Harris introduces Lead Reply. With this offering, our virtual sales assistants handle incoming...
Introducing Lead Rater (Episode 13)
Lead Rater is now in beta and it’s being used by paying customers today. Learn why it exists, how we built it, and what it does.
⚠️ Please note: This is an old episode of the Pipeline Meeting podcast. In August 2022, the show relaunched in a new format. For the most recent episodes, please visit the podcast page.
Harris introduces you to Lead Rater, the new app from Intro CRM that is currently in beta with paying customers.
Lead Rater is part of our outbound offering and puts founders and early-stage sales leaders in charge of the demand generation process. We believe that high-quality, filtered lead lists are the best way to test outbound sales is a channel. This is for low-volume, omni channel testing.
In this episode, Harris shares how talking to founders led to our minimal viable version of this service—delivered with spreadsheets. How we leveled up that process. And ultimately built Lead Rater with no-code on using Glide, in collaboration with our friends at Low Code Agency.
If you are bootstrapping (or self-funding) a business and want to go from services to productized services, then this episode is worth a listen.
Pipeline Meeting is a sales podcast for founders and sales leaders. If you are looking for actionable steps to close high ticket deals, you’re in the right place. Tune in for help with things like cold outreach and qualifying inbound leads. We regularly feature guests and experts to take our business to the next level. Pipeline Meeting is hosted by Harris Kenny, the founder of Intro, a company that provides sales as a service.
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Welcome to Pipeline Meeting the official podcast of Intro CRM: Your virtual sales assistant. We make simple sales software and give you coaching and concierge services to help you grow your business. Learn more at introcrm.com.
[00:00:20] Harris Kenny: Lead Rater is now in beta and it’s being used by paying customers today. It’s part of three major offerings that we provide. This includes demand generation, which is powered by Lead Rater, inbound qualification and scheduling, and sales operations. But today is about Lead Rater, so let’s focus on that.
Who Lead Rater is For
[00:00:44] It’s an app that puts founders and sales leaders in charge of the demand gen process. We believe that high quality, filtered lead lists are the best way to test outbound sales is a channel. And there’s a lot of people who offer outbound demand, gen services. I think what we’re doing is complementary to what a lot of players are doing in the market.
[00:01:04] And a lot of those folks are focused on high volume. Once you’ve got it figured out, you’ve got your ideal customer profile or ICP dialed in, you know, you can go to them and you can use their tools to do.
[00:01:19] High volume, high pace outreach. But if you’ve never done outbound sales before, and you just want to try it for the first time. That’s what we’re focusing on. We put our time and effort into getting the right leads and the most accurate information so that you can really test whether or not this is a way that you can acquire customers for your business.
[00:01:40] And we make it easy because we take your highest point of leverage, which is your understanding of your customers. And the least amount of time.
[00:01:50] With Lead Rater, all we ask for is your help defining that initial profile. We do the work sifting through the data sources, applying filters. Then we present them to you through the app. You review them and you let us know which ones are good and bad. Just a simple five star rating and some comments, then we get back to work incorporating your changes, your feedback.
[00:02:12] And we take it from there.
[00:02:15] Now. We wanted to make it easy. But we ourselves had to do some work to get this built. And I’m a non-technical founder. We’re a bootstrap company. I was able to build this with no code. If you stick around, I’m going to explain later in this episode, how we did it and who we partnered with to make it happen, because I did not do it all on my own.
Why We Built Lead Rater
[00:02:36] Now first, if you’ve been following us for a while, you may remember that the first app we built was actually a CRM. And that’s where our name came from Intro CRM. This (Lead Rater) is technically our second app that we built.
[00:02:51] After seeing founders fail to keep up with their sales tools. I thought there must have been a better way. So I built a no-frills deal tracker that integrated with popular project management tools like Trello and Asana.
[00:03:03] We built it using Bubble. And we got some great help along the way. But, you know, unfortunately we had a hundred tests, users, and people didn’t use our CRM either. We didn’t solve the problem.
[00:03:18] So I started asking customers. What if we just used your CRM for you?
[00:03:24] And that. Was an easy question to answer, apparently, because people just said, yes,
[00:03:31] In February of this year is when he pivoted to this productized service model. And one of the first things that we offered was outbound services. And that is what led to the creation of Lead Rater. After about six months of delivering that service using spreadsheets.
[00:03:47] We built the list for customers and we tested a variety of data sources. I mean, that was one of the first things that came up, which is where do we get this contact information? Because there’s tons of tools available. And we had to test it out and see. Not just what would work for one customer, but what would work across our customer base?
[00:04:04] Because different customers have different needs.
[00:04:08] As a result, we ended up choosing really the most robust, most versatile set of tools that we could find because we had to serve customers across a number of different industries and product categories.
[00:04:18] You may find that one specific tool has what you need and you don’t need anything more than that. Maybe a higher price tool is extra. For what you actually need. But for us, because we don’t know, and we’re helping people experiment. We really needed the best.
[00:04:33] And when you’re trying to manage in for the first time, it’s not about having the most contacts or even the most current information. Although both of those things obviously are important. It’s critically valuable to have different ways to slice and dice that data. You know, because if you have a single database but many different filters, many different ways of getting at that data, different data types, you’re gonna be able to make better use of it.
[00:04:57] One example of this is technographic data. Which we’ve talked about on the Intro CRM blog before. But this is to say, what are the tools? The software, the hardware, the technologies that companies use to run their own business.
