Recently, the Whistle team was very fortunate to have a workshop hosted by co-author of the bestseller, Outbound Sales, No Fluff, Ryan Reisert. He introduced us to his famous Buckets method and how the SDR workflow and cold calling can be powered up by using the Bucket Leads strategy.
Basically, buckets allow you to optimize your leads generation and figure out who to call, when to call them, and why. It defines the process that helps you get to your next best sales conversation as quickly as possible, minimizing time wasted and driving revenue.
Cold Calling Bucket 1: The Uncontacted
The first bucket, at the very top of the funnel, is the list itself. These are the uncontacted prospects from companies we identify as our ICP (Ideal Customer Profile). Ryan refers to this category as a “swimlane”.
Whether your focus is inbound or outbound, this bucket should only consist of people who fall within your ICP. And these are the only people you should be spending time on. Is this a company you can help? Look at their website and digital presence. If they don’t look suited, scrap them from the list. This is the stage where you research and qualify leads.
Cold Calling Bucket 2: Working
In this bucket, where you start working a lead, the main question should be: can I reach this lead?
As an SDR (Sales Development Rep), the three main channels of communication at your disposal are phone, email, and social media. However, in order for you to work the lead, you have to make sure the data you have is workable (validation stage). When you call their number, do you get to their voicemail? Does their email address work, or has your email bounced? Are they active on social media?
Cold Calling Bucket 3: Priority
In this bucket, you’ve reached the lead. Many sales people make the mistake of not calling a lead again after a “not interested” reply. Ryan warns that this is a really bad idea. These are “phone-ready leads” and should not be summarily discarded. You may just have caught them at a super busy moment. The same applies if a lead responds to your email or social media message. They may not be interested at the time, but you know that they reply. It gives you the opportunity to engage them again at a later stage by drafting a better, more personalized message. This is the most important bucket where you should be seeing more conversation and a higher conversion rate. It’s also where most sales people often lose out because they’re not focusing on these leads.
Cold Calling Bucket 4: Meeting Schedule
As the name suggests, leads in this bucket have agreed to a meeting. They’re the ones closest to converting into paid customers, so it’s very important that you ensure the lead shows up to the meeting. Send a follow-up email to confirm the details of the scheduled meeting and always send a reminder a good few hours before the meeting is set to be held. If the prospect cancels or fails to show up, move them back to the Priority Bucket (Bucket 3) and re-engage them until another meeting is scheduled.
Which buckets should be prioritized when cold calling? Because the bucket method is focused on what stage is most likely to bring you to a sale first, the best practice is to work from the bottom up – starting at Bucket 4 and working your way to Bucket 1.
So, start by confirming the meetings, schedule or reschedule, and ensure you do what needs to be done to increase show rates. When done, you move to your next best shot of converting into a meeting. Sales start with a conversation, so head to the Priority Bucket where leads are engaging. Because you are following up with these leads, you should not only see a 5X increase in connection rate, but also a 2 – 3X increase in the initial conversions rate. From here you work back to the Working and Uncontacted buckets.
As you can see from this article, the bucket system removes the guesswork from cold calling and makes the lead generation process simple and efficient. Download the Bucket System guide so you always have it handy.