For a company’s long-term sales potential to be successful, it must have a sufficient number of leads willing to purchase its products. Obtaining leads, however, is insufficient. You must also understand where each lead is in your marketing/sales funnel to avoid wasting time and money.
According to studies, 67 percent of missed sales result from sales representatives failing to adequately evaluate potential customers before beginning the entire sales process. Finding and assessing leads is not an easy task. However, qualifying leads is the only way to acquire individuals ready to become clients.
Lead qualification is required to determine which of your collected leads are interested in your items and have sufficient purchasing power. By deciding who is most likely to buy, you can communicate with users more precisely, reducing the time required to learn about the product and make a purchase. Furthermore, grouping your leads allows you to send more personalized messages in the future.
By qualifying leads, you can customize your marketing approach, connect directly with consumers ready to buy your products, and increase conversions.
This article discusses seven simple techniques with which you can qualify your leads. However, before we continue, let’s take a more detailed look at lead qualification.
What Is Lead Qualification?
Lead qualification entails sorting and ranking leads based on the likelihood of a sale. It determines whether and when a lead will likely result in a sale based on its characteristics.
For instance, suppose you own a toy store and have a salesperson distribute coupons. The most obvious recipients would be adults with children, as opposed to adults who walk around without children.
The salesperson qualifies their leads by distinguishing between customers with children and those without children. Lead qualification is crucial for maximizing the effectiveness of your sales and marketing resources.
If you invest the same amount of time and money into all potential customers without determining if they are qualified, you will waste time and money on prospects who may be less likely to purchase, regardless of how well you engage them.
A lead is anyone who demonstrates an interest in your product or service. Leads are a broad category that includes a diverse assortment of individuals, the majority of whom are unlikely to convert into customers.
While some individuals may never purchase, and others may not be ready to buy even if they are interested. In the future, these prospects may be excellent prospects for your product or service.
Lead Qualifying Categories
During the qualification process, you can classify leads into different groups. These categories rank the lead’s quality and allow marketing and sales teams to adjust strategies to each type of lead.
Leads are given different names depending on where they are in the sales funnel.
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
A marketing-qualified lead (MQL) expresses interest in your marketing materials or is in your target market. The goal of creating MQL is to direct your marketing efforts toward those who are most likely to be interested in your products. An MQL is also an example of an inbound marketing strategy.
An MQL must meet basic requirements, such as opening a specific landing page, signing up for an email subscription, or clicking a link on your website.
MQLs enter the sales funnel by searching for your company online and providing their contact information to receive more information. When a company has a solid digital marketing strategy, its website, social media accounts, and landing pages attract inbound leads.
MQLs may not be sales-qualified yet, but they are actively looking for a solution and have pain points that need to be addressed.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
A sales-qualified lead (SQL), also known as an opportunity, has passed the lead qualification processes of both the marketing and sales teams.
The most important aspect of these leads is their interest in purchasing your products or subscribing to your services. SQLs have typically performed actions that demonstrate intent, such as subscribing to a newsletter or clicking on links in marketing emails.
These prospects are more likely to convert because they met your desired lead qualification criteria, and their long-term pain points have been identified.
How to Get Higher Clicks and Conversions Using 9 Simple Lead Qualification Techniques
The BANT method emphasizes four characteristics in decreasing order of importance:
Budget: Does the item’s or service’s price correspond to the buyer’s available funds?
Authority: Is it the potential customer who has the final say on whether or not to purchase, or does someone else?
Needs: To what extent do they require the product or service you’re offering? Is this just a shopping trip, or do they have to buy something immediately?
Timeline: To what extent is the prospective customer prepared to purchase?
BANT is an excellent choice for businesses that sell expensive goods or services out of most potential customers’ price range.
This is also true for business-to-business (B2B) sales, where the presence of a large number of decision-makers and influencers is an integral part of the sales process.
A lead is viable if it meets at least three of the four BANT criteria; however, each sales team is free to define a possible lead.
BANT examines sales leads first and foremost from a financial standpoint. If a potential customer lacks the financial means to purchase the product you’re offering, they’re probably not a good fit.
Although not related, CHAMP is similar to BANT in that it incorporates Money, Authority, and Need, but it expands on BANT’s Time component by considering where your product or service falls on the lead’s list of priorities.
Simply put, CHAMP focuses on whether the marketed product or service solves a lead’s problems.
Challenges are urgent issues your product or service can solve for a prospect’s organization. The CHAMP structure begins with qualifying questions about obstacles.
Authority in the CHAMP framework’s concept is comparable to the BANT framework’s. You want to communicate with those who make purchasing decisions.
Money is what completes your sale. You must determine whether the prospect’s organization can afford your product or service.