[00:05:13] Imagine that you make an app that integrates with Slack. It’s going to be really important to know if a prospect uses Slack or not. Or you make a plugin for WordPress, obviously you need to know if that company runs their website on WordPress or not.
[00:05:30] Now, these are two different examples because WordPress, that can be available through the site code. And so there are going to be some tools that comb website source code, and are able to tell you that. Slack on the other hand does not. Have source code available on the site. And so it’s going to require some different methods to figure out whether or not customers are using it.
[00:05:51] These are the types of nuances that led us to. Selecting the data sources that we selected, because it would help us address these different corner cases.
[00:06:02] Okay, so, we built Lead Rater because we were using spreadsheets and there were obviously drawbacks. We wanted to validate that people even wanted this in the first place. But the cells were difficult to navigate and there was no easy way to access it from a mobile device. Overall. It was just very text-heavy.
[00:06:22] And we came up with some clever things of ways to pull a favicon. And, you know, use star ratings and things like that. But it was a means to an end. And it became time to build a proper, at least version one, web application.
How Lead Rater Works
[00:06:39] Lead Rater is a web app. It’s a no- code tool though. And it’s built using Glide. We partnered with the Low Code Agency who came really highly recommended. And we specifically worked with, Jesus over there, Ceci, and Thinh. But really their whole team, we’ve had a great experience working with them.
[00:06:59] I will be the first to admit I am not the easiest person to work with sometimes. Not because I’m rude. I really try to be polite, but I can be very, uh, thorough and pedantic. And. Get caught up in the details sometimes. So I think they were very patient in working with us. I did my best to be a good client, but I know that at times I was probably driving them crazy.
[00:07:23] And they just did a great job. I mean, they know their stuff, they provided some great suggestions and feedback. They did a lot more than just build what we asked for. They, they really helped us make a better product.
[00:07:34] And the cool thing is that we can still have sheets as our backend. We can still use importing of spreadsheets. So the process that we crafted for our list building, we can maintain that. Well, our customers get a better experience, actually reviewing the leads. I’m really, really happy about that because. I think we have a pretty efficient process on our side of how we actually do it.
[00:07:57] Plus customers have new ways of giving a feedback. So before they had to do it within specific cells and. Now, they can give general feedback through the app there’s mobile and desktop support because it’s a Chrome app. In particular, you can get a launcher on your dock, on your desktop, or even on your mobile mobile device, which is great. It’s really good support for, uh, tablets as well.
[00:08:18] And we’re getting the fastest feedback that we’ve gotten from any customer, really, since we started offering this in February. So, you know, our mission was to tighten the feedback loops so we could get better leads and better contacts faster. And I think the app has totally helped us accomplish that.
[00:08:36] And this is just one of several things that we’re doing.
Where We’re Going Next
[00:08:39] You know, the inbound lead qualification and meeting, scheduling, offering. And in the sales operations offering, you know, both of those are really like the next levels of your sales operations.
[00:08:49] So when those people reply to you and you need to then qualify and schedule that meeting. That’s one additional thing we’re offering. Or if they come in through your website cold and fill out a form. Again, that qualification scheduling offering fits in there.
[00:09:02] Or let’s say you’ve just got a steady business and you’ve got a steady number of leads in the pipeline and you just need help managing them. That’s where the operations offering comes in.
[00:09:11] What we’re trying to build is this virtual sales assistant who can be a substitute. Really for that first sales hire because the first sales hire is very often unsuccessful. It’s a really, really difficult hire to make for a lot of reasons. And so we’re trying to productize or create a tech enabled service way of scratching that itch. And helping B2B companies with a complex product. That has maybe a longer sales cycle. Helping them. Get help with sales before having to make really big personnel commitments.
What Lead Rater Does
[00:09:46] Okay, let’s get back to Lead Rater here. So how does it work specifically? I’m going to record some demo videos walking through this. So stay tuned. We’re going to be uploading them to our YouTube channel. The link to the YouTube channel is in the show notes. So you can subscribe there. But in the meantime, let me just walk you through it.
[00:10:06] As I said earlier, Our customer describes their ideal customer profile.
[00:10:12] We go through and tap a number of different data sources to figure out the best ones to find those types of folks. We built the lists. We import them into Lead Rater and then customers review the leads and the contacts and they give us feedback.
[00:10:25] We read that few feedback. We review that feedback, every week, and make the batches better.
[00:10:36] When you’re done reviewing your leads. We import any leads that are three stars and up into Close, or we can provide the leads as a spreadsheet for you to handle in your own CRM or maybe outreach platform of choice. I’ll just say that Close is our preferred, and our recommended CRM. If you use Close, we’re helping customers with creating custom fields, templates, email, sequences, and more.
[00:11:00] But that’s a conversation for another day. You do not have to use Close. Of course. Customers use a lot of different tools and that’s fine too.
See a Demo
[00:11:09] So, if you’re interested in seeing how this works in particular, stay tuned. Like I said, we’re going to upload some demo videos to the YouTube channel. You can find that link in the show notes. And if you subscribe now, you’ll get notified as soon as the demos are available.
[00:11:23] You can also follow us on Twitter where we’ll be posting screenshots. Follow @introcrm or follow me @harriskenny.
That’s all for now. You can find show notes at introcrm.com/podcast. The theme music for Pipeline Meeting is by Neighbourhood Vandal and it’s shared under a Creative Commons-Attribution, or CC-BY, license. If you learned something, consider sharing this show with a friend. Thanks.