Every successful company tends to have a big amount of potential leads at the top of their sales pipeline. But only a few of them can be converted into customers.

Therefore, for understanding this filtering process and ensuring that you effectively use your time on each lead, you should sell strategically by determining whether a prospect is a good fit for your project/service or not. That’s where sales qualification comes in.

What is lead qualification?

Qualifying leads is one of the most important stages in successful sales. This is a process of understanding your product/service and customer market well enough to know whether a lead fits your ICP (ideal customer profile), has a chance to become a customer and, what is more important, can be converted into a long-term customer or not. Thus, before calling a potential client, take time and make research on them, their business, market, the size of their company, geography, needs, etc. Qualifying a sales lead is absolutely crucial as it helps you with the next points:

  • You definitely will not waste time on prospects that will never buy.
  • If you qualify a lead correctly, you will know what to expect from them and what the deal size will be.
  • You will not close the deals that can have a really damaging effect not only on your career, but also on your company (people can write a bad feedback about your product or ask for a refund).
  • You will know who your real target is.
  • You will understand how to sell to them because they are already qualified to the degree where you have a clear understanding of what kind of organization/person they are and how your product can solve customer's pain points.

Levels of qualifying in sales

  1. Creating an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). For optimization of sales process, every company should develop its ideal customer profile - the best way to ensure that you are focusing on high-quality leads. While creating ICP, you should keep in mind next things:
  • To determine whether your leads have need for your product and are willing to pay for it.
  • To understand what benefits from your product they will have and whether it will solve their challenges ( i.e. to reduce expenses, to increase productivity, to improve customer service, etc.).

Defining an ideal customer will help not only to target the right type of client, but also to make a sales process much easier and much more effective.

  1. Applying the right lead qualification framework. Establishing right lead qualification framework is an essential part of the qualifying process. With the help of it, a sales representative is able to determine if a prospect is likely to become a successful customer or not. There are different methodologies for qualifying sales leads such as BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing), MEDDIC (Metrics,Economic buyer, Decision criteria, Decision process, Identifying pain, Champion) , CHAMP (Challenges, Authority, Money, Prioritization), ANUM (Authority, Need, Urgency, Money), etc. For better understanding, let’s have a closer look at the first and most popular one.

BANTis a qualifying framework used by a vast number of companies in a variety of markets. It stands for:

  • Budget. Here you determine if a prospect has the right budget for purchasing your product or service.
  • Authority. At this stage, you should not only qualify authority, but also fully understand a decision-making process, i.e. who signs a contract, authorizes it, who writes the PO (purchase order).
  • Need. You need to define prospect’s challenges and needs and whether you can provide them with a solution. The purpose of the following point is to single out your prospect’s goals, work out what has already been done to achieve them, and make suggestions for improvement by offering your product or service.
  • Time. Asking your prospect questions about their deadlines and the time they are planning to buy a product, enables you to maintain proper control of your sales process and create a bit of urgency.
  1. Mastering questioning techniques. Every salesperson needs to learn how to ask the right questions in the right way. By using questioning techniques, you will be able to engage a prospect in the conversation and, thus, get more valuable information. There are three types of questions:
  • Open-ended questions. For avoiding a mere “yes” or “no” answers, use questions which start with what, who, where, when, why, how. For example, “How long have you been facing this issue?”
  • Closed questions. They are used to follow up open-ended questions and qualify the responses. The example of it can be “Taking into consideration all your requests, would you like me to find the best solution for you?”
  • Conditional questions. This type of question creates a sense of urgency and helps to clear up doubts. Make an offer providing a special benefit and requiring immediate purchase. For example “Will it work for you if we offer a 10% discount?”
  1. Implementing Lead distribution software. In order to be able to take leads in from a variety of sources and to indicate the leads who are qualified and those who need a bit more nurturing, you are recommended to implement a lead distribution system that will save you endless hours and maximize your revenue on each lead as well.

To learn more about LMS, check out our article “What is the best lead distribution software”.

Sales success depends very much on effective qualification. Therefore, the ability to find an appropriate prospect that will not only increase the revenue of your company, but also bring referrals and the possibility of cross- and upselling. Start following our sales qualification tips and get on the top of sales. Moreover, we are going to describe other qualification frameworks in more detail in our upcoming articles. So stay tuned!