Prioritization entails determining the significance of your product or service in terms of current or future goals. In this regard, the CHAMP framework differs from BANT because it does not equate urgency with priority.
Instead of a timeline, CHAMP prioritizes items based on their importance. According to CHAMP, a prospect’s timeline for purchasing is determined by how important the prospect believes it is to purchase the product or service you are selling.
The CHAMP method works well when some of your leads don’t understand what you’re selling. Sales teams can quickly eliminate leads who do not require what they are selling by first learning about the prospects’ problems and then determining whether the product or service can help solve those problems.
An important focus of ANUM is A’s authority, which is comparable to BANT’s strategy.
Money is the least important factor because this sales framework focuses on your relationship with the DMU and recognizes that businesses do not always have a set budget for the solutions you provide. It is seller-centric, similar to BANT.
ANUM’s priority is to find the appropriate authority to pitch to.
Authority: This means that if a prospect you’re talking to cannot make decisions for a company, they won’t be considered.
Need: The “needs” section of ANUM asks you to determine whether the person you are interviewing needs the solution you are offering or if they have any other problems you can assist them with. You’d like to work as a consultant here. If you’re on a call, don’t go straight to your sales pitch.
To meet their demands, either now or in the future, you must first understand how their business operates.
Urgency: Similar to T for timing in BANT, urgency describes how urgently the prospect wants to address their issues, ideally with your solution.
If they don’t want to move the deal right away, you should mark it off for nurturing until they are ready.
Money: According to ANUM, money is the least important factor to consider when qualifying because more creative solutions to problems frequently fall outside predetermined budgets.
Furthermore, rapport is essential because people are more willing to spend money with someone they trust, so you want to establish a relationship first.
MEDDIC is a sophisticated yet effective lead qualification strategy focusing on several overlapping elements.
The strategy takes a unique approach to lead qualification by carefully examining the decision-making process and dividing it into Decision Criteria and Decision processes. MEDDIC takes the following factors into account:
Metrics: What exactly is the customer hoping to gain from your solution? Is a yearly increase in revenue of a certain percentage the goal? The MEDDIC framework emphasizes quantifying your leader’s objectives or plans.
Economic buyer: Who makes purchasing decisions? The economic buyer is the person whose signature is the last on the check. You must understand who this person is and how they think.
Decision criteria: What are the buyer’s criteria for deciding whether to buy?
Decision process: When analyzing a potential purchase, what method does the buyer use?
Identification of pain points: What problems does your buyer want to solve?
Champion: Champions are those in the prospect’s organization who may or may not be involved in the decision-making process but can influence it.
Is there someone within the buyer’s organization who already believes in your product or service and can act as a “champion” for it?
FAINT uses interest as a qualification factor, solving a significant issue many larger prospects face.
It gives you more financial freedom than some of the other options. With FAINT, you can investigate leads even if they don’t have a set budget. This is because many FAINT purchases do not need to be planned ahead of time.
FAINT contains five major components:
Funds: Does the prospect have the funds or a budget for your service?
Authority: Is your lead a key-decision maker on what to buy and how much to spend in the firm?
Interest: Have you told them how your service will improve their daily lives, or can you pique their interest in your product?
Need: Once you’ve established that the prospect is interested, it’s time to determine why they require your product. Do they require what you’re attempting to sell?
Because this is the essential qualification process, you can always use interest to your advantage.
Timing: Finally, there is the question of timing. Will you be able to schedule an appointment with your lead right away? Are they willing to agree on a timetable for closing the transaction?
When will they purchase from you?
NEAT Selling is a sales framework created by The Harris Consulting Group and The Sales Hacker.
Here is a breakdown of the acronym:
Need: What does your lead require?
Economic impact: How are such needs affecting finances?
Authority: Who has authority, and how can you contact them?
Timeline: What is the practical timeline for closing the deal?
NEAT Selling is more effective as a lead qualification process because it prioritizes listening and understanding. It assists you in understanding your leads’ needs while rejecting leads that are unsuitable for your solution.
Hubspot developed the GPCTBA/C&I sales qualification process to effectively assess whether a lead would benefit from your products and services.
Each step in the sales qualification process is described below.
Goals: What are the measurable objectives that your leader desires or requires?
Plans: What are the current plans that they will implement to achieve these goals?
Challenges: Can you help a leader overcome the current challenges that their organization is facing and those that they (or you) anticipate?
Timeline: When do they need to achieve their goal, and when can they implement their strategy?
Budget: Do they agree on the solution’s potential ROI, and are they willing to invest in it?
Authority: Is the lead a decision-maker, or have they enlisted the assistance of a decision-maker in the sales process?
Negative and positive consequences
In this stage of the qualification process, you decide what will happen if your prospect meets or fails to meet their goals.
