Many B2B organizations suffer the same problem: marketing says they’re delivering great leads but they disappear into the sales department black hole afterward. The leads are emailed to the sales distribution list and are gone. Multiple salespeople call the same lead, or worse, no one calls them! Note: the processes described in this article are advanced, so some of the features require using our Corporate Marketer package.

Implementing a sales lead claiming process helps further a culture of accountability for both sales and marketing in a B2B environment.

The Lead Claiming Concept

Imagine the boss comes into the sales area with a business card, “I just played a round of golf with Bob from Global Dynotech, and they really need our product. I need one of you guys to call him and set up a meeting and close this guy.” When that business card is passed to the salesperson who’s responsible, they’re doing so knowing that they were just handed a client ready to buy and must call the prospect if they like working there. They’ve entered into an agreement: ” I’ll take your fantastic lead and I’ll treat it with the attention it deserves!”

When we move this process to email and to large sales teams, we lose a lot of the accountability that we had when the boss handed out business cards. How do we re-introduce that accountability?

The Lead Claiming Process

Most B2B organizations now get leads from marketing and fewer from rounds of golf. Those leads usually come through the website via prospects filling out forms asking for a quote, demo, or appointment, or they call us.

The lead claiming process should work as follows for a B2B company with a CRM:

  • A prospect fills out a form saying they want a quote on the product
  • The lead goes through several layers of filtering to determine that the lead is sales-ready
  • The lead is emailed to a sales distribution list. This can be based on basic or complex lead distribution rules based on sales territories or product specialties
  • The first/hungriest sales rep on that list “claims” the lead. The act of claiming means that salesperson thinks the lead is good and they’re going to take it from here
  • The lead details are automatically posted to the CRM, the lead owner is set to the salesperson who claimed it.

Adding Accountability to the System

A process by itself is worthless. You need to back up the process with accountability driven from within the organization.

Defined Lead Boundary

Lead quality needs to be defined clearly for both sales and marketing to have a common ground to operate on. Ideally, leads will be defined with established quality levels. Some examples:

  • Hot lead: Prospect in target country asking for pricing information
  • Warm lead: Prospect in target country asking for product datasheet
  • Cold lead: Prospect in a non-target country or prospect downloaded a whitepaper

Hot leads should go to salespeople with the highest close rates, while new salespeople should get their experience on the cold leads list first.


  • What are the lead boundary parameters: what makes for a hot/warm/cold lead?
  • Should phone calls be added as leads?
  • How long should we wait on a lead that no one claims before auto-rejecting it?
  • Who should the rejected leads go to?

Sales Manager Responsibilities

The Sales Manager is the key driver of accountability in a B2B organization. Now that we have a lead claiming system, they’ll be responsible for enforcement. If your organization is on a CRM, the sales manager will likely already be checking with salespeople and “beating them up” about inaccurate close dates, inaccurate close probabilities, lack of communication with their prospects, etc. They’ll also need to make sure that salespeople are working on the leads they should and that lead ownership is clear.

Our Sales Manager will now need to make sure salespeople are contacting newly claimed leads in the required amount of time. You may want to establish higher intensity sales activity requirements for higher quality leads ie:

  • Hot leads must be called within 4 business hours
  • Warm leads must be called within 12 business hours
  • Cold leads must be emailed within 2 business day

Where the salesperson has failed in their responsibility to contact the lead in the allotted time, the lead should get passed on to a salesperson with the time management to contact the lead in the appropriate time. Salespeople who are repeat offenders should be moved off desirable leads lists until they prove they’re ready for the high quality leads again.

Rejected Lead Handling

We recommend that rejected leads get emailed to marketing. The reasoning is twofold:

  • Crappy lead notifications are annoying, and marketing should feel that pain so that they’re motivated to filter leads appropriately
  • Increasing the visibility of rejected leads makes it easier to see if sales are letting perfectly good leads go to waste

Assets and Configuration for a Basic Lead Claiming System

Note: Because ActiveDEMAND understands the concept of lead claiming/rejecting, some of this is set up and/or automated for you.

  • Ensure your sales distribution list(s) are ready and correct
  • Authenticate the CRM for any users (sales people/account managers) who will claim leads in order to have the leads get entered directly into the CRM.
  • For each user, go to their profile settings in ActiveDEMAND and add the CRM under “Third Party Applications”.
  • Under Lead Processing, build your sales lead notification workflow to have the following:
    • Once a lead gets through initial filtering (preferred countries, type of lead signal, etc): you need to add an “email sales” notification.
      • We recommend that this email includes all relevant lead information that sales would find useful such as recent browsing history, contact name/organization/form comments/etc. If you use the “Form Submit Sales” email template, it’ll include claim/reject buttons.
    • You’ll also add a “Wait For Change” decision that waits for a lead notification called “Claim” to claim or reject the lead and take further action. This decision will fire once someone claims or rejects the lead.
    • Add a decision that checks whether the lead was rejected or claimed
      • Upon claim, the lead should go into your CRM using a post to CRM action.
      • Upon reject, the lead details should be sent to an “Email Marketer” action that notifies marketing of the rejected lead
  • Test both claiming and rejecting leads. Check the CRM to ensure the lead both posts new deals as well as updates


Lead claiming systems are a staple in larger organizations because they increase competition among salespeople and help provide valuable feedback to marketing. A virtual market is created where salespeople “buy” leads with their commitment of time. Once you’ve got a basic lead claiming system in place, consider adding in enhancements like:

  • Call recording transcriptions posting directly to the CRM
  • Updated client signals posting to the CRM

Wait for Claim Settings



Rejected decision settings