Lead qualification refers to the mechanism of gauging the abilities of the customers in terms of their willingness and financial standing to make a purchase. The process assesses many factors such as if the lead needs to make the purchase right away, if the lead holds the authority to make the purchase, along with knowing about the amount they are ready to spend.
Despite working through the sales qualification campaigns, there would still be some leads that will drop out of the sales funnel.
This article covers elements that pertaining to lead qualification:
- Introduction to Lead Qualification
- Introduction to Sales Qualification
- Lead Qualification Process
- Lead Qualification Checklist
- Lead Qualification Framework
- Recognizing Importance of Lead Qualification
- Examples of Qualifying question
Introduction to Lead Qualification
There is always that one conversation between the sales rep and the customer which helps the reps explore and achieve an insight into the thought process of the customer. The questions, the subtle indications that let the reps learn about the customer purchasing behavior. They also understand the procedure of making the sales pitch to the right customer.
However, this is more strenuous than it seems. A dwindling conversation may not give all the right clues to the rep and they may lurk around the client, not sure if they should pursue further or move on. This is the place where the Lead Qualification is required.
There is a certain set of questions or rather the way the conversation shape up so that it gives away enough information about which way the deal is moving. Signals of the customer being interested in the product is what make them qualify as a lead, and therefore, lead qualification is an essential part of sales.
Introduction to Sales Qualification
Sales qualification refers to the process that helps understand if a prospect is appropriate for the product or service that you are selling to them. Sales qualification happens during the calls with the leads which provides an indication about the lead mindset. It is a significant process as it helps give clarity on whether or not a lead is serious about the deal.
Significance of Sales Qualification
The points mentioned in the following help us know the relevance of sales qualification:
Helps Focus on Leads with higher Prospects of Buying
Rather than spending more time on leads that don't qualify, it is better to direct your attention toward prospective customers.
Helps With Focused Selling Experience
It lets you determine a more concise and specific group of buyers, where you can provide a targeted and focused selling experience.
Helps Develop Customized Solutions
It allows you to closely observe the client’s problems and pain points; thereby enabling you to develop modern solutions.
Helps Identify multiple Business Aspects for Revenue Generation
It helps you access multiple aspects of your business that will generate revenue for you.
Helps Establish Different Sales Qualification Processes
It is possible to establish different sales qualification processes for different market segments, while still maintaining a personal touch when pitching.
Lead Qualification Process
Companies set their goals, draft strategies, and seek long-term sales prospects. To bring about all of these, they require a pool of leads who are interested in their services or products. However, finding a number of leads that are well-qualified is no child's play. The sales teams need to work out a number of techniques to find out ways to qualify them. Qualifying the leads is the only way forward to optimize the process of lead qualification.
Lead qualification essentially translates into the leads that are genuinely interested and look forward to purchasing the product. Another key aspect is to check if the leads showcase the financial affordability of buying the product.
Gauging all these points is called qualifying the leads which help reduce the time taken to bring the lead to purchase and close the deal successfully. An integral part of the lead qualification is segmenting the leads and jotting down the ones that offer much better prospects of purchasing than the rest.
As depicted in the chart, there are diverse kinds of leads in sales:
- SQLs are the Sales Qualified Leads which represent the set of leads that are readily engaging with the sales reps.
- PQLs are the Product Qualified Leads. This set of leads show an active interest in the product by registering free of charge or signing up for a free subscription plan.
- CQLs are the Conversion Qualified Leads. These are indicative of the leads that have submitted a form and have converted on the company portal.
- MQLs are Marketing Qualified Leads who will be receiving digital marketing communication in the form of emails, offers, and so on.
- Unqualified Leads are the ones that haven’t qualified and haven’t been assigned to any sales team for further process.
Now that we have understood the various types of leads, the next step is that these leads are forwarded to the lead qualification framework. Once there, the leads will undergo a sequence of qualifying questions. Doing so will help you assess if they can be carried ahead or not. In other words, they are judged for their idealism or suitability for the product.
The next step involves having them segregated into qualified and disqualified leads. While the qualified leads are passed on to the sales process, the disqualified ones are sent for nurturing. Nurturing helps them get insights about the product gradually and leads them to conversions and purchasing in the future.
That concludes the lead qualification process.
Lead Qualification Checklist
The led qualification checklist is an efficient way to establish all the facts before making a call to the lead. It enables you to work around all the necessary items and start the right conversation with the prospect.
Here’s a checklist you could use before commencing your conversation:
- Buyer profile: Check if the buyer's persona is like what perceive it as. Assessing the buyer's profile lets you know if your prospective customer fits into your ideal client profile (ICP)?
- Company Information: You must check how big is the company, and know more about its contact details.
- Online behavior: Estimate the amount of time spent by the leads on your website. You can do this by tracking the page views, the number of downloads, and how frequently they visit.
- Recognize Problems and Generate Solutions: Figure out what concerns the leads and how you can bring innovative solutions to them.
- Social media engagement: Check if your posts receive any likes, shares, retweets, or click-throughs on Facebook or Twitter.
- Detecting Spam: A good way to check for spam is by looking at their email addresses; if they use Gmail, Yahoo, or any other mail ids instead of the corporate mail ids, then this may be indicative of a red flag and you could let them go. Another case could be of the lower case use while filling up the online forms. They could possibly be bots that need to be steered clear of.
Although this list isn’t exhaustive, you could use these points to begin the process and attempt to reach the finishing line successfully.
Lead Qualification Framework
In this section, we are going to address 5 Lead Qualification Frameworks:
The frameworks are essential to help the salespeople know if the leads are spending any time and effort on their products.
BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing)
There has been a lot of interest in BANT since its introduction in the 1960s. The framework allows salespeople to prioritize and narrow down the leads based on the budget, purchasing authority, and interest in the product. A qualified lead is one that meets at least three requirements. Despite its popularity in the 1960s, this framework is barely used in today's date. Instead of having a genuine conversation with leads, this method involves the sales representatives asking predetermined questions.
Having been introduced in the 1990s, the MEDDIC framework assists with determining what a customer is looking for in a product. It identifies and stands for:
- Economic buyer
- Decision criteria
- Decision process
- Identifies pain
If you understand the client's expectations, you can explain how your solutions will help them. Additionally, knowledge about the decision makers and the considerations of your lead before making a decision can also be obtained.
CHAMP is a framework that is similar to BANT but focuses more on the challenges the clients face. Through this framework, the reps can learn about these challenges and let the clients know how the product can help them come out of it.
You can let the client know how your services or products can help them move ahead in their plan of goal achievement. Furthermore, you must get a grip of your client’s priorities and understand how your product/service will be applied in their scheme of things. Once you have gained this information, it gets convenient to draft an ideal and pragmatic plan to expedite the process.
In this framework, you must assess if your lead is the decision-maker and the lead will take things forward from there. So, in other words, ANUM primarily focuses on the fact if your client has the authority to make the decision of purchasing. The framework helps you assess if the lead is good enough in accordance with your ideal customer profile.
GPCTBA/C&I (Goal, Plan, Challenges, Timeline)
As you evaluate prospects through this framework, you will be able to learn more details about their plans and problems. In this process, the sales team needs to provide competent solutions by taking cognizance of the problems the clients are facing. As this framework is characterized by properties of prioritizing, it helps you collect valuable data and work towards offering rational solutions.
Goals: These are the entities you need to identify because these are important for your client. They would be making a purchase either to save money or to generate revenue out of it. However, some clients may not have a predefined goal and are yet to identify their goals. This could be a golden chance for the salesperson to act as an advisor and help the client quantify their ideal goal.
Plan: A plan is nothing but a strategy that is to be implemented in order to achieve the goals. As a member of the sales team, once you know what your client aims to achieve, it should now be established that what would be the methods adopted to achieve these goals. You need to know of their current plans and designs as that would help in case it fails, there could be a Plan B to fall back on.
Challenges: This could be termed as one of the most crucial parts of sales. Here, you need to assist your clients with identifying and overcoming any challenges and hurdles that may appear on the way.
Timeline: Timeline is all about the time taken to achieve the goals. There is a plan that is designed and implemented in order to accomplish the targets which is also a part of the timeline. Also included in it is the time taken to identify and win over the challenges.
Recognizing Importance of Lead Qualification
We have observed the definition of lead generation and now, in this section, we shall see the outline of the significance of the process. Here they are:
Lead qualification saves you a lot of time by taking you directly to the right prospects and letting you speak to them. It is vital that your team identifies the right prospects much early on in the process to avoid wasting time and this can be done by learning and understanding buyer personas.
The buyer personas can lead you to a lot of information such as the lead’s industry, the buyer’s role in the deal, their company size, location, and so much more. You can also know about their buying ability. All these factors are key determinants of whether or not you should be spending more time on a prospect.
Enhances Closing Rates
Successful and high closing ratio is all that any organization aims at. It comes as no surprise that lead qualification has a huge role to play when it comes to this milestone. Identify, shortlist, and adopt a mechanism that guarantees revenue generation. Therefore, it becomes immensely important for the team to put up an outstanding process that ensures victorious outcomes with crystal clear terms.
There are terminologies that are paramount when we speak of lead generation. These are scoring and lead nurturing. Lead nurturing is a process that facilitates enhanced efficacy and enhanced conclusions in the qualification process. Lead nurturing corroborates personalized consultation through which the prospects can receive the right information about the product. The entire workflow is driven towards having a quicker movement on the sales funnel, eventually leading to closing the deal with the final purchase.
Examples of Qualifying question
While this section presents a list of some good qualifying questions, you may come up with one of your own based on the kind of business and the client’s studied persona.
- Could this product be helpful in solving your business challenges?
- Is this problem being addressed with any solutions? What makes you look at other options?
- What are routine hurdles you expect the product to eliminate?
- In what way will this project fit into your budget?
- Is there anything holding you back from attempting to resolve the issues?
- If you were solving this problem, what would be your top priority? If you had to choose one feature, what would it be?
- Are there any key people authorizing the decision for the purchase and who would they be?
- Would you be using the product frequently? Will you be including other members in your team to use it?
- How do you visualize success after you have used this product?
- May I check-in or call back (on the particular date and time)?
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Before we wrap up, let’s go through the main points discussed in the article:
- Lead qualification is the process in which the sales team assesses the abilities of the customers in terms of their willingness and financial standing to buy a product.
- The process helps the reps understand the kind of itching they need to make.
- The Lead qualification offers multiple advantages such as focused selling experience, leading to prospects with higher potential, and develop customized solutions.
- The various kinds of qualified leads (SQLs, MQLs, PQLs, and CQLs) are fed into a lead qualification framework(s); they are then judged by the framework if they are qualified or disqualified.
- The lead qualification checklist includes checking the buyer profile, company information, online behavior, social media engagement, and recognizing problems to generate solutions.
- MEDDIC, ANUM, BANT, CHAMP, GPCTBA are the frameworks discussed in the article. These are some of the most commonly used frameworks across industries.