- 67% of potential customers don't convert into sales, primarily due to an ineffective lead qualification process.
- Lead qualification is the process of determining if a lead is the best fit for your business or not and is a crucial task at the initial stage of the sales and marketing process.
- The lead qualification process includes four steps: developing an ideal customer profile (ICP), defining lead qualification criteria, creating an automated lead scoring process, and classifying marketing and sales qualified leads.
- Top lead qualification frameworks includes BANT Framework, MEDDIC Framework, and CHAMP Sales Framework.
67% of potential customers don’t convert into sales.
So, does this mean that sales reps aren’t putting in enough effort to convert leads?
No! It’s primarily due to the ineffective lead qualification process done by sales reps, according to Spotio.
That’s a lot of lost leads!
This also means that only 33% of the leads get converted, and they weren’t even qualified on whether or not they’re right for the business. And that’s a big problem!
So how can you filter the leads that are most valuable for your business easily?
By setting up an efficient lead qualification process that filters leads who have a higher chance of converting.
What is lead qualification?
Lead qualification is the process of determining if a lead is the best fit for your business or not.
It is one of the crucial tasks at the initial stage of the sales and marketing processes.
It is a vital step as it helps allocate the efforts of sales and marketing teams efficiently.
This segmentation helps you to understand your buyer persona in detail, personalize communication, shorten the cycle, sell confidently, and build an efficient sales engine.
Now, let’s get to the important part!
4 Steps to successfully qualify leads
Let’s understand the process of lead qualifying in 4 simple steps:
1. Develop an ideal customer profile (ICP)
Initially, you want to conduct in-depth research on your customers and create an ideal customer profile.
This would help you learn about all the vital information you need to know about your customers.
To start with, prepare a questionnaire consisting of the questions you would want the answers to from your customers. Here are a few examples for you to get started:
- Who would use this product/service?
- What would be their job title or position?
- Which industry do they belong to?
- What problem does my product/service solve?
- What are their demographics? (For e.g.: age, gender, education, employment, etc.)
- What is the psychographics of the customer? (For e.g.: values, interests, lifestyle, etc.)
These were just a few of the many questions that can help you learn more about your customers.
And by answering these questions, you can avoid wasting effort and time on prospects that are unlikely to become customers.
Also, don’t forget to take a close look at the data you’ve collected about customers like a detective on a case.
See if any patterns and trends pop out. This will help you identify the common characteristics of your ideal customer.
To analyze the data in a more precise manner and create an actionable plan. Your CRM would be pretty helpful in acquiring datasets.
Additionally, here are a few things to keep in mind while creating your ideal customer profile:
- Keep it simple, don’t make it too complex.
- Don’t limit yourself to one customer profile; create multiple variants.
- Ensure it’s actionable, so you can use it to make swift decisions.
- Finally, keep in mind that your ICP may change over time.
2. Define lead qualification criteria
The next step you want to focus on is defining the lead qualification criteria.
Fundamentally, it means that on what basis would you qualify leads for your business?
These criteria are specific to each business and can vary based on factors such as the industry, product or service, and target market.
Here are a few qualification criteria you can utilize for lead qualification:
- Is the prospect in the target demographic of the business? An answer to that could be, “I’ll only treat prospects from the United States.”
- Does the prospect have the budget or resources to make a purchase? An answer to that could be, “I’ll only treat prospects with a $50K ticket size or more.”
- Is the prospect a decision-maker within their organization? An answer to that could be, “I might start off the conversation with executives, but I’ll do the deal with C-level executives who are decision-makers.”
- What is the company size? An answer to that could be, “Only companies with 100+ employees are my target market.”
- Have they interacted with the digital fronts of your business? (For e.g.: website, social media, etc.)
- Has the lead interacted with any of the ads being run by the business? An answer to that could be, “I’ll prefer prospects who come from ad sources as CAC is high for them.”
Answering these questions can help you qualify a prospect for a lead.
And, if you want to know more in detail about what other questions you would want to consider, check out our detailed blog on lead qualification questions here.
Moreover, a pro tip to keep in consideration is that even though you’ve defined multiple qualification criteria, some criteria will always hold more importance than others.
For example, a lead hasn’t attended a webinar and has only viewed the landing pages twice or thrice but is ready to convert and has a deal value of $300K.
