How to Qualify Sales Leads

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Sidney Jones
November 21, 2022
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min read

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Qualifying sales leads is crucial to your team’s success. When you focus on selling to prospects who have the interest and the intent, you only speed up the sales process and increase conversion rates.

Even though sales leads are imperative, 61% of B2B marketers find that generating high-quality leads is their greatest challenge

We want to help you avoid the challenges with lead qualification! So keep reading because we’ll share with you tips and frameworks to quickly disqualify prospects and get to the decision-makers who need and want your solution the most. 

What’s Lead Qualification & Why Does It Matter? 

During your discovery call (check out the 7 steps to the best discovery call), lead qualification is the process of finding out whether or not a prospect has the potential to become a paying customer. 

While lead qualification might sound trivial, and you may even think it’s best to try to turn every prospect into a loyal client, it’s important to evaluate a prospect’s qualifications because there’s a huge difference between interest and intent. 

Someone may have an interest in your solution but that doesn’t mean they are ready to buy (try these tips to warm them up!). 

If you try to sell to a prospect who doesn’t need your product or service, you’re only dragging out the inevitable. You’ll eventually come up against an obstacle that no amount of objection handling will take down, and the deal will fall through. 

A solid lead qualification process will help you decipher between interest and intent with every prospect. 

Here are some ways you can quickly qualify leads…

Know Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

Make sure from the beginning that you have an ICP and clear guidelines for what your target prospect should look like. 

You should have a target industry, a target company size, targeted persona pain points, etc. 

The more specific you can make your ICP, the easier it will be to quickly qualify or disqualify prospects. 

For help with building your ICP, take a look at this article

Figure Out the Prospect’s “Why”

No one wants to be sold to. Instead, most people identify pain points on their own, and then go online to do their own research on solutions well before they ever speak with you for the first time. 

In fact, 70% of buyers define their needs on their own before they ever engage with a sales rep

You need to keep this in mind and figure out the prospect’s “Why” ASAP. 

In other words, what brought the prospect to you today at this very moment? Did they see a change in budget? Were certain roles added or eliminated? Did priorities change? Were new goals created? Has their competitive landscape changed? 

Whatever the reason, you have to figure out what made the prospect want to look for a solution now.

Leverage BANT

The one lead qualification framework you want to leverage is BANT. This article tackles BANT in detail, but to give you a quick, cut-and-dry version, BANT stands for…. 

  • Budget 
  • Authority 
  • Need
  • Timing 

These are the four factors you want to base your lead qualification on. 

Does the prospect have the budget for your product or service? We’re not just talking money here either. What is it costing them to go without your solution? Establish early on whether or not the cost the prospect is paying (in wasted time, wasted resources, etc.) justifies your asking price. 

Is the person you’re speaking with the final decision maker on whether or not your solution gets a “Yes” or a “No?” Or are there multiple people you should talk to? On average, seven decision-makers are involved in a B2B buying process (Spotio). Figure out early on what the decision-making process looks like and who you need to get your solution in front of. 

Is the prospect experiencing pain points that not only make your solution necessary but desperately needed? If there’s no clear urgency for your solution and if there are no relevant pain points, there’s a good chance this prospect isn’t qualified. Read this to learn how to create urgency and close leads FAST.

Lastly, what does a realistic timeline for your prospect look like? In other words, when you take into account budget approval and the decision-making process, how long is it going to take your prospect to give a final decision?

Ask the Right Qualifying Questions

Closely related to BANT, you want to make sure that you are asking the right questions to figure out whether or not you have a great business opportunity in front of you.  

A good qualifying question strikes a balance between being targeted (and capturing the BANT criteria) and also being somewhat open-ended.  

Here are examples of great qualifying questions…

  • Who on your team would regularly use this product?
  • What problems could our product help eliminate?
  • Have you tried to solve this issue before? If so, what was great about that solution and what could’ve been better?
  • In order to be a happy customer, what would you like to see from this product?
  • What’s going to happen to your organization if this issue persists? 

We hope this article gives you the tips and strategies to easily qualify leads, so you have more time in the day to focus on prospects who need and value your solution the most. 

And if you’re looking to for more leads to qualify, consider signing up with Seamless for free today. Having verified over 1.9 billion contact and company records in 2021, Seamless will give you access to professionals in your target market so you can spend more time selling and less time worrying about lead generation.

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