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Defining and Ranking Sales Leads

I enjoy working with the folks over at MarketingSage; they are what you call deep thinkers and the results they get for their clients reflect it. They just posted a short (2 page) but powerful paper on Defining and Ranking Sales Leads. Here’s an excerpt:

Marketingsage’s straightforward definition of a sales lead enables the meaningful ranking of opportunities as they enter the organization. In turn, the ranking allows both the sales and marketing teams to simultaneously apply different policies for sales lead management.

The chart below gives you a basic idea of how they approach it. Note that the highest ranking request after an Order is a Price request. Since B2B companies generally do not facilitate ordering directly from a website, Price requests are considered the highest ranking.

The Price request category does not necessarily mean you must use a B2B lead conversion tool like EchoQuote, it can be a generic form as long as it attracts and converts potential customers.


Some interesting points in this paper include the idea that opportunities, especially for complex products and services, may span months, or even years. Lead ranking must allow for gaps in long sales cycles and aggregate all touch events as a single opportunity.

You can download the PDF here: Defining and Ranking Sales Leads


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How to handle “DO NOT CALL ME!”

Have you ever had a person fill out a contact form on your B2B site and put in the comments “DO NOT CALL ME!”? We periodically review EchoQuote requests for our newer clients and we sometimes get these. But why so angry?

I think web users are finally sick and tired of sneaky ways being used to get their information so a sales person can “help” them. Guess what? They don’t need help or at least not the kind you’re offering.

If you really want to help a prospective customer and you promise them something on your website, make sure you deliver on that promise before engaging them and even then you should probably use an email, not a call.

Clients that use EchoQuote to help their website visitors learn very quickly that when you get a request for budgetary pricing you need to approve that request before you engage them, period.

Here’s a sequence that works for our clients:

  1. A quote is requested from their website via EchoQuote
  2. The request is routed to the appropriate person/group for approval
  3. The marketing/sales person quickly analyzes whether it is a friend or foe
  4. If a foe, the request is denied and the quote is not sent
  5. If a friend, the request is approved AND the quote is sent (no calls before the quote is sent)

Ten or fifteen minutes later a courtesy email is sent with the following message:

“Hello, my name is Mr. King and I’m with XYZ Corp. We approved your quote request and this is a follow-up to make sure you received it. If you have not, please check your spam filter.

My only question is: Have you defined the requirements for your project yet, or no?

We have gathered broad requirements from many customers and put them into a bulleted list. If you would like a copy please let us know.”

It’s understandable how skeptical potential customers are these days about requesting anything on a website. Too many companies pounce on incoming leads and simply scare them off. If you promise something in return for their contact information, make sure you deliver before you engage.

By the way, feel free to call me :).

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Why Hubspot is Successful

I just attended what was probably the most enjoyable webinar I’ve attended in a long time. Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, Hubspot founders, presented a behind the scenes look at how they started and grew Hubspot. It was called Money, Marketing & Management.

The conversation was refreshingly candid and focused on five areas:

1. Idea
2. People (Team)
3. Money (Angel and VC)
4. Management
5. Marketing

I won’t spoil the content here but if you are in the process of starting or growing a new business, check it out. Once again, you can find it here: Money, Marketing & Management.

Many thanks to Dharmesh and Brian for sharing.

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