectively and either set an appointment or this qualifies out. And the difference in that specialization in the workforce is about anywhere from four to 10 X, more efficient on our time. Right? If I can go from a two to 5% connect rate, me and I have a conversation… I have two to five conversations for every a hundred dials. An average rep only makes $50 a day. That means you’re having maybe two conversations a day. If you do what I’m talking about doing at 15 to 30%, that’s a conversation every like three to seven dials, two to six styles, somewhere in that range or said differently for every 50 dials, you’re having eight to 15 conversations, right?
That’s four, that’s eight, you know, it’s gonna be 15, 20 X more efficiency to the number one unit that matters most to start the sales process, which is a live conversation with the intended target. And so by doing this specialization and running this process, you’re going to get minimum four or five X, a lift in sales productivity across your workforce.

But you have bots today that make the call instead of you and give you only…

Yeah. So I’ve developed that as a service, right? So I call it the Disneyland fast pass. You know, if you go to Disneyland right now, you can wait in that long line and get to the ride.
If you do it, if you want to pay the normal cost of entry, that’s what every other company is doing right now. You go to Disneyland, you buy an SDR, you have that SDR slug through a hundred calls to talk to five people.

Yeah. You can automate the calling, no?

That’s illegal. In the US robocalling is becoming, there’s a lot of mandates out there right now to eliminate this stuff. So if you’re calling with a computer, if you’re using parallel dialing, it actually depends on how you look at the law. It’s illegal. You need to have a human behind every dial. And when you’re using computers to try to figure out this information, it’s spammy plus somewhat illegal. It’s also very difficult.
So a lot of folks right now are suffering that two to 5% connect rates drop into like one to 2% because their numbers are showing up as spam likely scam. This specifically is in the U S right now. I’m not sure how it’s looking globally, but there’s a mandate called stir shaken. Very similar to what GDPR did in Europe, stir shaken is a mandate based on the FCC where the carriers are trying to combat robocalls. These robocalls, every carrier has its own algorithm.
How fast are you dialing into from one caller ID to another? What’s the connect rate. What’s the talk time or people flag in US spam, things like that.
So a lot of people these days get these calls where you pick up and it’s just dead air that’s people doing something similar. Sometimes it’s also people using parallel dialers where they’re connecting somewhere else and it’s just dying. People get super annoyed by that. Right? And so that practice is really bad.
What we do is we put humans on the list, make the call. Figure out who picks up or not, we’ve run a script.
I’m actually partnering now with some charities. So we see if we can build some awareness for some charities. So it’s not behalf of your brand. And then a percentage of our proceeds goes back to the charities as well. But once we know you pick up, then we shift that data over to the actual sales organization to call on the people that pick up. And what will happen now is again, instead of having one or two conversations for every 50 dials, you’re going to have eight to 12. And what that does now is your professional salespeople can be more senior, right?
You can get more qualified salespeople on that first point of contact. They’ll know exactly what to say. They’re more prepared. They’re having more conversations faster, they resilience objections. You learn a lot faster. You can hone your message a lot faster and you can do all of that if you do it in the right way at less than the cost of what people are paying right now for inbound SQLs via paid advertising.

And they still transmit the lead after to an account executive, or they can sometimes do full sales directly?

Yeah, it depends on how your sales organization is set up. Our customers at phone ready leads tend to either send those to SDRs who then call and make appointments, or sometimes a lot of them are shifting over to now back to the full stack sales rep. You don’t really need an STR when your sales agent can have eight to 12 conversations in one hour.
My north star has always been going all the way back to the beginning as if I’m not in a sales meeting. I want to be able to efficiently get into my next best sales conversation. And I still personally believe that a full-stack rep is much more powerful than a hybrid STR type of process from a buyer’s perspective. Right? If the first point of contact is a professional who is already helping me think differently about something challenging my perception. Getting me curious. Right. I’m more likely to take more time with that person than if it’s someone who’s interrogating me and can’t answer my questions back and then asked me to get in front of a professional after the fact. Not to say that doesn’t work, there’s ways that that can work, but in my world, and that’s why I developed a process that I have, that’s the best case scenario.

And so you actually don’t need to use my service, but service is a Disneyland FastPass to run my process. So we just have a specialized workforce that can do all that for you. Or you can hire a team that does this and make sure that their outcome isn’t a meeting first, their outcome is confirm it’s them, confirm that they’re the right type of people we want.
And then get that as fast as possible to the more senior seller to have that real first sales conversation.

Yeah, that’s very interesting the way cut your process in a different ways than the usual way with this first step about understanding who is answering the phone. Thanks a lot. Do you want to add something before we finish this episode?

Well, yeah, I mean, I think the other thing is because we’re talking about digital selling and remote selling and virtual environments, right?
One of the things that a lot of organizations struggle with, especially now, is trying to figure out how to sell virtually. And if you have a phone first conversation, generally speaking, those individuals are kind of attuned to this process of going through, Hey, let’s have a sales conversation after this cold call, we can get to a zoom meeting or a sales deck meeting, as you say. You know. Versus if you’re using other means, right? Like you’re at an event you’re maybe even cold emailing people you may want to, they’re more likely to maybe meet up for a coffee or a face-to-face meeting. If you get the portion of your addressable market on the phone in the first place, which is about 20 to 40% of any list, by the way, it’s a pretty significant portion of that list. If you focus that portion of your business, there you’ll find that those folks and a lot of industries, not all of them, but in a lot of industries you’re going to have a better easier way of getting them through the digital sales environment versus using other mechanisms and then trying to drive them back to virtual.
And I think that’s one of the things that getting back to your original question about like the bootstrapping and things like that. If you’re early stage startup and you’re trying to get to market, despite what a lot of other folks might tell you the phone can be very efficient.
Not only to get the conversation started, but to also work through the process in a virtual environment versus, you know, something like email and something like events of course if it’s virtual events and things like that, that’s a little bit different. Those would also probably be a decent channel these days, but I wouldn’t shy away from it.
And again, if you’re interested in, I figured out some of this stuff you can look up outbound sales, no fluff. There’s actually the same book you would have to buy on Amazon as an audible. It’s like 13 bucks or something because Amazon makes the pricing. You can find a podcast, I’ve created the same book in a podcast, and you could read about this process and put it into action on your own and see how it works. It just works. It’s a very straightforward way for you to cost-effectively get your product or service to market. So I just end with that in a digital environment, phone conversations are super powerful and if you unleash the beast you know, you’ll see the fruits of your labors come together faster than you probably have ever expected
Try it out. See how it works.

Thanks a lot Ryan. It’s tempting. This episode of the virtual selling podcast is over. Thanks for sticking around. Join us twice a week for a new episode, with new stories and challenge of giants in the field. If you enjoy today’s episode, we are always listening for your feedback, share the show and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform so you don’t miss any episode. This episode was brought to you by, the selling platforms that increase your sales team CVR sales readiness, enabled remote management and vemp sales operational excellence. Book your demo today to discover how you can close more deals with engaging and better prep customer meetings.
Thanks a lot, Ryan. It was really a pleasure.


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