By Erika Sommer, Content Writer at PipelineDeals
In our sales sphere, it’s important to sift through the sheer volume of leads to determine which ones to qualify. A sales qualified lead (SQL) is one that has been explored by both the sales and marketing teams, and has been determined as a candidate to nurture through the sales process.
But there is a method to the madness. We need to learn how to determine a quality lead from a flounder.
And in order to do so, you need to learn about the candidate. Tracking the lead and where they are coming from can give you a wealth of valuable information.
We categorize the leads as funneling in from three potential channels, all of which are outlined in further detail in our Building a Lead Machine eBook.
Track one is personal networking. This could be a lead who you already have a relationship with. Or maybe they’re a referral from someone you know? Just keep in mind how important it is to check with the referral source for more information and background on the lead.
Track two are marketing led/inbound. An inbound lead is one where the customer comes into the funnel on their own, through various forms of advertising and marketing. Examples include blog posts, social media, email campaigns, and SEO.
Track three are sales led/outbound. An outbound lead is one you sought out through cold calling a list of prospects, direct email, paid search, and more.
So, whether the lead comes from track one, two, or three, you’ll need to do some research before contacting them. Search them via LinkedIn, and their company website. From there you’ll be able to grasp which market they’re in, as well as what product or service will best suite them.
Contacting the Lead
When you contact the lead, you’ll want to ask them some questions to help determine whether they’re qualified. You can qualify them based on the BANT concept of qualifying leads: Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline.
Start by asking about their project and budget. Have they purchased a product similar to yours before? Also, ask if they have a budget approval or if that is something they need to negotiate with their boss.
Make sure to ask questions surrounding why they feel the need to purchase your product. Is there a problem they are looking to solve? And last but not least, make sure to get the time frame for when they’re looking to implement the service or product. This is important for the on-boarding process.
After asking these initial questions, you should be able to place them in a bucket that will outline their interest in your product. Are they a “tire kicker” who isn’t interested? Or are they an “opportunity” who has a project and a budget?
If you end up deciding that the lead is someone who probably has no real interest in the product, don’t rule them out. As we like to put it, “every lead is a networking opportunity.” Every lead has potential.