How to Qualify Leads: The Detailed Guide

how to qualify leads
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The most crucial step in the sales process is typically identifying sales prospects with promise. However, 61% of B2B marketers say producing high-quality leads is challenging. Sixty-seven percent of sales are also lost due to sales reps’ inability to qualify leads before moving them through the funnel. Therefore, you need to get more involved in qualifying leads if you don’t want to be included in that group.

The discovery call is one of the most crucial exchanges a sales rep may have with a potential client.

 how to qualify sales leads

You and your prospect are at a crossroads: either they are a good enough fit for your product or service to merit discussing the following steps, or it is time to split ways.

But it’s easier said than done to make that decision. Sales qualification can help with it.

Asking the correct questions can help you decide whether the connection should last and what actions to take if a transaction makes sense.

Let’s take a closer look at sales qualification and lead qualification before discussing the lead qualification process and what a lead qualification checklist is.

What is Sales Qualification?

Establishing if a lead or prospect is a good fit for your product or service is known as sales qualification. It happens during sales conversations and is crucial for determining which clients will likely stick around for the long haul.

Without sales qualification, you would likely speak with hundreds of prospects every day for nothing more than one or two closed deals. So it’s a crucial element of any effective sales procedure.

Say you approach a lead you haven’t qualified to try to offer them your product. If the goods don’t fit well, the customer may return them for a refund or launch a rant on social media.

You may give a highly customized solution that increases post-purchase happiness by purposefully qualifying prospects through a discovery call.

What is Lead Qualification?

Lead qualification entails assessing a prospect’s compatibility with the ideal customer profile you developed and their likelihood of becoming a client (ideally, a long-term one). It holds for all sales funnels, including those used to reach out to bloggers or sell products.

In a simple sentence, lead qualification involves determining how likely a prospect is to buy from you.

It would be best to learn as much as possible to qualify leads. It will encourage you to choose and pursue the leads that have the best chance of success. That effectively conserves resources.

Prioritizing highly qualified leads will enhance your conversion rate and ensure that you deal with clients who appreciate your product or service.

How does Lead Qualification Work?

Here are three steps to qualify leads:

1. Gathering your leads is the initial stage. Both social media and email subscriptions are options.

2. You must determine whether the lead matches the profile you created for your ideal customer.

3. You can modify the proposal for them or go after a different lead after the lead qualification.

Importance of Qualifying Sales Leads

By not following all of the leads, it would appear that you are losing out on the chance to win their business. It is not the case, though. A more significant number of churning and dissatisfied customers will result from pursuing prospects who don’t suit your notion of your “perfect client.” Because of this, it’s crucial to qualify sales leads first. Most frequently, one can approach a lead who doesn’t seem to fit in when trying to close a sale. Such activity has an undesirable outcome. Later disappointment may result from it.

The sales funnel includes lead qualifying. It enables you to ascertain whether your good or service will meet the prospect’s wants and whether they have the money to buy it.

In other words, when you qualify leads, you may ascertain whether a person has the desire and capacity to buy your good or service before you advance with them.

Lead Qualification Process

The lead qualification process can begin with a pool of leads produced by your marketing, sales, acquisition, and product teams. If you are part of a minor team, this pool of leads could not have a clear identification and could come via web form submissions.

Levels For Qualifying Sales Leads

The lead qualification processhas several levels. All leads have to go through the sales funnel to get the label of being ‘sales ready’ leads.

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

A lead that a marketing team evaluates and categorizes as a potential customer suited for targeting is known as a marketing qualified lead.

The marketing team comes up with freebies like content, free trials, or e-books to gauge a lead’s interest in your product or service. These are lead magnets; if leads choose them, they become marketing qualified leads or MQLs. By doing this, you may advance the interested leads through the sales process.

 how to qualify leads in sales

Unqualified Leads

A lead that has not received enough nurturing throughout the sales cycle is considered unqualified. They might require what you are selling. They might not be aware of what your business offers, be unaware that they require your particular solution, be unable to purchase your product or service, or be unaware of something entirely different.

