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It’s 2023 and pioneering your business has never been exciting.
But, it only seems exciting when the sales team is winning.
For a business to thrive and grow successfully, its sales engine must be well-oiled. But, how can one have a winning sales machine?
Enter quality sales leads.
Before we dive deeper, in this article, we’ll cover the following sections to help you generate quality leads, and in turn, amplify your sales engine -
- What is a qualified lead?
- 6 ways to qualify leads and improve overall sales
- Potential challenges in qualifying leads
- Lead qualification checklist
What is a Qualified Lead?
Lead qualification is the process of categorizing a lead by the sales and marketing teams so that the prospect will ultimately make a purchase.
Lead qualification occurs at every stage of the sales funnel and finally decides if the prospect will move down the pipeline or not.
Without appropriate lead qualification frameworks, your sales teams are navigating through endless unsuccessful conversations, thus leading to failed closed deals and loss of time and resources.
How to Qualify Leads?
In any sales organization, there are several types of lead qualification processes -
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
- Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)
- Product Qualified Leads (PQL)
1. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
A marketing qualified lead or an MQL are leads fetched by various marketing activities carried out such as email campaigns, content marketing efforts like blog posts, social media campaigns, reports, and more.
2. Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)
Post the refinement of the lead by the marketing team, the sales team further assesses them. These are the leads who are ready to connect and start the process of looking into your product/service via a sales rep.
3. Product Qualified Leads (PQL)
Product-qualified leads are the prospects who have further pushed into the sales funnel by actually trying your product either via a free trial, freemium, or demo.
Post the identification, the pool of leads is then fed into a lead framework. The lead framework is established to understand and further qualify whether they are a good or bad product fit.
The leads then are classified as qualified and non-qualified leads and then passed on to the sales team to begin the sales process.
Why is Lead Qualification Important?
Lead qualification helps your organization save time and resources, and find more paying customers.
The lead qualification process helps determine if -
- The prospect belongs to the right industry
- Your product will solve their problem
- The prospect has the right allocated budget and the authority to make a purchase decision
- Your organization can provide value over your competitors
Without the right lead qualification process, you could be wasting most of your time talking to people that would never close. But, how do you qualify leads to assist your sales team in winning?
6 Ways to Qualify Leads and Amplify Sales to Supercharge your Revenue Engine
- Follow the Lead Qualification Framework
- Leverage Lead Scoring Insights to Forecast the Leads’ Status Quo
- Determine your Persona Qualification
- Create Lead Capture Forms on Your Website
- Make Use of Lead Qualifying Tools
- Email Marketing for Effective Lead Nurturing
#1 Follow the Lead Qualification Framework
A lead qualification framework is essentially a structured method that can be utilized by sales teams to determine whether a lead will likely become a successful customer or not.
There are five different frameworks for qualifying sales leads -
BANT stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Time. Originally developed by IBM, this framework was designed to help you compare your business goals with the lead’s needs.
The BANT framework helps you gauge the budget of the lead and understand if they are willing to pay for your product.
Next, recognize if your lead has the authority to directly approve the product, or if some other stakeholder has to be brought in. Identify the needs of your leads and check if they match your business goals.
The final step is to analyze the timeline within which they will make a purchase.
CHAMP stands for Challenges, Authority, Money, and Priority. This framework helps you identify the challenges the leads are looking to solve before getting into the nitty-gritty of the conversation.
CHAMP helps you identify the roadblocks in your sales process. It helps you map out the organization’s hierarchy to determine the next stakeholder to reach out to to continue the process.
ANUM stands for Authority, Need, Urgency, and Money is an alternative take on the BANT framework.
When leveraging ANUM to qualify leads, a sales rep’s first task should be to determine whether they’re speaking to a decision-maker or not. The ANUM framework focuses on a similar model.
ANUM is a perfect fit for organizations with a smaller sales cycle and to close the deal quicker.
NEAT (Needs, Economic Impact, Authority, and Timeline) covers one of the most important aspects of the lead qualification process - the economic impact of the product you are going to sell.
As a result, the lead values your product’s fullest impact to let you create a more sellable narrative to enhance the offering of your product.
FAINT is an acronym for Funds, Authority, Interest, Need, and Timing.
The FAINT framework was designed to comprehend the fact that certain purchase decisions are unplanned and won’t be considered as a set budget.
Similar to ANUM, the FAINT framework helps you look for organizations with the capacity to purchase, irrespective of the fact that a discrete budget has been set aside.
This framework encourages your sales team to engage with leads to help create a peaked interest in your product/service.
This lead qualification process is called the Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline, Budget, Authority/Negative Consequences and Positive Implications is a direct response to the changes in the buyer behavior.
The negative consequences section of the framework covers the topics to help you understand the consequences of what happens when your product does not satisfy the customer.
Positive implications help you identify if your product/service will help the lead overcome their current problem. It also assists you to research whether your lead will stick with their original plan, or modify them to help their problem.
#2 Leverage Lead Scoring Insights to Forecast the Leads’ Status Quo
A lead scoring is a tool or a model that is designed to help you prioritize and determine - if a lead is qualified, and when to reach out to them.
A lead scoring model will help you understand if a lead can be pursued or not, based on a pointer system to different lead actions such as opening your email or visiting your website.
