As much as 67% of lost sales across industries happen because of inaccurate qualifying of leads before attempting to funnel them through the sales process. Traditionally, one of the biggest discords between sales and marketing teams is the quality of leads passed on from one to the other.
Before we get to know about how to qualify leads, it’s necessary to understand why it is so important. Apart from running after bad leads (a terrible mismatch of customer problem and your solution), the single largest pitfall of not qualifying a lead is that you do not know how to sell to them.
What are the customer’s specific pain points? What kind of customer are you handling? What kind of business or organisation does this person belong to? Without knowing these answers, there is no way to personalise a sales pitch. Here are four simple and yet effective ways to qualify a lead:
1. Know your buyer persona
Have a detailed discussion with your sales team to understand what kind of people tend to convert. Get as much demographic, occupational and other relevant data as possible. Look for these traits when qualifying a lead. For instance, does the lead represent a B2B or B2C company? What is the size of the business? What kind of revenue bucket does the business fall in?
2. Separate interest from intent
Take a good look at the lead’s interaction with your brand’s touchpoints. What type of content has the person consumed over time? How many times has the lead come in contact with your marketing offers? Were they reading your blog post or whitepapers? Did they subscribe to a newsletter or opt-in to download a case study? Did they visit your pricing page? These details will allow you to attach a level of “hotness” to a lead.
3. Ensure you are selling to the right person
This bit of information is critical. While a prospective lead might set off all the bells, the person might not eventually decide to purchase. Make sure you know the lead’s professional designation. For instance, a pitch for a service trial might make more sense to a junior employee who has been entrusted with evaluating potential solutions than pushing across a custom demo offer.
4. Always check a lead’s website
Today’s digital-first business approach ensures that you do not have to go hunting in yellow pages to track down a company’s buying history, business vertical, or potential requirement for tools or services. The business’ website can give away a lot of critical information. For instance, does the website have a shopping cart? What kind of product or service do they offer? These can tell whether or not your services are a good fit for the business.
Adopting a lead qualification process, although simple on paper, takes effort to streamline. However, it only becomes easier and quicker over time, and much of these steps can be accomplished using marketing automation and a solid customer discovery process.