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Phone Ready Leads™ - the future of B2B sales?

July 22, 2021

Hitting your daily dials is still a thing.

Making your quota is still a thing.

But, should these numbers be what your team focuses on?


Perhaps not.

Your reps either need to solve a problem or go away.

And, spoiler alert, they’re not going to be solving problems for people who aren’t ready to buy your product.

We spoke to Ryan Reisert about Phone Ready Leads™ and why they’re the future of B2B sales.

Scroll through for Ryan’s fascinating insights on how to get your reps working more efficiently 👇

What are Phone Ready Leads™ | The validation process | Why Phone Ready Leads™ are the future of B2B sales | Cognism’s sales intelligence

What are Phone Ready Leads™? ☎️

Phone Ready Leads™ (PRLs) are, as the name suggests, leads that you call that are likely to:

  1. Pick up and
  2. Stay on the line for a chat.

However, PRLs just refer to the cold calling part of the sales process - the idea can be extended to outbound email and other sales tactics.

Ryan’s book, Outbound Sales. No Fluff, forms the basis of the idea of PRLs. In it, he demonstrates how to segment your leads in order to know when they’re phone ready.

How do you do this exactly?

You get your buckets out 🧹


“You’ve got to put your leads into buckets. It’s a very simple methodology allowing for stage definitions and exit criteria at the very top of the funnel.” - Ryan Reisert

You’re going to need four buckets 👇

1 - Uncontacted

These are contacts you find from websites, usually through a form of intent data.

2 - Working it

This is where you start working the lead. You call the number you found on the website in the uncontacted stage. Perhaps you don’t have the name of the person you need to speak to yet, but you’re working the lead.

3 - Talk to the person you need to

You haven’t gotten this person to a meeting yet but you can talk to them.

4 - You’ve scheduled with them

This is where you’ve booked a meeting with the prospect.

Seems simple enough, right?

Well, the trick is, even though the buckets are very simple, you’ve got to build them and begin to work them backwards.

“Nowadays, everyone is working their leads in the same way and trying to do it all at once. Rather, focus on building your buckets and working them backwards if you want to segment your lists down to Phone Ready Leads™.” - Ryan Reisert

Here are Ryan’s tips on how to ensure you’re dealing with top of the funnel leads, ready to listen to you:

  • Think about who said they would attend a meeting and confirm this with them.
  • Who have you talked to in the past? Talk to them again regardless of what they said.
  • Whose name and number do you have? Call them, even if it reaches their voicemail.
  • Finally, do your research.

This will get your SDRs from struggling to meet quotas, to absolutely dominating them.

The validation process ✅

A crucial part of ensuring your leads are phone ready is to put a validation process in place.

There are so many sources of data.

People are constantly changing jobs.

So, it’s up to you to validate your data to ensure it’s up-to-date.

How do you do this?

Between buckets 1 and 2, you’ve got to vet the numbers you have from uncontacted and see whether you can work them.

There are three outcomes to the validation process.

  1. The number is validated, even if on a voicemail, as the lead has confirmed their name.
  2. The number is not validated just because it works. If you cannot confirm it’s the lead, the number is invalidated.
  3. The number needs attention - the number is not worth calling again and your reps should see this as a red flag.

But, this is just the tip of the iceberg of validation.

You’ve got to take it to the next level by assessing your leads more simply.

It now becomes about who picks up and who doesn’t.


Well, because you shouldn’t be measuring those dials! 😉 But rather, on connecting with people to start the conversation.

So, how do you get to the people you need to talk to?

You use your buckets and you use Phone Ready Leads™ to automate the whole process for you.

“Only 20-40% of your list are going to be Phone Ready Leads™… you can’t call 100% of your leads without replenishment. Using the validation process is the difference between 100 dials to start a conversation and 4 dials to start a conversation.” - Ryan Reisert

Using this method, you’ll get your best rep in front of your prospect most ready to talk, without wasting time.

Why Phone Ready Leads™ are the future of B2B sales 🤙

You’ve got to take a step back and stop the spamming.

Ryan elaborates:

“If you slow down, stop the spamming and take the time to select the right accounts and the right people in those accounts that you want to talk to, through the validation process, you’ll build your perfect database.”

You’ve also got to take a step back and assess your relevance.

If you’ve got a high relevance score, your B2B outreach will be well received.

But, if your B2B relevance score is low and you’re reaching out via email, no one is going to get back to you.

Here’s where Phone Ready Leads™ come in as the future of B2B sales.


Because they offer a huge differentiator.

The human voice.

“You can’t automate the human voice in B2B sales. The future of high-ticket sales is being damn good at using your voice not just to win business, but to begin the customer journey. You need to be that value differentiator from the very first touchpoint.” - Ryan Reisert

Sending outbound emails and using your social channels are great in B2B sales, but if you want to increase your relevance and cut through the competition, you’ve got to pick up the phone.

Because at the end of the day, it’s all about the conversation.

Ryan explains:

“Let marketing do their thing with really good email and really good content AND hire really quality salespeople to get in front of the percentage of ‘phone picker-uppers’ as quickly as possible from your Total Addressable Market.”

Essentially, it comes down to hiring high-quality experts to have those conversations, using the human voice, while being relevant and timely with their approach. Those conversations also need to provide value.

So, how do you handle conversations with Phone Ready Leads™??

  • Be there to provide value.
  • Gather information.
  • Build awareness.
  • Get engagement that then creates a follow-up.

Bonus tip:

It’s important to remember, that even if your phone ready lead is too busy to talk when you call them, you know they pick up the phone. So, try to reach them again when it’s relevant and timely.

The next time you talk to this lead, you’re going to differentiate yourself with a very high-quality touch and increase your chances of accelerating revenue to close.

More on sales intelligence 🚀

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