Lead Qualification is a crucial step in the sales pipeline stages. An opportunity is identified with a potential customer, and a record is created as the first step to closing a deal successfully.
The more information you have about your leads, the easier you will help them along the buyer journey. This information can range from the industry to social media activity, with help from tools like LeadSpace and LeadGenius can come in handy here.
It would be best to separate the leads that are ready to buy from those still in the awareness stage. Then, you will be able to sort the hot leads from the cold leads. This will save your team a lot of time.
Here are a few reasonable indications they are ready to convert:
They've visited several pages on your website, including your pricing or services page.
They've downloaded/signed up for a lead magnet.
They are reading comparison pages.
The Lead Qualification Process
Lead qualification helps you determine which of the collected leads are interested in what you are selling and are willing to go ahead and make the purchase. Selecting the potential of buyers allows you to communicate more precisely with users, reducing the time from becoming acquainted with the product to purchase. Segmenting your leads will enable you to build more personalized communication.
This is the information-gathering stage, where the marketing team collects data on leads and assesses whether they are a perfect fit for the company.
Unqualified leads are deemed unfit for your product and not considered for the next stages.
Marketing Qualified leads have shown interest in your products and are welcome to receive resources about your products.
Product Qualified leads have interacted with your product and signed up for the free trial.
Conversion Qualified leads have submitted information and set up a call independently.
Sales call with prospects.
The sales rep will be needed at some point to engage with the leads and ask questions that will inform the qualification of the leads.
These questions rotate about:
Are they interested in buying?
Do they have a use for the product or service you’re offering?
Do they have the money to buy what you’re offering?
Is this the right time to buy?
Do they have the authority to authorize the purchase?
What is a Sales-Qualified Lead?
The initial fact-finding call with your prospects can be exceedingly useful in finding the perfect fit. Sales teams must attempt to make lead qualification a quantitative, data-driven process.
This can be accomplished through a scoring model where a team calculates a score for each lead. This is usually based on factors such as:
How often they use social media
Clickthrough rates for emails sent to the lead
The frequency of the lead’s visits to your website
How recently the lead last engaged with your company
How to qualify leads
Revise the lead scoring model
Lead scoring is a methodology used by sales and marketing departments to determine the worthiness of leads, or potential customers, by attaching values to them based on their behavior relating to their interest in products or services.
Here, you collect information which includes demographic details like age, gender, location, all things related to the lead's business, prospect’s behavior, and level of engagement. This process puts leads at the forefront and ensures you communicate with them to push conversions up. But, in this process, you can still understand the prospects' challenges.
You can only understand the people you are speaking with and their pain points accurately after extensive research. Track your leads for analytics purposes by using Google Analytics. It helps you receive information about their activity on your site, like:
the pages they prefer to view;
interests and preferences;
information about devices.
Social media is another tool to help you collect data or social analysis sites to gather more demographic and psychographic information on your prospects. You can also look through your potential customers' business websites to understand their goals, values, and products and gather contact information.
Choose the appropriate framework for you.
There are plenty of frameworks that can help you qualify your leads. You’ve probably heard about:
BANT (budget, authority, needs, time);
MEDDIC (metrics, economic buyer, decision criteria, decision process, identify pain, champion);
CHAMP (challenges, authority, money, prioritization);
FAINT(funds, authority, interest, need, timing)
ANUM (authority, need, urgency, money).
In his sales book, Neil Rackham established the SPIN acronym for the first time in 1988. He created the methodology to navigate through sales situations. In full, SPIN is:
S - Situation (lead’s current situation)
P - Problem (your prospect’s problem that you can help resolve)
I - Implication (the negative impact of this problem on the prospect)
N - Need payoff (the importance of your solution).
A salesperson should ask questions about these four things in this particular order. It helps you explore the current situation and the problem your lead is facing that can be solved with your product.
Sales frameworks broken down.
Generating business leads can be stressful, especially if you have to spend a lot of time on them. They end up not becoming a customer; it is hectic and stressful; however, modern marketing makes things much more manageable.
Knowing whether a lead is worth pursuing is essential because it helps you determine how much you have to have this lead turned into a purchasing customer. In addition, the process gets easier with an established system.
BANT is a popular framework that was introduced in the 1960s. BANT helps sellers with expensive products that don't fit everyone else's budget.
This procedure works well with B2B brands, where decision-making authority and multiple influencers are essential to the sales process.
Budget. Does the product or service fit the prospect’s purchasing budget?
Authority. Is the prospect in a position to decide on the purchase, or would someone else be the decision-maker?
Needs. To what extent does the prospect need what you are selling? Are they just exploring, or is there a pressing need to make a purchase?
Timeline. How ready is the prospect prepared to purchase?
This style, developed in the 1990s, is quite complex but very effective.
Metrics. In quantifiable terms, what is the customer hoping to get out of your solution? Is it to increase revenue by a certain percentage yearly, for example?
Economic buyer. Who is the person who makes buying decisions?
Decision criteria. What are the buyer’s criteria for determining whether to make a purchase?
Decision process. Which process does the buyer follow when evaluating a potential purchase?
Pain point identification. Which challenges is your buyer seeking to solve?
Champion. Is there someone inside the buyer’s organization who already believes in your product or service and can serve as a ‘champion’?
It works well for teams that have a relatively low volume of high-value sales, such as software.
ANUM has similarities with BANT. Authority takes precedence here.
Authority. Are you dealing with the decision-maker for product or service purchases?
Need. What are their needs, and will your product help to solve them?
Urgency. Is your contact ready to make their mind up now on a purchase, or will they need further communication?
Money. Is the budget in place to make the sale?
Another variation on BANT. Here, budgeting and authority take the front seat.
Funds. Does the prospect have the funds in place or a budget to spend on your service?
Authority. Is your lead a decision-maker on purchases and spending?
Interest. Have you made them aware of how your service can improve their day-to-day work?
Need. Do they have a need for what you’re selling?
Timing. Is this the right time to make your approach?
Challenges. Does what you’re offering solve the problems which a prospect experiences in their day-to-day activity?
Authority. Is the prospect the right person to speak to regarding the company’s decision-making process on purchasing?
Money. Does the prospect have the budget in place to consider purchasing what you’re offering?
Prioritization. Is the issue you’re offering to solve high up on their list of day-to-day problems?
Having leads flow into your business is the best thing that can ever happen to anyone’s business, and it's worth being called a blessing; however, it doesn’t just stop at that. There is a lot more to play until those leads are turned into buying/purchasing clients.