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Don't Scrub Your Leads Before You Start!

The traditional model of qualifying leads based on a prospect’s title or role in the buying process is losing ground. In a 2006 study, “Web Lead Evaluation and Scoring,” KnowledgeStorm set out to “debunk” standard lead scoring practices in the B2B market. By analyzing over 15,000 technology vendor leads, KnowledgeStorm found that vendors who “select-out” leads based on title or role in the buying process often eliminate qualified prospects.

[I have to admit that I first thought this study was simply a self-serving attempt by KnowledgeStorm to cover up what was otherwise a bad IT database - or at least an attempt to suggest that there was value on the fringe of the buying process.]

According to the study, leads with professional or functional titles are better prospects than those with C-level or executive titles. Prospects with professional titles (HR, Operations, Finance/Accounting and IS/Tech) are often tasked with researching solutions to company-wide problems and briefing other team members on their findings. These prospects have a better chance of becoming qualified leads than their C-level counterparts.

Highly qualified leads are also rejected based on the prospect’s role in the buying process. Instead of targeting leads that authorize purchase or select vendors, try targeting leads who are recommenders. In the study, KnowledgeStorm found that prospects who recommend technologies and solutions produce the highest number of leads that are the furthest along in the buying process.

If you want the most qualified leads, think outside of C-level executives. While a lead in the finance department or a lead who recommends solutions may not have final purchasing authority, what they do have are their C-level executives’ ears.


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