When we talk about lead qualification, we’re referring to a process wherein it is determined which prospects are good sales leads to chase after. Plenty of people might express interest in a product or service, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to pull the trigger just yet. As such, lead qualification is an essential part of any sales approach and helps you weed out non-customers so you can make that final sale.
As important as this may be, it often gets ignored during the sales process. After all, a click is a click, right? But these days, marketers are trying to figure out how to get deeper into the weeds, creating a clearer pathway from prospect to customer. Here’s how lead qualification can play a role in a successful sales campaign.
Creating Customer Profiles
First, you need to collect a lead’s contact information and decide whether or not they’re even worth pursuing as a potential sale. There are a few categories they may fall into at that point, including:
- Unqualified leads who aren’t considered a suitable match for your product or service and thus aren’t worth chasing after.
- Marketing qualified leads are ready for more information about your products and services, but may not be ready to buy in just yet. This group is ideal for further contact whether that’s through direct calls, mail, emails, or targeted ads.
- Sales qualified leads are prospects that are likely to convert at some point. They have an interest, even a need, for your product or service. Salespeople are most excited about these kinds of leads as they often only take a bit of extra persuading into converting to a sale.
If your leads have any interest in your product, that’s when you need to begin information gathering. What level is their interest in your product? Would they actually use your product or service? Do they make enough money to buy? Are their current economic conditions appropriate for purchasing your product or service? Do they have the authority to allow that purchase to happen? These kinds of questions are critical when it comes to closing a sale and the more insights you can gain about your audience, the more likely you are to increase your numbers.
Qualifying Your Sales Lead
If asking all of these questions is important, how do we actually answer them? Sometimes fact-finding sales calls can be useful. Other times, sales teams rely on quantitative, data-driven processes to gather info on their audience. You can use this based on analytic data like how often your audience uses social media, what your clickthrough rate is for emails, how often people visit your website, and what their last engagement with your brand may have been.
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