Ooh, we all love nice new leads, don’t we?
As a business owner, marketing director or sales rep, seeing a juicy, red-hot lead drop onto your desk is exciting. What lies behind it? How big will this particular deal be?
Woah, there – hold your horses.
Is that lead even qualified?
There’s a reason 61% of B2B marketers find generating high-quality prospects hard work. Ensuring that juicy lead is actually ‘red hot’ isn’t very easy at all, and the fact remains that a lot of the leads that land in your inbox probably aren’t anywhere near the most exciting part of the buying journey.
What makes a lead qualified?
So, how do we determine qualification?
There are typically two elements of a qualified lead – its fit and level of interest. Let’s break them down:
- The fit: this should point back to your audience personas (which you created some time ago, didn’t you?); their job title, geography, industry and many other elements will define whether or not they’re a qualified buyer. Historical trends should help you narrow down those definitions, but a lead is more qualified if it closely fits your persona.
- The level of interest: sometimes referred to as ‘engagement’, this indicates how interested the lead is in actually purchasing something from you. If they’ve only visited your website once or liked a tweet, for instance, they’re probably not very engaged. Someone who has requested a brochure or picked up the phone to ask for a demo clearly has a high level of interest and is therefore more qualified.
This stuff is, on the face of it, blindingly simple, but far too easy to overlook amidst the excitement of receiving new leads.
Questions to ask yourself during the qualification process
Thankfully, there are a number of simple sanity checks you can undertake in order to assess how qualified a new prospect is.
Here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before assuming your big commission bonus will 100% be due at the end of the month.
1. Is this person the primary decision maker?
A receptionist who has accessed your website and asked for a brochure during a particularly dull shift probably doesn’t have the decision-making abilities you’d desire.
The finance director, owner or someone at the helm of a department that directly relates to the solution you’re offering, probably does.
Spend more time following up and chasing the latter – because they can probably say “yes, I’ll have one, please”.
2. Why haven’t we converted leads in the past?
The lead qualifying process should be based in part on your past performance.
Take a look back at the leads you didn’t convert – the ones that slipped away. What was it that prevented the prospect from becoming anything more than an off-the-cuff enquiry?
Was the product a bad fit? Was the timing wrong? Perhaps the budget was just way off?
The more you can learn from past lead losses, the more easily you’ll identify the hot prospects.
3. What makes a good or bad lead?
Your sales and marketing teams will have invaluable feedback on the quality of leads.
When you’re on the frontline of either team, you’ll encounter leads that are, let’s not beat around the bush – garbage. And you’ll know why they’re garbage.
But you’ll also know inherently when a lead is worth your time.
People may have varying opinions on what makes a lead good or bad, but it’s worth listening to all of them, because there’ll be a common thread somewhere which will help you sort the wheat from the chaff.
If a lead isn’t qualified or even right for the business, you need to move on – pronto. Time really is money in the sales game, and the stronger your lead qualification process, the more time you’ll spend on the good business that comes your way.