PRACTICE! The second fundamental success factor is Practice, Practice, Practice.
What Great Lead Management and Great PR Have in Common by Christel K. Hall, APR CBC

An Interview with one of the "50 Most Influential Sales Lead Management Professionals": Ruth Stevens, eMarketing Strategy

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Number of Years in Sales Lead Management: 15

Who are your mentors and why?

I learned much from Jim Obermayer, who explained to me the crucial "Rule of 45," that says 45% of inquirers will eventually buy in the category--and thus supports the business case for lead nurturing.

What is the most helpful advice you've received to improve your business?

Do what you enjoy and are good at, and outsource the other things.

What is the most helpful advice you can give to help others improve their businesses?

The company with the best process wins.

How do you give back to the professional community?

I teach business marketing at Columbia University Graduate School of Business. It's amazing how much MBA's can benefit from some basic lessons on what works, and what doesn't.

What is your favorite business book?

New Rules of Marketing & PR

Which 4 basic skills or process steps do you recommend?

  1. Select the right target audiences, and give prospects a good reason to respond to you, in the first place.
  2. Qualify the inquiries based on criteria developed in cooperation with your sales people.
  3. Nurture unqualified leads using the new marketing automation tools that are increasingly available today.
  4. Motivate sales people, using a combination of carrot and stick, to report on lead status. Track, analyze and continually fine-tune your processes.
What would you say to someone who asks what to do first in managing sales leads?

Sit down with the sales team, to understand their goals and their idea of the perfect prospect.

If someone wants to nurture sales inquiries what process would you recommend?

These days, email is ideal for staying in touch with inquirers who are not yet ready to buy. But make sure the communications are valuable, containing new ideas or information the prospect can really use. Avoid chest-pounding. And mix up the messages by adding in press releases, event invitations and involvement devices, like a survey.

What steps would you suggest to measure the ROI for sales inquiries?

Use a combination of metrics for assessing the "front end" (like cost per lead) as well as the "back end" (cost per closed sale, or expense-to-revenue ratio).
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