The difference between a good salesman and a poor one is often shown in the way they go about qualifying leads. A lead, also known as a business lead or a sales lead, refers to a potential customer who shows interest in the products or services offered by your company.
A successful salesman, prioritizes lead qualification as the cornerstone of their strategy . Instead of asking themselves, “how to make extra income while working full time?” they focus on identifying and focusing on high-value leads, allowing them to speak directly to their individual needs more efficiently and close deals faster. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essential criteria for effectively qualifying leads so that you can close deals faster, earn extra money, and potentially turn your side hustle into a full time job.
Identifying Key Criteria for Leads:
- Demographic Fit: Before you even begin a sales pitch, you want to consider the primary demographics and if they align with your ideal customer profile. Start by considering who the perfect customer is for you, consider factors like industry, company size, budget and job title, then while conducting lead generation research be sure that your desired profile matches with the potential lead.
- Budget Availability: While you may be negotiable on some aspects of your ideal customer, know that a lead must have the budget required for your product or service. This criterion allows you to pitch confidently without the pressure of offering discounts that will land you with more work and less resources, and prevents you from wasting time on leads unable to make purchasing decisions.
- Authority: There is nothing worse than building rapport for days, weeks, or even months only to realize your new contact is only the customer service rep, and has no power to make decisions. Avoid this early on by seeking out decision makers within the company. They are the only people who can truly say “yes.” If you sell to non-decision makers, such as an administrative assistant, they only have the authorization to tell you “no. Engaging with decision-makers expedites the customer journey.
- Need or Pain Point: To further qualify a lead you wan to focus on identifying customer pain points. Knowing whether a company is struggling with the sales pipeline, or financial pain points can heavily influence your sales strategy. By accurately assessing whether the lead has a pressing need and successfully showing how you can support pain points with solutions you are more likely to convert.
- Timeline: Understand the lead’s timeline for making a purchase. An aggressive sales and marketing strategy may not be the best choice for a lead who is not seeking a solution for some time; similar to the way a relaxed no pressure strategy would result in a missed sale for the client with urgent needs. Best practice is to align timelines in order to prevent chasing leads who aren’t ready to buy.
- Engagement: Measure the lead’s engagement with your social media content, emails, and website. Of course this may take a little extra effort in terms of qualitative research, ; however, doing so will help you avoid process pain points because research indicates engaged leads are often further along in their buying journey.
- Competitor Landscape: Evaluate whether the lead is considering alternatives. If they’re exclusively exploring your solution, they’re more likely to convert. Fit with Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Determine if your solution aligns with the lead’s specific needs and objectives
- Prioritize Criteria: Not all criteria are equal. Prioritize based on their impact on lead For instance, a lead’s budget availability and authority might be more critical than their engagement level.
To offer real life applications towards qualifying high value leads we will present three scenarios-John, Mary, and David each of which offer a unique qualifier, yet not a perfect customer profile. We will review each and qualify the leads below:
Scenario 1: Demographic Fit In our current business landscape, understanding the demographics of our target audience is crucial for effective marketing. One such demographic segment that holds great potential for us is individuals working in the software industry. These professionals possess a unique set of skills and interests that align with our offerings. Allow me to introduce John, a marketing manager who perfectly embodies our ideal customer profile within this demographic. With his extensive experience and knowledge in the software industry, John brings a wealth of insights on the challenges and pain points that our products or services can address.
Aside from his expertise, John’s job title as a marketing manager places him in a position of influence within his organization. This means that any decisions he makes regarding the adoption of new software or technology solutions greatly impact the company’s success. Thus, by engaging John as a customer, we not only gain a valuable advocate but also establish a strong foothold within his company.
Furthermore, the size of John’s company is also a critical factor in determining the potential value of this partnership. With a larger organization comes a greater need for robust marketing strategies and cutting-edge software solutions. By understanding the unique challenges that companies of this size face, we can tailor our offerings to meet their specific needs, enhancing our chances of success in securing John as a loyal customer.
In summary, John’s alignment with our ideal customer profile based on his job title, industry background, and the size of his organization presents an exciting opportunity for us. By leveraging his expertise, influence, and the specific needs of his company, we can build a strong and mutually beneficial relationship that drives growth for both parties involved..
Scenario 2: Budget Availability Mary’s company, recognizing the importance of our type of solution, has taken the significant step of allocating a specific budget to fund its implementation. This strategic decision not only highlights the value they place on our solution but also ensures that Mary has the necessary financial means to proceed. By setting aside a dedicated budget for our type of solution, Mary’s company demonstrates their commitment to attaining the desired outcome and addressing the challenges they currently face. This allocation underscores their recognition of the potential benefits and opportunities that our solution can bring to their organization. With this financial backing in place, Mary can confidently move forward with the implementation, knowing that the necessary resources are available to support each stage of the process.
The allocated budget provides her with the flexibility to invest in any required tools, technologies, or expertise needed to successfully integrate our solution into their existing operations. Furthermore, the budget availability serves as a clear indicator of Mary’s company’s intent to prioritize and fully embrace our solution. It demonstrates their willingness to make a substantial financial commitment, evidencing their belief in the positive impact our solution will have on their overall performance and strategic objectives.
Overall, the allocation of a specific budget highlights the dedication and foresight of Mary’s company in recognizing the unique value and potential of our solution. With financial means secured, Mary can focus on seamlessly implementing our solution and realizing the numerous benefits it promises to deliver.
Scenario 3: Authority David, the CEO of his company, possesses an exceptional level of authority that significantly contributes to the effectiveness and efficiency of decision-making within the organization. As the head of the company, David wields the power and responsibility to make crucial decisions promptly and with a comprehensive understanding of the various factors at play.
This authoritative position allows him to navigate complexities and embrace challenges in a manner that yields favorable outcomes for the company. David’s ability to exercise authority in decision-making enables him to swiftly respond to evolving market dynamics, customer demands, and internal needs. This agility ensures that the organization remains competitive and adaptable in today’s rapidly changing business landscape.
Furthermore, David’s informed decision-making is a testament to his vast knowledge and expertise in the industry. By staying well-informed and up-to-date, he can leverage his deep understanding of market trends, competitor strategies, and emerging technologies to guide the company on a path of sustained growth and success. In addition to his strategic insights, David fosters a culture of collaboration and inclusivity within his company. He actively seeks input from key stakeholders, valuing diverse perspectives and encouraging open and transparent discourse.
This inclusive approach not only fuels creativity and innovation but also promotes employee engagement and a sense of ownership in the decision-making process. Overall, David’s authoritative role as the CEO empowers him to lead the company with confidence and astuteness.
Through his comprehensive understanding of the organization’s goals, combined with his well-honed decision-making skills, he steers the company towards prosperity while ensuring its continued relevance in a competitive business environment.
By implementing these 8 key steps for lead qualification, you’ll empower your sales team to focus on leads with the highest potential for conversion. This strategy enhances efficiency, optimizes resource allocation, and ultimately accelerates your sales process. Master the art of lead qualification, and watch your sales soar.