What’s more valuable to your company – a list of five qualified leads or a list of five hundred suspects? As experienced B2B sales teams know, it all depends on their level of qualification. Wasting time with leads that cannot or will not buy is certain death.
A qualified lead is one that represents a likely opportunity for your company. Failure to effectively qualify leads could lead to any number of unfortunate scenarios.
To avoid these scenarios, there are four specific questions you must pose to every lead with whom you connect. Add these questions to your existing lead qualification process or use them as the foundation for your lead qualification criteria.
1. Could our solution solve a critical business issue at your organization?
This question speaks to the lead’s needs. By understanding the lead’s environment, the scope of the specific issues they face, and how soon they expect to resolve those issues, you can start to understand whether your solution will be a good fit.
If there’s no critical business issue that you’re able to address, then you can move on. However, when there is an issue you can address, it’s important to get a sense of timing. That way, you can determine where the lead stands in the decision making process and follow up appropriately.
2. Who will be making the buying decision?
You need to find out who has decision-making authority. If your first point of contact doesn’t have it, this question will get you closer to the person who does.
If your contact says that a committee of stakeholders will be making a recommendation to management, find out all you can about the committee and ask who’s leading it. Then, contact that person and continue qualifying the lead.
3. Is there a budget to resolve the critical business issue?
After you’ve reached a decision maker and confirmed a need for your solution, understanding their buying process with respect to their budget is critical. A lead isn’t qualified until you know whether the company has funds available to invest.
And by the way, asking whether a company has the budget to purchase your solution isn’t invasive – it’s just practical. Serious prospects should have no problem answering and you’ll avoid wasting additional time with someone who can’t afford to become a customer.
4. What’s your timeline for getting started?
Depending on the nature of your solution, a satisfactory response could be “We don’t know.” The purpose of this question is to determine:
- Whether a lead has realistic expectations about resolving a critical business issue
- Whether they’re amenable to engaging with your company
For example, if it takes six weeks to implement your solution and the client needs to go live before the end of the month, the lead might not be a good fit. On the other hand, maybe the lead was expecting a protracted, multi-phase launch but you can have them up and running in under a month. If so, you’ve just uncovered an additional way for your company to add value.
Ultimately, qualifying leads is an art. Conversations with leads can take unexpected turns, and the tone you use might vary along with a contact’s attitude and disposition. At Intelemark, our agents are experts at recognizing the art and they know how to uncover leads that are likely to become customers.
Contact Intelemark today to qualify your leads and discover organizations with the need and the ability to do business with you!