Then, even though the lead didn’t meet all the defined criteria, it holds great importance.
3. Create an automated lead scoring process
You’re almost there! The next thing on the agenda after you’ve qualified the leads is scoring them.
These rankings can be done on various grounds. For example, a lead that fills out a demo request form and attends the demo session might be ranked higher compared to a lead that didn’t even fill out the form.
Also, just as you would assign positive scores for performing certain tasks such as subscribing to a newsletter. There are also negative consequences for performing undesired tasks, such as unsubscribing to the email newsletter.
To ease the lead scoring process, it’s best to automate the process with the help of an efficient CRM.
A CRM can help ensure that the hot leads are handed off to the sales teams for converting, while the less promising leads get more nurturing before they’re ready for the big leagues.
Take Salesmate, for example! Sales Automation in Salesmate CRM can help you can easily assign a lead score to your sales leads. And it has multiple triggers, conditions, and actions to choose from, allowing you to create a lead scoring process in minutes.
Overall, lead scoring helps administer your efforts and time wisely.
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4. Classify marketing and sales qualified leads
Finally, when it comes to leads, you’ll end up with quite a lot of them – the hot ones, the almost-there, the not-even-close-to-its. So, how would you classify them?
Leads that are showing curiosity, interacting with your websites more, are visiting multiple landing pages are keen to learn more about your business. So, with a little lead nurturing, they might convert. These could be classified as marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
In contrast to that, leads that sign-up for webinars, book and attend demos, and download multiple lead magnets are more eager and are considering making a purchase. So, these kinds of leads would be classified as sales qualified leads (SQLs).
Qualifying sales leads is a process that’s different for all businesses. So, either you can focus on creating your own lead qualification process and optimize it or utilize a framework best suited for your process.
Below are a few of the many frameworks that you can utilize to get the qualification process started.
Choose an appropriate framework
Each sale and customer are different, but every closed deal has something in common. A sales framework discusses specific traits of these closed deals, which can be used by reps for the future lead qualification process.
Here are the top 3 lead qualification frameworks you should consider:
1. BANT Framework:
It is an old-school framework that focuses on the primary pieces of information to qualify the lead. It originated from IBM, which focuses on opportunity-level requirements.
BANT stands for:
B- Budget. Does the prospect have the budget to purchase the product/service?
A- Authority. Is the prospect a decision-maker in the business? Does he/she have the authority to make a purchase?
N- Need. Does the prospect have a need for the solution?
T- Timeline. When is the prospect planning to purchase the product/service?
This is how you can qualify a prospect using the BANT framework.
This framework is simple to use and implement. To learn more about this framework, click here. Do keep in mind that if you’re a fast-moving organization, this framework isn’t the most suitable for you.
2. MEDDIC Framework:
This framework was pioneered by Jack Napoli while he was working with a technology company. MEDDIC was incredibly valued for its accuracy in forecasting. It was also valued by companies that sell to enterprise companies.
MEDDIC stands for:
E- Economic Buyer
D- Decision Criteria
D- Decision Process
I- Identify Pain
You should consider using this framework when the cost of your sales process is quite high, it requires a change in behavior, and you have a clear understanding of the prospect’s purchasing process and their reasons for buying.
This framework considers all the significant aspects of your prospect’s buying situation. To learn more about this framework, click here.
3. CHAMP Sales Framework:
CHAMP stands for-
It defines “Authority” as a “Call-to-action” and not a roadblock. This framework explains if you contact a low-level employee, you are assured that they won’t be the decision-maker.
However, you shouldn’t end the conversation there. You should use their help to understand the organizational hierarchy to reach the decision-maker.
Moreover, CHAMP focuses majorly on prioritization. With this framework, you can determine the prospect’s purchasing timeline. This framework lets you anticipate sales for a given period of time.
To have a detailed insight into the CHAMP framework, click here.
Lead qualification is an essential step that’s fast-forwarded sometimes by most sales reps, but it is crucial. It plays a significant role in thorough resource allocation. This blog gave a detailed insight into the lead qualification process and frameworks.
And you’re already aware that lead qualification is just one arrow in the quiver. With the qualification, you also have to take care of lead generation, capturing, management, and nurturing them to customers. This can’t be done without a solid ally by your side.
And, Salesmate is just that!
Transform the way you do sales and increase your lead-to-customer ratio with Salesmate.
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