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Sales qualification questions

21+ Sales qualifying questions to stop wasting time on wrong leads

Key Takeaways
  • The best sales performer asks 40% more questions in the discovery phase than the average one.
  • Sales qualifying questions are a weapon of success for sales reps to discover the budget capability, needs, authority and much more about the deal.
  • Sales qualification questions discover the ideal customers that will surely buy your product.

Over 30 per cent of salespeople say that budget is the number one reason deals fall apart for their clients, followed by decision-making (18%), timing (25.5%), value (12%), and connection (12%).  

When the marketing team send off a lead to sales, they only have a handful of signals to judge the quality of the lead.   

Marketing peeps have pre-defined ICPs as their basic filters.  

But is it enough to judge a lead?  

No! Unless you talk to them, there’s no definite way to figure out whether the lead will convert!   

The stats above show various reasons why leads get rejected, and all those conclusions come from questions. 

Do you know the best sales performer asks 40% more questions in the discovery phase than the average one?  

In fact, salespeople spent their 1/3rd of the day on sales calls. 

So, carefully crafted questions for each stage of the sales process will help you spend 1/3rd of your day most effectively. 

This article covers all the key sales-qualifying questions that sales reps should leverage during their sales process.

So, let’s get started.

What are sales qualifying questions?  

Qualifying questions are the enquiring questions that a sales rep asks their prospects to learn their capability of turning into potential customers.  

It involves enquiring about your lead’s pain points, challenges, requirements, and purchase intention.  

This question-answer conversation will help you estimate the number of your paying customers moving down the funnel.

It will help if you leverage these qualifying questions in a way that draws the maximum information about your qualifying prospects and their intent to buy.

The conversation shouldn’t feel like an interrogation session but should feel like a valuable communication experience qualified lead.

Check out these best sales lead qualifying questions you can ask a prospect while conducting a cold call.  

6 Cold calling sales qualifying questions you must ask 

Cold calls are effective and, most importantly, have significant importance in B2B sales.

About 57% of B2B C-level managers prefer to be contacted via phone at first.

But the results of these cold calls depend upon how beautifully you start, move and end the conversations.   

Excited to learn what to ask in your first sales call?

Check below the most effective sales qualification question you must include in your cold calling scripts.

1. “Am I speaking with Mr. John, the sales manager of BCC ltd?” 

With this one question, you can validate three details- name, designation and company in a row. Ask this question just after your greetings. This will help you learn that you’re talking with the right person. 

2. “We offer sales automation CRM; considering your role, we wanted to check if you’re looking for one”? 

This is a brilliant question that you can ask your prospects. By asking this, you let the prospect know about the product/service that you offer. Plus, it makes them answer if they need it or are already working with the market trends.   

If you are a SaaS company, this is a solid qualifying question for you. 

3. “Are you satisfied with your current CRM software”? 

Suppose the prospect responds negatively to the above question. For instance, “no, we’re not looking as we already have software in place.”

Then you can ask them this question. If they said yes, you could ask for strong reasons for their satisfaction.

And if they said no, it would help you discover the areas they want to improve. Eventually, it will further help you present your product/service better.

4. “How does the buying decision function in your company?” 

Specifically, useful for B2B sales. This question will help you understand the decision-making process.

You can note down the information provided as an answer and then plan the conversation accordingly.  

Related read: 12 Best cold calling tips for B2B sales [with examples]

5. “How soon do you want to implement the solution?” 

This is a straightforward question. This question helps you figure out the urgency of their purchase. Once you know how soon they want the solution, you can sequence them in your priority list.   

6. “Do you have a dedicated budget for this solution?”  

Budget is an unavoidable topic in any sales qualification process. This question will help you know their budget bracket.

If their budget carries the right budget, then it’s a good thing. If not, then you need to make efforts to upsell by convincing them by showing value proposition, benefits etc.   

These are six crucial cold-calling qualifying questions to help you qualify sales leads. Let’s now look at some of the crucial sales lead qualification questions. 

17 Best sales qualifying questions you must know 

Sales qualifying questions should be planned and asked in a manner that helps you serve the purpose of qualifying leads.  

Don’t ask these questions directly; try to create a flow so that the first question naturally leads to another.

And so, you should frame the lead qualification questions accordingly. Here are some of the great qualifying questions for the sale team you must know: 

1. “What’s prompting you to solve this problem?”  

This question helps you to understand their pain point. It can be a recent change in rules and regulations, any other change in the company’s development strategy, or anything else. This will help you understand their trigger point.  