Sales Accepted Leads (SALs)

An MQL that the marketing team nurtures, qualifies, and sends along to be evaluated further in the sales funnel is known as a SAL or Sales Accepted Lead.

Many organizations don’t always include the SAL in the sales process since they don’t see a need for it. SAL is crucial for B2B firms, nevertheless. This phase must be added because it is essential to the demand creation process.

Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)

SQLs are leads who are prepared to get in touch with sales reps and start the deal.

The marketing and sales teams must sync to get the sales funnel going efficiently. Organizations occasionally have lead disputes between the two teams. At that point, SAL assists in bridging the divide between the marketing and sales departments.

Product Qualified Leads (PQLs)

PQLs have started freemium subscriptions or signed up for free trials, demonstrating a significant interest in the product.

Conversion Qualified Leads (CQLs)

Any lead converted on your website—by submitting a form or clicking a call button—is called a CQL.

After being fed into a lead qualification framework, these leads can be qualified by answering a series of questions to determine whether they are a good or bad product match.

The leads are then separated into qualified and unqualified leads. The sales process is then fed to the qualified leads. Disqualified leads are fed into a nurturing sequence in the hopes that they may eventually become more receptive to the offering and make a purchase.

Let’s examine the three most essential components of the lead qualification procedure: qualifying questions, qualified prospects, checklist, and lead qualification frameworks. Check out the major difference between MQL and SQL.

What is a Qualifying Question?

A qualifying question aids the salesman in determining whether their prospect meets a particular requirement. It could be a need, a budget, a level of authority, a sense of urgency, or another element.

 how to qualify leads and prospects

Usually, excellent qualifying questions are unrestricted. Asking a question with a predetermined answer, such as “Is this a priority right now?” forces the customer to respond. “Where does this fall on your list of company priorities?” would be a better question. The prospect’s response will typically be more genuine and illuminating because you are not directing them toward a conclusion.

What is a Qualified Prospect?

After completing the lead qualifying procedure, a qualified prospect is prepared to be added to the sales pipeline.

Although you’ll normally complete most qualification work during a discovery call, qualification neither begins nor ends there. You will continually assess potential prospects for more specific qualities at every stage of the sales process.

The three levels of qualification required of sales reps are “organization-level,” “opportunity-level,” and “stakeholder-level.”

Organization-Level Prospect Qualification

The most fundamental level of qualification only indicates whether you need to do further research; it doesn’t tell you anything else. Use your company’s buyer behavior to determine a prospect’s suitability. Does the buyer fit the persona’s demographics?

Opportunity-Level Prospect Qualification

When you read the headline of this essay, you probably immediately thought of this type of certification. When you qualify for an opportunity, you’re figuring out whether your potential customer has a specific need or problem you can solve for them and whether it will be practical for them to use your specific product or service. Opportunity-level qualities, which comprise the other half of strong buyer behavior, reveal whether a prospect would profit from your product.

Stakeholder-Level Prospect Qualification

Consider the case where you’ve found that your prospect’s business pain is a suitable fit for your solution and your ideal buyer persona. We need to get down to business: can your point of contact make a buying decision?

When to Disqualify Leads

In the sequence that you should utilize them to disqualify, these three levels are listed above (i.e., organization-level, opportunity-level, and stakeholder-level.

For instance, it’s reasonable to immediately rule out a prospect if they completely deviate from your company’s buyer persona on an organizational level. Don’t waste your time attempting to fit your offering into their company since you may one day serve their type of customer, but for the time being, you do not.

Similarly, you might be speaking with the CEO of a company with full budget authority and impeccable stakeholder-level qualifications. However, if there isn’t an issue, your remedy is unnecessary. First, meet the criteria for business pain.

