Prioritizing Leads: Outbound Prospecting Tips from John Barrows

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Your new outbound prospecting team may be bringing in leads, but do they know how to prioritize them?


For John Barrows, Co-owner and Managing Partner of sales consultancy Kensei Partners, successfully prioritizing leads all comes down to understanding and applying effective qualification criteria. For starters, reps should divide prospects into A, B, or C groups — great, average, or crap. Over time, you’ll realize each bucket has certain characteristics — industry, number of employees, location, etc. — that indicate whether or not a prospect is in your company’s typical sweet spot.

Another way of thinking about that information, Barrows explains, is by dividing it into two groups: Tier 1 information (data you can get from sources such as Hoover’s, etc.) and Tier 2 information (data you likely have to make a phone call to get). For example, a software company that typically does well selling to companies with roughly 100 computers can find out how many employees the company has through online research (Tier 1), but it may take a phone call to determine how many computers it actually has in use (Tier 2).

Barrows has a important piece of advice for any outbound sales rep: “Never waste a cold call. Obviously, the goal of a cold call is to get a meeting,” he says, “But a secondary goal of a cold call is to get one additional piece of qualifying information to help you put them in an A, B, or C bucket.”

Once you establish what information you need in order for your reps to prioritize leads into groups your team will be able to segment out your database and develop very specific value propositions and messaging for each group.


John-BarrowsJohn Barrows is the co-owner and Managing Partner of Kensei Partners. John has provided consulting services and trained Kensei’s techniques to major corporations like,, Linkedin, SAP, and many others around the world. Prior to starting Kensei John was the Director of Sales and Training at Basho Strategies. He has held every sales position including inside, field, channel and executive management in both large and small businesses.

  • Kyle S.

    This is a good tip, one many of us are doing innately but what we are not doing is correctly using our CRM system. I imagine there will be some tips in the lessons to come as I am only on session one, but an easy way to put the A,B,Cs into your CRM system and prioritize your day would take this to the next level.