Here are some questions to ask prospects about C&I:
- What happens if you meet your goals? How does the outcome affect you personally?
- What will you do once you have overcome this challenge?
- Do you stand to gain a promotion or more resources if you meet your goal?
- Will you lose responsibilities or be demoted if you don’t meet your goal?
The benefit of GPCTBA/C&I is that it allows salespeople to gather a large amount of information. Having these insights is critical if a salesperson’s offering is sophisticated, highly distinctive, and has the potential to become a vital component of the lead’s business plan.
The SNAP qualification technique’s goal is to assist people in making decisions when they have too much information and insufficient time. Salespeople in this fast-paced sales environment must get to the heart of the matter.
To accomplish this, SNAP follows four rules:
Maintain simplicity: Make it easier for leads to close deals by simplifying and shortening the decision-making process.
Be iNvaluable: Discuss and demonstrate the value of your solution to stand out from the other options competing for your business.
Always align: Ensure that your conversations and solutions align with the lead’s goals and needs to remain useful.
Raise priorities: Make your solution appear important and demonstrate to the leader why they should prioritize this problem.
SNAP is a comprehensive method that assists sales representatives in understanding their buyers and the sales environment so that they can directly meet their buyers’ needs and go above and beyond what they expect.
PMAP is a modification of existing sales methodologies such as ANUM and BANT, providing a new, buyer-centric perspective on the sales process.
Here’s what PMAP stands for;
Pain/Need: Is the pain/need significant enough to warrant intervention?
Mobilizer: Is the person you’re speaking with capable of evangelizing your solution and assisting you in closing the deal?
Authority: Do you have access to the individual or at least a portion of the buying committee members who will make the final decision?
Project: Do they have a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) project associated with their initiative?
The advantage of PMAP is that it follows the same sequence as the Buyer’s Journey, including the awareness, consideration, and decision phases. Every sale begins with an awareness of demand and concludes with a decision after consideration of the solution, which is precisely the order followed by PMAP.
Lead Qualification Strategies
Now that we’ve covered the various strategies for identifying potential clients for your business, let’s look at how you can qualify them before you ever meet them.
Your landing page content and the information you require on your forms will help to qualify your leads, but this does not address the underlying issue of paying for unqualified clicks.
These strategies assist you in improving the quality of your PPC leads before the visitor visits your landing page.
Define Your Ideal Customer
Before deciding how to qualify leads, you must first determine what qualifies a lead as a suitable customer for your company. If you haven’t done so, create a customer profile based on the characteristics, habits, and pain points that make leads a good fit for your product. Consider how and why your customers went from being strangers to becoming followers and paying customers.
Once you’ve developed this profile to provide a picture of your entire client base, you can use it to create a buyer persona that defines your customers.
Find the Key-Decision Makers
Making a decision in B2B can be lengthy and involve more than one person. Finding the right person to push for decisions can help you get a deal done faster.
Look for C-level executives’ emails, especially if you’re dealing with a large or medium-sized company with more than 100 employees.
You may need to persuade six or seven people who are making the decision simultaneously. If you’re unsure who makes the decisions, determine who has the purchasing power.
So, conduct extensive research so that you can approach these people with personalized offers that will persuade them to purchase from you.
Consider Your Lead Generation Strategy
Concentrate on how you generate leads, including whether your marketing team assists you in attracting them through online lead generation, outbound sales prospecting, or hiring a lead generation company. This is significant because the specifics of your lead qualification process will be heavily influenced by how you find these leads in the first place.
If a marketing team attracts and qualifies leads, you will receive MQLs from them, and it will be your responsibility to convert each MQL into a SQL via a needs assessment and discovery call.
If you find the leads yourself, you’ll probably skip lead scoring and go straight to phone qualification. This will also influence how you interact with each lead during the discovery call; MQLs are likely to be familiar with your company, whereas cold leads are not.
Ads Should Be Specific
The simplest way to inform someone that they are not the customer you are looking for is to inform them simply. Using specific words in your ads makes perfect sense to prevent people who aren’t qualified from clicking on them. Even though a low click-through rate is uncommon in the PPC world, click-through rates are meaningless if those leads never convert into customers.
If you discover that the lead is qualified, tag them in your CRM and begin nurturing them right away.
Lead qualification is an integral part of both sales and marketing. To succeed, brands must create an efficient and efficient process tailored to their organization’s specific needs. It is so important for converting sales that many sales professionals advise doing it first to set up your company for success. Lead certification not only ensures a quick conversion, it also prevents monetary and material waste.
Through lead scoring and discovery calls, marketing and sales can determine if a lead is qualified. When you thoroughly review leads before allowing them into your pipeline, you save time and gain peace of mind.