The Necessary Traits Of A Sales Qualified Lead
Recognizing a genuine sales opportunity can directly impact your sales results. Bandwidth is constrained, time is short, and targets are high. This is why talking to anyone other than a highly-qualified lead is a waste of valuable time. So the easiest way to make the sales team start using their time more efficiently is by staying focused on qualified leads.
A Sales qualified lead (SQL) is a prospective customer that is considered eligible for moving to the next step in the sales process. A sales-qualified lead would have demonstrated an intent to buy your company’s product/service and met your company’s criteria of lead qualification that defines whether the prospect is a potential buyer. Usually, this category is restricted to a prospect that has crossed the engagement stage and needs to be pursued for conversion into a customer. So, these are the folks you should be talking to! But is that what happens?
Unfortunately, no! A study conducted by Marketing Sherpa revealed that 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to their Sales team; however, only 27% of those leads are qualified.
Not understanding what is a qualified sales lead looks like could be a major challenge. So, let’s take a look at the necessary traits of a sales qualified lead.
An Identified Need
For a prospect to be a qualified lead, they should be first aware of their need. A real prospect will know they have a problem and should be invested in finding a solution for it. Your inside sales team or even your marketing communications should use the right questions to help drive the realization whether the prospect is aware of their need. The actions and responses of the prospect could help drive the classification.
A different priority can be assigned to various prospect actions, such as responses to marketing materials or activity on the website. Depending on these actions you can create a lead-scoring process. For example, repeat visitors should be prioritized over a first-time visitor, and specific activities, such as downloading a case study or filling out an inquiry form should give the lead a higher score. This will help your team distinguish between someone who was merely kicking tires and a prospect who is earnest about buying.
Authority to Make Decisions
It may not be fruitful to spend time and effort on a contact who does not have the authority to make a purchasing decision. The title, role in the organization, or job descriptions on their LinkedIn profile can help your marketing or inside sales team promptly ascertain if the person they are considering is a decision maker and is in a position to buy.
Financial Ability to Buy
A prospect’s financial ability to buy your product/service plays a huge role in determining whether or not they are a sales qualified lead and are worth pursuing. This usually means that they have a sense of a ballpark budget at some point in time in the process. Knowing precise numbers isn’t necessary as long as you ascertain the fact that your product/service’s price and the prospect’s ability to pay are within the same range. This is why the websites carry price indicators or bundled options. Your inside sales team could ascertain if the prospect already has a competitive solution and this helps establish a benchmark of how much they are used to spending. And in case, they don’t have a solution yet; you could look at the kind of issues they are looking to address and the financial impact of not addressing those. That helps drive a pretty fair sense of the amount of money they would be willing to spend to fix the issue.
An Urgent Requirement
Timing is everything in sales. The sales team is under constant pressure to meet their targets, which is why they need to know whether or not a prospect is in a hurry to make a decision. These are the people who need maximum TLC. Your inside sales folks responsible for appointment setting should ask the right questions to find out if a prospect has a fixed timeline to make a decision. Another way to look at the probability of the decision being made sooner rather than later is probing to identify if there is a compelling event that could drive closure? Is there a product launch lined up during an industry event? Is there some economic or public occasion that links up to their business? This is important because if the prospect is aware of the problem and has a clear-cut need but for some reason does not have clarity on the timing, your sales approach would be different. You can get your team to nurture them until the time is right and set up meetings for a future date.
While determining a threshold is an obvious move, a survey revealed that 71% of B2B marketers do not have a lead scoring mechanism. And out of those that do have a lead score threshold, 65% do not nurture their leads. Isn’t it surprising?
When the sales leads are qualified better, they can be addressed strategically. This is when they produce phenomenal results. This is a win-win -your customers are satisfied because they feel like you understand their needs, your marketing team feels appreciated and motivated, and the sales team feels successful because they can apply the right approach to close the deal.