What you need to know about lead qualification

Growing your consumer base is integral to the evolution of your brand, however, understanding how best to expand your clientele and qualify leads is challenging. Too much valuable time can be invested in pursuing dead leads. Subsequently, morale can feel compromised when prematurely attempting to improve conversion rates with the lead being at the wrong stage of the buyer's journey.

A formal lead qualification process is imperative to improving your conversion rate. This is Method's guide to identifying how to best qualify your prospects and leads.

What is a lead qualification?

Lead qualification defines the complex practice of assessing which prospects (potential customers) are most likely to follow through from an enquiry or initial interest to commit to a purchase. Regularly used within business-to-business sales, lead qualification is a crucial process of the sales funnel or flywheel and a defining stage of a business development plan.

Maximising efficiency and efficacy requires an intelligent and meticulous approach to business. Intrinsically understanding every stage of the sales cycle will aid your marketing and sales team's processes and positively impact profit margins.

Actionable metrics relate to data that demonstrates which practices are successful and which aren't. Forms of actionable metrics are revenue, cost per lead, cost per sale, customer acquisition cost and customer lifetime value. Described as measurable, actionable and scalable, actionable metrics provide clear cut data essential to helping scale marketing strategies.

Lead nurturing

Relationships are a key feature of lead nurturing. The fundamental practice of establishing and growing your connection with existing and potential relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel or flywheel is essential to inbound marketing. Through these processes, opportunities are provided to help recognise how important your leads and customers are to the evolution of your brand.

How to qualify a sales lead

When nurturing leads, consistency is key. Your customer base seeks consistent, reliable and authentic qualitative and quantitative data, which form the basis for trusted investment. Although communicating your sales process and validating data is a delicate matter, convey the correct language and create a script to cascade to each department to forge a cohesive brand identity.

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Define buyer personas

Refining your brand's buyer personas will offer deeper insight into your targeted, ideal consumer. Buyer personas serve an important purpose, providing a useful opportunity to prioritise your clienteles pain points, enabling your brand to seed content that will sit better with your target consumer. Ensure customer data is current, from industry, size to revenue and demographics.

Research potential customers

Never assume your customer is the only component of the sales funnel who could and should conduct their market research; failing to prepare is preparing to fail when it comes to forecasting a successful lead qualification plan. Instead, do your background reading, find out who fits your criteria for a viable consumer match and just as importantly, be clear as to whom doesn't.

Ensure you know the ethics and trajectory of a brand, map out the companies values, history, scale and mission statement. Professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn are as useful to scrutinise as informal social media hubs Instagram and Facebook, map out the coercive language and target audience to glean helpful information

Know what questions to ask

An expert commands all the correct answers by asking the right questions. Craft carefully strategised questions to extract finite detail, cutting straight to the heart of your professional client-facing conversations. Open-ended questions which encourage candid discussions around pain points, values and non-negotiables are imperative.

Use SPIN questions

Situation: Establish the buyer's current position.
Problem: Identify problems the buyer might encounter that your product solves.
Implication: Establish the causes and effects of these problems.
Need-Payoff: Promote your brand's winning sales points.

Distinguish between interest and intent

Interest data is commonly identified as what a consumer or clientele base is generally interested in. These are long-term areas of interest. In contrast, intent-based marketing is more current and of immediate importance. Interest and intent data differ because intent-based marketing speaks to what consumers consider purchasing within days. However, the intent is generally more transitory.

Score your leads

The lead score predicts potential consumers buying intention; the higher the score, the more likely the client will invest. From job title, industry, uniques, email click-through, various attributes determine all lead scores. For every attribution that applies to your leads, points are scored. Once a lead scoring system is in place, staggering reviews at periodic chapters help reflect when and where systems can be tailored to forecast better-qualified leads.

Capture all the data

In most CRM systems, the concept of lead capture refers to documenting and managing information to evolve a lead to a paying customer. CRM software is a fundamental element in capturing consumer data. From measuring customer analytics to automating communications, customer behaviours and characteristics in CRM software allow for all critical information to be checked, charted and prioritised.

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Methods for lead qualification

BANT

Simple but effective, a lead is qualified as viable if three out of the four BANT criteria are:

Budget: How much equity is available to spend?
Authority: Who is in charge of purchase decisions?
Need: What are the brands immediate and prospective needs?
Time: When should a solution be put into action?

CHAMP

Each element of the consumer-centric framework is a crucial piece of information that helps predict the probability of potential customers becoming paying customers.

Challenges: What might stand in the way of success?
Authority: Where does the authority for decision-making lie?
Money: What finances are available.
Prioritisation: What's important and what's not?

GPCTBA/C&I

This framework is devised by having an effective response to changes in buyer behaviour. GPCTBA/C&I makes sure salespeople not only sell services and products effectively but also add value during sales.

The framework is structured as follows:

Goals: What are your brand's foremost priorities?
Plans: How will you strategise to achieve these?
Challenges: What poses an obstacle to achieving these goals?
Timeline: When, why and how?
Budget: What funds are available to accomplish these planned actions?
Authority: Who creates the plans and signs off on actions.
Consequences: What is at stake if these common goals are not achieved?
Implications: What additional opportunity might become available?

So whatever your preferred model, ensure your brand's approach to qualifying leads is executed professionally and consistently, then simply sit back and watch your engagements ride an upward curve along with your profit margins.

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