Additionally, remember that you shouldn’t progress a prospect in the sales process until they can be qualified on all three levels. For instance, it’s a solid indication that your prospect is not sufficiently involved in the decision-making process and lacks influence if you question them about the company’s strategic goals and they cannot respond.

Even though this contact qualifies at the opportunity level, you should dismiss them at the stakeholder level.

Why Disqualifying is Not Bad

Many salespeople are reluctant to weed out potential customers and reduce their pipelines.

They incline to pursue as many leads as possible, but this isn’t the ideal strategy. More important than quantity is lead quality.

Your time is your most valuable resource as a salesperson; therefore, investing it in a select few of your top prospects is far preferable to spreading yourself too thin among several leads, only to waste time. Trying to complete every offer that presents itself can lead to dead ends with prospects who are a poor fit, while you miss prospects who are likely to buy.

Before looking into the checklist and lead qualification frameworks, let’s discuss a possible approach to qualify a sales lead. to guide you.

Step-by-Step Method For Qualifying Sales Leads

It need not be an arduous effort in qualifying leads, especially if you take a step-by-step approach to it. So, how exactly do the sales lead qualification process work? Here is a method that always works.

Start Lead Scoring

Using a lead scoring model to obtain some of the crucial information you require without directly asking the prospect is a wonderful method to qualify leads. Based on how prospects interact with your brand and the data fields they’ve already filled out, the lead scoring model compiles prospect information. Their lead score increases as they interact more with your website, content, and communications. They are prepared to contact once they reach a specific number. With the right model in place, you can get the crucial contact information you need as well as extra data about the particular content and webpages they’ve visited, which will help you better understand their wants and pain points for their businesses.

This gives the prospect more of what they want during your initial phone conversation while giving you the chance to continue gathering the necessary qualification data to adapt your offering to their company’s needs properly.

Recognize your buyer’s profile

The lead qualification stage is far ahead in your sales funnel. Before even beginning lead generation, you must concentrate on creating an ideal buyer profile. Therefore, you must create an optimal profile by posing targeted questions:

  • What characteristics best describe a buyer? Whom do you wish to collaborate?
  • How much money do they make in a specific time frame?
  • What issues or difficulties do they encounter?
  • What sector do they work in?
  • Are you selling to a manager, an executive, or the business’s owner?

With the sales and marketing teams’ approval, you must use the information above to create a detailed buyer profile. Then, it can be used to qualify leads, which will surely help you save a ton of time and effort. Nothing is more discouraging than pursuing a lead who doesn’t convert.

Understand the distinction between intention and interest

You may look at and follow a lead’s activity with CRM such as Sloovi. You would be able to identify the worthwhile ones. If you learn that people read your blogs and leave comments on your posts, it suggests that they are interested in the product or service offered by your business.

They are interested in purchasing if they visit your sales website and look up the cost of your solution.

So, which of the two is superior? Compared to leads who just show interest in your product or service, those who have a buying intent might be categorized as better qualified leads.

Make sure the potential buyer is right before you close the deal

Relying on technology is not the best course of action. A prospect’s high score on your CRM software does not necessarily indicate they are the right person. Before you spend your time, money, or effort, be aware of who you should contact.

For instance, it would be unwise to proceed if the lead in front of you was a low-level IT manager and you were selling to executives. However, you can use this chance to network within the company and contact the decision-maker there.

Investigate the website of the potential clients’

You need to visit the website of the prospect’s company to learn more about the lead. You will learn the details you require, including whether they can buy your product or service. You can also get access to their contact details. You will learn more about the software they are using and their propensity to adopt your suggestions. It is a crucial action.

Utilize a CRM tool

If you are not currently utilizing CRM, you must get one because lead qualification depends on it. You’ll be able to manage large amounts of leads fast and effectively to generate more sales.

It is far preferable to use an all-in-one platform that aids in prospecting, outreach, and closing rather than purchasing a single CRM application. One such technology that significantly lessens the labor of sales teams is the Sloovi, which helps in sales outreach campaigns.