Once the sales teams accumulate these lead points, it becomes easy to determine at what stage of the funnel the lead is at, and therefore, help you identify the appropriate time to reach out.
Salesken’s intelligent pipeline forecast helps you determine if the lead you are pursuing is worth the time or not, and helps you have engaging conversations based on lead attributes.
#3 Determine your Persona Qualification
Does the identified lead qualify for your target industry and territory? Do they fit in your ideal customer profile?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer that you should be targeting. This buyer persona is used to determine a segment of your market that have similar goals, journeys, and pain points.
To qualify the right persona, identify a series of workflows and questions to ask to assess their suitability.
For instance, a CRM organization will qualify leads that are looking to automate their sales process, and businesses looking to capture leads or talk to customers directly.
Salesken helps you identify and collate the captured information on a single dashboard to help your team push the process down the sales funnel.
#4 Create Lead Capture Forms on Your Website
If your organization has a website, create lead capture forms to process your prospect’s contact information to assess them.
A lead capture form could be anything from a pop-up CTA button, a registration form embedded with blogs, landing pages, or even live events such as webinars, podcasts, and more.
Automate the captured leads with either a CRM tool or an intelligent sales analytics tool to ease the process and qualify the leads further.
#5 Make Use of Lead Qualifying Tools
If you think that lead qualification is rocket science, fret not! Luckily, there is an abundance of lead-qualifying tools to ease the process.
Lead qualification tools leverage features such as pipeline forecasting, lead scores, comparison reports, and more to help you fine-tune your leads and begin your sales process with them more quickly.
Salesken’s intuitive platform helps you jumpstart your lead qualification process and close your deal sooner.
#6 Email Marketing for Effective Lead Nurturing
Email marketing is a fantastic channel to capture leads’ interests.
But for email marketing to be a successful channel, it is important to identify at what stage the lead is in your sales funnel.
Segment your inbound leads into two different sections to avoid sending emails to prospects that do not add value to your organization.
Lead qualification plays an important role in assisting your business to achieve its goals smoothly. When you correctly identify leads to nurture, the chances of having a positive impact on your organization increase.
Segment your leads based on their age, role, responsibility, organization, past buying behavior, and more, and then personalize them so they hit home with each segmented group.
Make use of email marketing tools to kickstart your email marketing journey.
Common Potential Challenges in Qualifying Leads
Although it can be extremely tempting to pass off every lead as a prospect, the truth is, not all prospects are good fits.
From selecting the right tactics to generate quality leads, tracking lead generation activities, and even measuring and analyzing the numbers, there could be several challenges that could be a potential roadblock in your process.
Here are the top 5 lead qualification challenges -
- Gathering Accurate Data
- Shaping Up the Conversation
- Hiring, Training, and Equipping with the Right Tools
#1 Gathering Accurate Data
A well-oiled marketing database is the core of a good lead qualification process and will substantially increase your lead qualification’s success.
Ensure your sales teams accumulate the right sales data analytics required to generate internal conversations within your team to increase productivity.
Getting your hands on the wrong data set is the last thing you need to process your lead qualification process. Not only will the wrong information lead to unsuccessful conversations, but also carve a huge gap between you and your process.
A strong database is a good first step towards providing your team with the right tools, the right people, and the right system to generate positive ROI.
#2 Shaping Up the Conversation
Another common challenge for sales teams is finding a good balance between the number of calls and the quality of conversations had.
Are your sales reps actually connecting with people when they call or do they just leave messages? Are they spending enough time with their prospects and steering the conversation on the right path, or is it falling apart?
Dynamic sales conversation tools such as Salesken can guide your sales reps with real-time cues provided on either mobile or website to keep the flow of the conversation going in the right direction.
#3 Hiring, Training, and Equipping with the Right Tools
Without the right tools, training, and assistance, even the best salespeople falter in their path.
Providing salespeople with accurate data and qualified leads with effective tools is essential to meeting your business goals.
Leveraging the right tool to coach, extract reports and insights about sales conversations, and course-correcting your team can not only help understand your lead better but also help in establishing consistent benchmarks to excel.
Quick Checklist for Lead Generation
Before qualifying every lead into the sales funnel, go through this quick checklist to help you cover all the areas and agendas of the lead generation process -
- Web content management platform (Eg. WordPress)
- Sales intelligent tool (Eg. Salesken)
- Marketing automation software
Lead Optimized Website
- Resources page (Website, landing page, case studies, videos, and more)
- Blog posts
- Links to social media channels
- Areas for promoting content
- Call-to-action buttons
- Landing pages to capture leads
- Connection to contact database
Social Media Broadcast
- Official social media channels (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more)
- Personal and business accounts
- Map out the customer journey
- Launch automated and targeted marketing campaigns
- Email marketing
- Lead scoring
- Automated follow-up workflows
- Campaign content
- Social media promotion content
- Email promotions
- Online advertising solutions (Eg. blog posts, paid ads, retargeting, and more)
- Offline promotional measures
Lead Gen Measures
- Website visitors by source
- Leads by source
- Customers by source
- Conversion rates
- Content measurement via KPIs
- Customer acquisition cost
To be successful in lead generation, organizations must establish an efficient process that is unique to their company only. Sales success solely relies on effective lead qualification.
Your sales team’s ability to find good prospects will make or break your business. Prospects who turn into happy customers will be your organization’s flag-bearing salesperson.
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