Do you qualify your leads?
When you are looking for new sales leads, do you qualify them before adding them to your list? If so, what data do you find important when trying to qualify leads?
JefAny number of words have been written on the subject of prospect/sales qualification. So in short, as answer to the first, yes. The question is somewhat circular. If a lead is not qualified, they are not a prospect. If a prospect is not qualified, they cannot be nurtured. Qualification happens, for the most part, whether actively managed or not.At length, in answer to the second, I have four basic questions I ask as lead qualifiers. Qualified prospects are those who answer all the questions, with a predominance of A responses. If 2 or more B answers are received, the lead goes onto the list as a low priority. If any question is not/cannot be answered, the lead is scored even lower.Qualifying Questions for service-based businesses:Q1. How many customers do you currently service per week? And what level of increase is desired? A1a. Increase of 10 – 20%, we are more interested (realistic goal)A1b. Increase of 50% or more, we are less interested (unrealistic, or desperate)Q2. What is the expected timeframe to achieve this goal? A2a. Specific (weeks or months) – we are interestedA2b. Non-specific (wishful thinking) – less interestedQ3. Has a budget been considered? A3a. Percentage of desired sales or fixed amount – interestedA3b. Driven by new sales (wishful thinking) – less interestedQ4. What is the level of commitment? A4a. Pressing need – interestedA4b. Partner buy-in required or other factors need alignment – less interestedHope this helps.
Qualification can be a powerful useful first step. Define your target customer and then work backwards from a series of initial questions to determine whether they are fitting to what you can best sell to them.
Most would still be added to your list, however a clearer understanding and foundation is pivotal to the next steps in the sales process.
Do you qualify your leads? Yes
Do you qualify them before adding them to your list? No - All leads are added to my database and calls are made. At the end of each call the lead is given a status code based on the confidence in that lead.
What data do you find important when trying to qualify leads? Probability to convert lead.
With any process the workflow is important and status codes are a good way to drive that process. The first thing I do is segment the leads and call the leads I believe are more valuable to me. This could be based on company size, existing relationship with the company or their location to name a few.
Once the leads have been segmented the calls start and at the end of each call that lead is given a status code and a follow-up date. If the lead is junk I leave it on the system and label it Junk so staff no in the future.
What information is valuable to me to help decide if a lead is good or bad is basically the same across all products and services. Interest level, affordability and time to convert.
If someone asks for a call back in 12 months staff will schedule a call in 12 months however the priority is very low. On the other side if someone wants a meeting asap however we don't believe they have the ability or finance to go through with a sale, we will focus on calling other leads in the area and schedule meeting to decrease the chances wasting time on the trip.
Steve hit the nail on the head with his Q&A's. There are set questions that need to be asked and these do depend on the product/service you are offering however the examples Steve gave can be used for just about anything. If there is no budget set they are not ready, if there is no timeline then they are not ready. They could be ready in 6 months however they are most likely "kicking tires" at the moment.
For me all leads are important, good and bad. For this reason all are loaded onto the system and retained. That way I can see the history of any lead and when loading more leads there is no chance of double ups. No one likes to call the same company twice with the same sales pitch only to get the same negative result. Keep track of good and bad leads as it saves you time. Some bad leads can be converted in the future and the only way to do that is to keep them on your system.
Some great responses on here to your question Jef.
All the information is spot on.
For me all leads must be captured, this is simply the Lead Gen stage which is completely separate to the qualification stage. Capturing this raw Lead Gen data and entering it into a CRM is a must for understanding what is working to actually generate those leads in the first place.
In some cases leads might be weighted depending on the source.
When it comes to qualifying you need to have an understanding of what your ideal customer/client looks like. Steve is absolutely correct don't be afraid to have classifications for qualified leads.
As a couple of members have pointed out yes, it might simply be that right now doesn not intersect with time, solution/product/service, price, need, benefit but they are still a lead and can still be qualified.
All the best.