2. “Have you tried to solve this problem in the past? If yes, then what was it?”  

This question helps you understand the background of the situation. You’ll know whether they implemented any solution in the past. It allows you to present your solution as unique and a good problem-solver.   

3. “Which of your problems will be solved with this product/service of ours?”  

This is a smart way of asking about the value your product/service brings to them. Half of the work is done when they understand the solution your offering brings.  

4. “How does the decision-making process work in your company?”  

Asking a question like this helps you understand who the decision maker in the organization is. Once you know the decision makers, you can better create a strategy for the purchase approval process work.  

5. “What are the consequences of not solving this problem?”  

This question will help you learn how major the problem is. And accordingly, you can qualify these prospects based on their urgency to get the solution. 

You can send the lead for nurturing if the prospect still needs a firm answer. Or disqualify it, if they don’t have any solid reason and interest for implementing the solution.   

6. “Who else needs to be included in the decision-making process?”  

Asking this question helps you to connect with be a help to know who has the authority of decision making regarding the purchase.

Connecting to the right person at the initial point will benefit faster conversion. Hence, you should ask this question in the initial sales conversation.

7. “What are your major concerns? How can we address them?”  

The answer to this question will educate you on the significant concerns and a clear picture of the expected solution. You can leverage this information to show your product/service as hero to them in overcoming all their concerns. 

8. “How much does your company plans to invest in this solution?”  

This is an indirect way of asking for their budget for the solution. By asking this question, you can check their eligibility for adapting your product/service in monetary terms.   

9. “Who is the key approving authority?”  

This is also a way to discover the decision maker in any deal. So, ask it whenever the sales conversation is indicating a conversion possibility.  

This question helps you learn about the person who affects the final purchase call. This person can be anyone from the top management.   

10. “How soon would you like to see this problem get solved?”  

The answer to this question will help you set the estimated time for closing the deal and implementing the solution.  

You’ll get an estimated timeframe and sometimes the exact dates when the prospects have urgency.   

11. “What other solutions are you currently evaluating?”  

This will help you know if any other competitors are fighting for the same deal as you. Listening to the prospect’s answer carefully is essential to authenticate their engagement.  

Also, you will discover about your potential competitors in a certain area. 

12. “What does success in this problem looks like?”   

It’s a must-ask question, as the answer will help you understand whether the prospect’s idea of success syncs with your solution. If the opposite, you should start seeing the lead as disqualified, saving time and energy.

13. “Is there anyone or anything that will act as a barrier to implementing this solution?”  

Ensure to ask this question, as this will help you reveal your potential roadblocks.  

So, it is suggested that you ask this sales qualification question as soon as possible.   

Also, asking such qualifying questions early in the sales funnel helps you prepare your roadmap accordingly.

14. “Where does this solution stand on your priority list?”  

This question helps you understand the importance of solving the problem from your prospect’s end.  

If the solution implementation is in the initial three positions of the list, it is a qualified lead.  

15. “Who will use this solution on a daily basis?”    

This question helps you understand your user audience. Once you know the users of your solution, you can easily qualify the prospect and cater to their usage.  

16. “How long can you operate without getting a solution to this problem?”  

This is another way of knowing the urgency of the solution. This question can be used in the initial conversation to understand the importance of solving the problem.   

17. “How have the purchase decisions of similar products taken in the past?”  

This question will help you learn about their decision-making process for similar products/services. Then, you can easily plan your roadmap that matches their process.    

Sales qualifying question examples to help you execute effectively 

After learning some of the best sales lead qualification questions, it is also crucial that you use them efficiently.

So here are two different conversation scenarios that’ll help you get a clear picture of qualifying leads using sales qualification questions:

1. Cold calling scenario: 

Peter(sales rep): Hello, I’m Peter from “Design House Ltd.” Am I speaking with Mr. Nile the digital head of the IBC group of Industries?  

Nile (Prospect): Yes, That’s right.  

Peter: Hope this is a good time to talk?  

Nile: Yes, go ahead. 

Peter: Mr Nile, I want you to know that I did go through your website and apps and discovered that there’s room for improvisation in certain areas. Would you like to discuss further how we can improve your assets?

Nile: Sure. I would like to understand your outcomes.  

Peter: That’s great. The upcoming trends are far advanced compared to what your applications offer and how they function. With your current market position, we can help you become a market leader by making exceptional additions. How does this sound to you?

Nile: Sounds interesting. We were any which ways looking to revamp our assets.  

