Lead qualification has always been a pain point for the sales and marketing departments of every business. The marketing side might be successful in generating leads for the business, only for sales to later discover that the leads aren’t exactly qualified to work with the business.
To get good at qualifying leads before they’re passed to the sales team, there needs to be a system where points are assigned to a lead to ascertain whether they would be a good fit for the business.
Once you have qualified the leads, you can prospect using these tips to improve your conversions.
Lead scoring and lead grading are commonly used techniques for qualifying leads. Both of them have an objective to determine whether a lead should be pursued or not by the sales team.
In lead scoring, you assign certain numerical points to a lead based on actions they take by interacting with your business. For example, if a lead requests a demo, that could be high on the list of points and could show a high intention that they want to do business with you.
Lead grading, on the other hand, refers to the practice of assigning letter grades to leads based on a number of factors. A lead that is graded as ‘A’ would be considered a hot lead that must be pursued by the sales team.
How to Qualify Sales Leads Faster
In order to effectively use the lead scoring and lead grading methodologies to qualify leads, businesses need to be strategic in how they approach leads. In this post we’ll discuss tips on how to ensure that only high-quality leads get passed to your sales team, so your lead prospecting is as efficient and cost-effective as possible.
1. Consult with the Sales Team
It’s important to take your sales team into the loop as to what indicators work best to qualify leads for your business. Every business is a little different, and your sales team will know the best indicators for qualified leads.
Your sales team is already in touch with leads every day, so they should have a pretty good idea on what factors to look at when qualifying leads.
Your understanding of what a qualified lead means for your business needs to be accurate, and that is why you should consult the sales team for this.
You should also determine when a lead should be handed off to the sales team so they can work their magic. This will prevent bad leads from going through and valuable leads from falling through the gaps.
2. Identify Your Ideal Buyer
Who is your company’s ideal customer? Study leads that have converted into paying customers in the past and look at the common characteristics they share.
What was their purchase process like? Where did they hear about you? What actions did they undertake to get in touch with you? Are they a B2B or B2C company?
This process is designed to identify buyer personas, and if you don’t have buyer personas for your business built already, now would be the best time to do it.
You can create buyer personas by considering the following:
- Who can benefit the most from your products or services?
- Name your buyer personas
- Write down their needs, challenges, opportunities and how your product or services help them
This will help you heaps when it comes time to qualify leads. Simply answering these questions for every lead will be good enough for you to determine whether a lead is qualified or not.
3. Identify Buyer Intent
Just because a prospect is checking your business’s white papers, blog posts and webinars, doesn’t mean they actually have an interest in making a purchase decision. They’re simply interested in your content.
On the other hand, if they’re looking at the pricing page or the contact page, that shows purchase intent.
This distinction is an important one as the marketing team might misunderstand the situation and forward leads that are simply consuming your content, with no clear buyer intent.
This takes us back to lead grading. Make sure that leads that come to your pricing or contact pages get higher grades than those that are simply consuming content on your website.
4. Purchase Power
If the lead you’re pursuing in a position to make a purchase decision. Even if they’ve landed on your pricing page, but they’re a mere executive at their company, means they do not have the influence to make a buying decision.
A CEO or marketing manager, on the other hand, is the right person to consider if they’re visiting your pricing pages.
5. Use Your CRM
Make sure that multiple team members are not working on the same leads by checking lead status in your CRM.
If you don’t have a CRM yet, strongly consider using one. This will greatly reduce redundant efforts for outreach and lead management.
If different people reach out to a lead from the same company it just looks very unprofessional.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Disqualify Leads
Many salespeople shy away from disqualifying leads straight away in the hopes that they might convert later in the future. The reality is that this leads to a lot of wasted time spent on chasing a lead that will probably never convert.
If a lead is vastly different from your ideal buyer personas, disqualify them right away. If they can become a hot lead in the future, it’s going to happen without any convincing on your part.
Priority should always be given to leads that have fulfilled your criteria for ideal buyer personas.
Lead qualification can be a tricky thing to get right, but it’s absolutely necessary so that your sales budget isn’t being wasted. Only chase qualified leads and your business will be much more efficient.