A Review of EchoQuote by a Storage Marketer

Posted: June 3, 2011 by David Lamont in Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

EchoQuote is an online lead generation and lead capture system. EchoQuote customers list their products within the system and refer web visitors to a dedicated URL. The visitor (user) can then register to get a self-service price quote. It’s a straightforward process.

Users enter their contact information and select the product(s) they want from your exclusive list. You (the vendor) have the option to automatically approve all price requests or to approve/deny individual requests as they come in. Upon your approval a personalized quote (pdf format) is sent to the requester by the EchoQuote system. Leads are delivered to you by spreadsheet, email, and in some cases by direct injection into your CRM system.

It’s worth noting that EchoQuote is not a quote configuration tool where a user requests various options and add-ons before a price is calculated. Each item listed uses your predetermined configuration and price.

Why would a storage vendor want to use EchoQuote? Any serious consideration of your products requires a price so your best prospects will seek one out. A prospect has several options. They could contact your sales team for a quote. They could contact another vendor, such as a reseller. Or they could search for a price on the Internet.

If you would like to know who is interested in your products and prices so you can influence the sale, then you’ll be hoping that the prospect contacts the sales team. You may even offer a request for price quote (RFQ) form on your web site.

Unfortunately, most early-stage prospects won’t contact your sales team simply because their initial need for pricing is to ballpark the solution for general budgetary purposes. They are not ready to deal with a pushy salesperson, nor have they considered all their alternatives. Because they do not contact you, or use your in-house RFQ form (which they expect will go straight to a salesperson), your sales and marketing teams lose the opportunity to identify and influence serious prospects at a critical decision point.

If a prospect does not want to initiate contact with your salesperson, a 3rd party self-service system like EchoQuote is an attractive option. Frankly, I expect most users of EchoQuote do expect a follow-up from a salesperson, but that follow-up is after a budgetary price has been delivered. The prospect got what they needed without all the qualifying questions and implied commitments that come with contacting a salesperson.

What do I like about EchoQuote? My lead generation agency, Marketingsage, has worked with the system for several years and I’ve seen it deliver high-quality sales leads for storage products that are not otherwise captured by in-house RFQ forms or inbound calls to a client’s sales team. The online EchoQuote system is relatively easy to work with and the vendor gets to approve or deny price requests.

EchoQuote’s pay-per-lead pricing is reasonable and performance-based. Very low volume leads cost just $50 each. Higher volumes will be priced lower and EchoQuote caps the monthly amount you’ll have to pay. Of course, you can request a self-service quote for the EchoQuote service. They also offer a free trial.

Last, but not least, Dale Underwood, EchoQuote’s CEO, is a veteran of the data storage industry and is attuned to the pricing methodologies used within our industry.

What don’t I like about EchoQuote? I don’t have any real dislikes, but I’ll highlight some consideration points.

If you have your own RFQ form, you can expect some cannibalization so you might end up paying for some leads that would otherwise be free. However, I’ve observed situations where 7 out of every 10 prospects who request a quote choose the 3rd party self-service option over the in-house option. Most marketers will find that to be a reasonable tradeoff. Additionally, some prospects will choose your in-house RFQ form over the EchoQuote option. These leads tend to be very hot because they expect to engage with a salesperson. It’s useful to have, and to recognize, leads from both types of form.

Occasionally a user prefers to generate separate price quotes for each product they have an interest in, rather than a single quote with all the products. When that happens, you really only have one prospect, but you pay for several leads. However, that’s typical of most pay-per-lead systems and it may not be an issue at all if you are reaching your monthly price cap.

Are the sales leads any good? If you believe, as I do, that a price request is better than an information request (e.g. a white paper download) then the leads you get through EchoQuote are highly desirable. After all, a price requests indicates that a critical go/no-go decision is being made. An information request may just indicate curiosity. You can learn more about lead grading from this Marketingsage white paper “Defining and Ranking Sales Leads” (pdf).

You’ll get the best results from EchoQuote when it’s offered as a registration option in your promotions. A self-service price quote is an attractive call-to-action in a promotion, but EchoQuote itself is not the source of your leads. It is a vehicle by which some leads are captured and delivered to you. If you don’t invest in promoting your product, don’t expect many sales leads, regardless of how you capture them.

About the Author

David X. Lamont is an accomplished marketer of IT products and a partner at Marketingsage, a PR and lead generation firm that specializes in marketing data storage, data management and enterprise software products. He can be reached by email at blog [at] marketingsage.net. Fellow marketers and IT professionals are invited to join his network on LinkedIn and to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).

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Comments
  1. […] If so, you need to check out David Lamont’s (MarketingSage) review of using EchoQuote™ to convert website visitors into actionable sales opportunities. […]

  2. […] was also a small expo featuring some very innovative tools from firms like EchoQuote (see review), InsideView (prospect profiles from social media), Glance (online meeting screen sharing) and […]

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