Peter: Sounds excellent. How soon do you look forward to revamping your applications?

Nile: We plan to do it within six months, in the 2nd quarter of 2024.   

Peter: Got it. How about we connect for the discussion call for the same in the coming week? 

Nile: That sounds good to me.

Peter: Great. Can you help me know who needs to be included in this call from your team?  

Nile: I’ll share the coordinates of two of my subordinates shortly. You can send the invite to them.  

Peter: All right. Also, wanted to know if your team has allotted any budget for this project. Or it is yet to be decided.

Nile: We are still deciding on the budget. However, it will be done by the time we connect for the call-in coming week.  

Peter: No worries. Let’s connect coming Tuesday at 11:00 AM. Hope this suits you? 

Nile: Yes.  

Peter: So, as soon as I receive the coordinates of your subordinates, I’ll share the invite. Look forward to a fruitful discussion ahead.  

Nile: Sure. Thank you.

Peter: You’re most welcome. Let’s reconnect this Tuesday.  

This is a cold call scenario where you qualify the prospect on its requirement and authority grounds.

As so much information is being shared during a cold call, it would take a lot of work for any rep to remember every key detail efficiently.  

Also, sales leaders should keep a check on each rep’s activities. So, implementing a sales calling software is the effective solution you must go with. 

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 Let’s now look at another scenario for a better understanding. 

2. Inbound sales call scenario: 

June (sales rep): Hello, this is June from Salesmate. Am I speaking with Ms Rose? 

Rose (prospect): Yes, that’s right.  

June: Rose, I received your details from the web form that you filled out on our site. I wanted to connect to check your requirement and help you with your purchase decision.  

Rose: Yes, that’s right. I wanted to enquire about your Sales Automation Software feature.  

June: Sure. Please let me know the primary problem you want to solve by implementing Sales Automation Software.

Rose: Yes. My sales team is spending the majority of its time on repetitive tasks. This is adversely impacting the operating effectiveness and sales figures of the company. Hence, we’re looking for software that can solve this issue.

June: Understood, we have a perfect solution for this problem. However, before we proceed with the discussion, please let me know who will participate in this conversation. 

Rose: Sure. Since my team is the one to use the solution. I, along with my Sr. authority, will take the final call. 

June: Noted. Please help me with your senior’s coordinates so I can stay in touch with them during this purchase process. 

Rose:  Sure. I’ll text you the same.   

June: That’s great. Further, do you have any budget allotted to this solution?   

Rose: We have yet to decide on the budget, as we are open to a pricing plan. If your solution is the right fit, we would happily agree to your pricing.   

June: This sounds accurate. Lastly, before we move on to our following conversation, how soon do you want to implement Sales Automation Software?  

Rose: It would be great if we could do it in the next couple of weeks. We are already facing this issue and cannot continue for longer.  

June: Got it. I have taken all the essential details. How about we connect on Monday to discuss how our Sales Automation Software is ideal for your system?  

Rose: Sure, we can do it. Please schedule it somewhere around 11:00 AM and send the invite to me and my senior authority.   

June: All right. I’ll share the meeting link shortly. It was great talking to you. Let’s connect on Monday.  

Rose: Sure. 

This is again a great example of asking sales qualification questions in the initial conversation.

Hope you now have a clear idea of how asking sales questions helps you qualify leads for future reference.

Wrapping Up 

Sales qualifying questions are of great help when asked correctly. They not only save you time and effort but also helps you in creating a roadmap. They are a crucial part of the initial conversations. 

Every process must implement this in its sales pitch. The above examples are a perfect replica of how you can use them in your sales qualification process.

So, go ahead and practice the same.

And remember, a sales CRM can support you in managing your sales pipeline deals, tracking the activity of sales reps and goals, forecast sales and much more.

Frequently asked questions

What are sales qualifying questions?

Sales qualifying questions are some inquiries threaded to help sales reps to uncover pain points, budget, potential obstacles etc. for moving forward with the sales lead qualification process.

What are three critical qualifying questions you ask every prospect?

Sales qualification questions are an essential part of your sales process. Including questions on need, budget and authority in your sales qualification process would be best.

What is qualification in the sales process?

Sales qualification evaluates a lead’s potential to become your potential customer. It helps sales team to get the ideal fit customers to move down the sales funnel.

Dhanashree Pal

Dhanashree has been into writing since her teens. She believes writing is the best way to express and explain everything happening in this world. Reading and imagining are something she can do for hours. Enthusiastic about exploring new places and food. Young and hopeful of becoming better with every passing day.

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