Having studied the method for qualifying sales leads, a checklist can be put side by side to ensure all questions tick the boxes.

Now, let’s look at the lead qualification checklist. Also, check out some guides B2B sales, SaaS sales and tech sales.

Lead Qualification Checklist

There are various things to look into before we consider how to qualify leads. Let’s take a look:

Interest

You must ask, “Does the lead want to purchase my product or service?”

Although it might seem like a simple question, the solution can be challenging. It is the first section of Even leads who appear to be qualified may not be interested in signing a contract. They may be interested in your good or service for the following reasons:

  • Their desire to subscribe to your newsletter to keep informed
  • The gifts you are providing

They may occasionally have a genuine interest in your offering but be unable to purchase it right away.

You can immediately ask someone if they want to buy your solution to find out. The following questions can be asked via phone, email, or chat:

  • Are you interested in buying our solution?
  • Can I make a pricing recommendation that will work for you?
  • Would you like to learn more about our solution?

The lead is not qualified if they respond with a “No” to any of the questions above or if they don’t respond at all.

Need

You need to ask, “Does the lead need my solution?”

Sometimes, those who wish to buy your product or service don’t need it. They might eventually notice this, and if they proceed with the transaction, you might have to deal with rejection or bad reviews.

What you should ask them is as follows:

  • What are your current objectives?
  • What stands in the way of you attaining them?
  • What measures are you employing to combat them?

You can determine whether your product or service is appropriate for the lead once you understand their demands better. It’s a crucial component of a lead qualification checklist.

Budget

Ask yourself, “Can the lead afford my solution?”

The subject of finance is not always simple to talk about. It is highly impolite to ask leads if they can afford the solution. You cannot inquire about a person’s financial capacity to purchase your product or service. A lead must be approached with tact, and you must exercise diplomacy.

This is how you must inquire:

  • Which approach are you currently employing?
  • Do you believe their asking price is reasonable?
  • What is the price range that, in your opinion, is reasonable?

You may get a general estimate of the lead’s budget by using the queries above. Again, you receive your response without doing the other person any harm.

Timing

“Is now the ideal moment to purchase my product?”

A lead would be interested in your product but not be ready to buy it. They will eventually be prepared for it, though. To contact your leads at the appropriate time, you can segment them and determine where they are in the sales funnel.

To determine the prospect’s status, you must respond to the following questions:

  • Where in the buying process are your leads?
  • What time window do they have to complete the purchase?
  • What is now keeping them from making a purchase?

Ask the potential client what the best moment would be to approach them to close the transaction if they are not immediately ready to make a purchase.

Authority

“Do they make the decisions?”

You must make sure you are speaking with the decision-maker, as you have previously read above. You can inquire about new customers’ purchasing power by asking the following questions:

-Who determines the solutions the business needs?

-Who should you speak with to find a potential solution to the issues your firm is facing?

-Does anyone else need to hear from me?

You will receive a response, and if the lead lacks authority, he will point you in the direction of the decision-maker.

Thus, your lead qualification checklist must include these questions as they will help determine if leads are worth pursuing.

Lead Qualification Frameworks

A lead qualification framework is a checklist that salespeople can use to assess a prospect’s likelihood of becoming a profitable client.

Every customer and every sale are unique, yet all closed, successful deals have several things in common. Sales qualification frameworks reduce these common attributes into generic qualities that salespeople can assess.

These are the popular lead qualification frameworks that can be used to qualify prospects:

BANT

Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing are the four characteristics of BANT. It is an industry-wide lead qualification methodology that IBM created.

The broad strokes of opportunity- and stakeholder-level qualification are all covered by BANT.

