One of the most important things you can do for your business is to design a beneficial way to generate more sales leads.
Once you have these leads, however, they might not all be high-quality. So, how do you know which leads to spend your time cultivating?
Start by determining which ones are qualified leads.
As a business, knowing what a qualified lead is will help you focus your attention on those that are most likely to make a purchase with you.
To help you determine which of your leads fall within this category, it helps to implement a lead qualification checklist.
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Why Lead Qualification is Important
Lead qualification is important because it involves evaluating a prospect’s potential for becoming a customer, matching them up against your specific ideal customer profile, and assessing purchasing potential.
It will also allow your reps to focus on the leads that are more likely to produce the results you want – conversions and sales. Your team becomes more productive as a result, focusing on efforts that can pay off.
With a tool such as a lead qualification checklist, which establishes the criteria and process framework, the probability increases that you’re indeed focusing on sales prospects who are most likely to become future customers.
This knowledge will help you lead your ideal customers through the sales funnel more smoothly and successfully.
It can also save you both valuable time and resources and lessen churn rates down the line.
What are 3 Ways of Finding Your Sales Prospects?
Three ways to find qualified sales prospects include the use of lead magnets, pre-qualifying your leads, and finding out why leads turn away from you.
1. The Use of Lead Magnets
Lead magnets are those offers or resources customers can download or otherwise gain access to once they provide you with their contact information.
Often, these are offered to those who are in the first stage of the buyer’s journey and serve as a way to attract them and entice them to learn more about your brand.
Examples of popular lead magnets include eBooks, checklists, tutorials, and free webinars, all geared to some identified pain point of your ideal customer profile.
2. Pre-qualifying of Your Leads
Look for sales prospects by undergoing a pre-qualification of all your leads.
Leads come in all types, and not all of these will be worth your time to target as sales prospects.
Ensure that these leads meet specific criteria by using a lead qualification checklist.
3. Find Out Where and Why Leads Turn Away
Find out why leads are turning away and abandoning your brand, leaving the sales funnel process altogether.
Determine what you need to do to alleviate this issue, and guide them back to being qualified sales prospects.
What is the First Step in Automating the Prospecting Process?
Automation not only saves time but also resources, which many of us have too little of these days.
The first step in automating the prospecting process, then, is to utilize a CRM tool.
Such a tool can help you handle excessive volumes of leads quickly and more efficiently.
Go with an all-in-one platform if you can, as this can save time with the overall process, which includes prospecting, outreach, and final closing.
5 Requirements for a Lead to Be Considered a Qualified Prospect
To remain efficient in your efforts, there are five requirements for a lead to be considered a qualified prospect.
Utilize this checklist to break the process down so you can make it more strategic, manageable, and consistent.
1. The lead is genuinely interested in what you are selling
Even with the best inbound marketing efforts, leads are not always high-quality.
They may just show up to download a document you offer or other website resources, or perhaps they are just there to check out pricing options.
A qualified prospect will be truly interested in what you are selling.
To find these qualified prospects, however, requires some research.
Using either website chat features, phone calls, or emails, ask questions like the following and disqualify any lead that answers no to even one of them.
- Are you currently looking to make a purchase of (product type, your product, your solution)?
- Would you like to learn more about our pricing packages, plans, or levels, and which might best meet your needs?
- Since you downloaded (specific resource), are you interested in finding out more about (the related topic or solution)?
Gauge how interested they seem to be based on their replies.
If they are elusive or do not respond, they are unlikely to commit to a purchase.
2. The lead has an identifiable use for your product or service
A need for your product or service differs greatly from simply desiring something.
Assess whether or not the lead truly has a use for what you offer early on.
One way you can find out includes asking specific questions:
- What challenges do you currently face?
- What are your goals, both immediate and long-term?
- What are the potential roadblocks that could delay reaching those goals?
With the answers to these questions, determine if your product or service can meet these challenges and goals.
3. The lead has a budget to buy what you sell
While wants and needs are important, budget is equally, if not more, important when it comes to being a qualified prospect.
You don’t have to ask outright what they can spend. You can start by researching them, especially if they are a B2B company.
Look at their business profile, such as on LinkedIn, review their website, and check on salaries and wages on Glassdoor or other websites that share this type of information.
In order to check this criterion off your lead qualification checklist, you can also ask the following:
- Do you currently use this product or solution? (This question can help you gain a sense of what they are already spending or if they are just starting to address a need.)
- Do you find that what you are currently paying for that product or solution is fair and reasonable for what you are getting?
- Do you have an ideal price range?
4. The lead is currently at the point of buying what you are selling
A lead may simply be researching and finding out what you offer. However, they may not yet be able or willing to make a commitment.
Knowing this helps you determine where they fit in your sales nurturing strategy and sales funnel.
To be a qualified prospect, the lead needs to be close to or at a point for buying what you sell.
Questions to ask to help you discern this include:
- Where are you in the buying journey (conducting research, compiling options, or ready to purchase)?
- How soon do you need a solution, or do you plan to make a purchase?
- What is currently preventing you from making a commitment to purchase now? Is there anything hindering the purchasing decision?
For those who are ready or close to ready to make a purchase, mark them as qualified prospects.
Once you have all of this pertinent information, you can then ask those who are not quite ready to buy when they might be closer to making that decision. This way, you know when to contact them again.
Ask them for a timeframe in which they will most likely make a decision. Enter this information in your CRM, and be sure to set alerts to follow up in due time.
5. The lead is a designated decision-maker
You need to know whether or not a lead is a designated decision-maker, that is, do they have the authority to make that purchase, or do they need to report findings to someone else in the company?
Determine the authority of a lead by asking the following:
- Who determines what your company needs or what solutions are required?
- To resolve an issue within the organization, who is the best contact to speak with about available solutions?
- Is there anyone else that needs inclusion in the conversation?
With this, you will find out whether the lead is the decision maker and, if not, who the decision maker is for the department or organization.
What is a Lead Qualification Framework?
Using a lead qualification framework for your checklist is an essential approach to help marketing and sales teams qualify leads.
The most commonly used lead qualification frameworks include the following.
BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline)
The most popular framework is the BANT, initiated by IBM.
It is simplistic, easy to implement, and has a proven success track record.
CHAMP (Challenges, Authority, Money, and Prioritization)
CHAMP is the devised framework of InsightSquared.
Its initial focus is on identifying the challenges a business is facing, then moving on along the criteria for qualifying a lead.
The advantage of this framework is the focus on the client’s needs, whether they are aware of them or not.
GPCTBA/C&I (Goal, Plan, Challenges, Timeline, Budget, Authority / Negative Consequences, Positive Implications)
This framework provides a more concise and detailed approach to qualifying leads.
Other framework options you may want to try include:
- ANNUM (Authority, Need, Urgency, and Money),
- MEDDIC (Metrics, Economic buyer, Decision criteria, Decision process, pain point Identification, Champion), and
- FAINT (Funds, authority, Interest, Need, and Timing)
The framework you choose for your checklist will depend on your own particular preferences, needs, and goals.
Implementing a lead qualification checklist can make the process of finding solid sales prospects so much easier and more efficient.
All you need to do is ensure it involves the five requirements of interest, use, budget, timing, and authority.
Make it even easier by utilizing one of the frameworks already developed.
Bring in more leads to qualify by offering interactive content for each stage of the buyer’s journey.