The following four facts are what BANT aims to learn:

  • Budget: Can the prospect afford it?
  • Authority: Does your contact have the necessary power to approve a purchase?
  • Need: Does the prospect have a business problem you can help with?
  • Timeline: When is the potential client going to purchase?
 how to qualify marketing leads

Knowing how much budget your lead has will help you determine whether your product can live up to their expectations; knowing their need and level of authority will help you determine whether there is a chance of making a sale, and knowing the timeframe will help you understand the urgency of their inquiry.

BANT hits the target on some opportunity-level needs while falling short on others.

There may be more than one “ultimate” purchasing authority. Therefore, involve all necessary parties early in the process and gain their consent.

Another area where BANT currently fails is “timeline.” For example, a stringent BANT qualification might advise you to cycle a lead into a closed-lost queue if they aren’t ready to buy until the following year.

However, you might be acting too soon. If you can, send over educational materials and offer to help until they’re ready to buy.

CHAMP

InsightSquared developed this framework. Challenges, Authority, Money, and Prioritization are abbreviated as CHAMP. It ensures that the crucial inquiries are raised first. It begins with the difficulties, demands, and discomforts the prospect’s company faces.

  • What goals does the prospect hope to accomplish by getting rid of the issue or discomfort? (Challenges)
  • How do people decide what to buy, and who makes those decisions? (Authority)
  • How much should the product or service cost to purchase? (Money)
  • From what date may implementation begin? (Prioritization)
 how to qualify inbound leads

When leads are unsure regarding the purpose of your product or service, the CHAMP approach works well. This approach starts by comprehending the difficulties that prospects face. If the product or service is appropriate for the prospect, it will be determined by your sales team. It aids in eliminating leads who do not require the requested product or service.

Although it has its cons. It is not as swift as BANT and requires you to find the return on investment.

MEDDIC

Jack Napoli invented MEDDIC (Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain or pain point identification, Champion) while working with the technology firm PTC. According to MEDDIC, sales representatives must be familiar with every step of the purchasing procedure of the target audience, right down to the existence of an internal champion—a prospective company employee who will promote your product internally.

 how to qualify b2b leads

Predicting accuracy has never been more critical for businesses that sell to large organizations. After all, losing just one sale can be crippling when each one is worth several million dollars.

GPCTBA/C&I

In response to shifts in consumer behavior, HubSpot developed the qualifying framework GPCTBA/C&I (Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline, Budget, Authority/Negative Consequences, and Positive Implications). Salespeople must give value in addition to product expertise since customers are approaching the sales process with more knowledge.

However, value cannot simply be “added” by sales representatives; instead, to be a trustworthy advisor, one must look beyond the specific issue their offering might address. It entails comprehending a prospect’s strategic objectives, the business model of their organization, and how the particular problem you’re describing fits into the overall context of their professional life.

 how to qualify your leads

Generally speaking, you can use any of the BANT, CHAMP, MEDDIC, or GPCTBA/C&I acronyms to determine whether a lead is a qualified prospect.

Value, however, cannot simply be “added” by sales representatives; rather, to be a trustworthy advisor, one must look beyond the specific issue that their offering might address. It entails comprehending a prospect’s strategic objectives, the business model of their organization, and how the particular pain point you’re describing fits into the overall context of their professional life.

A lead is regarded as a sales qualified lead and is advanced to the next step in the sales cycle if it fits your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and is thought likely to make a purchase.

Now in Your Hands

Successful qualification is essential for improved sales lead and sales success. Your business’s success depends on the ability of the sales team to locate prospects who are a suitable fit. Prospects who become satisfied customers improve sales, word-of-mouth advertising, referrals, and the potential for cross- or upselling. Therefore, you must do it correctly.

Sloovi offers valuable insight with its sales qualification process. The software helps your decision process due to its offerings. In addition, it offers to smoothen your business journey and revenue by helping qualify leads for conversion.

 how to qualify leads customer think

Sloovi is a CRM software that helps generate a sales-qualified lead. A sales prospect is easily identified via its data drive reports.

Own this great CRM software to ease your business pain points via sloovi.com.