How to Qualify a Sales Lead Correctly
What it means to qualify a sales lead: When the marketing team receives leads from their marketing efforts, they have no idea whether those leads are suitable for their business or not. Qualification starts the minute a lead is received and continues up until a sale is made.
Leads can switch from qualified to unqualified and vice versa at any point in the sales cycle and it’s up to the sales team to ask the right questions. But what makes a qualified or an unqualified lead?
A common system for scoring and qualifying a lead is called BANT. It stands for:
Does the lead have the budget to afford your solution?
Affordability is a common obstacle to sales. It’s important to ask the right questions to qualify or disqualify a prospect based on budget. This must be asked before you waste valuable time chasing down a sale.
Here are some of the right questions to ask:
- If this is the right solution for your needs, will funding be available to move it forward?
- What is your budget for this kind of project?
- How does the budget signoff process work?
- What are you currently spending on this issue?
Understanding what your lead can afford can help you decide right away about whether you will move them further along the sales cycle or disqualify them altogether.
If your prospect is currently using another product, what they spent on that product can be a good indication of their affordability. However, one must also note that people will try to push down the price as far as they can and use affordability as an excuse. If you ask the above four questions, you will almost always get the answers that you need to qualify a prospect based on budget.
Does the prospect have the decision-making authority for this purchase?
Oftentimes you will first start by talking to non-decision makers such as a department Manager or even a Team Leader. These people know they need your solution, but they must take it up with upper management for approval.
There are many cases where everything goes well until the final meeting with executives and it all comes crashing down. Therefore, involving these key decision makers from the beginning will save you time.
Ask your current contact whether you can involve decision-makers in the first meeting. If they are too busy, at least send them a copy of your proposal.
What is the prospect’s business need?
Need is the biggest driver of sales. Does your prospect actually need your solution or is it something they can live without? The greater the need, the higher the motivation for purchase.
Now, we must say that a need can be created. Sometimes a prospect doesn’t know they need something until you point out its value.
The key word being value. To qualify based on need, find out how much value your prospect puts on a solution such as yours.
A good question to ask is:
- What does it mean to you if the issue was solved? What are the consequences if it goes unresolved?
In what timeframe will the prospect be implementing a solution?
It can save you a lot of time chasing down a prospect if you know their timeframe. They may be interested in your product but only plan on purchasing in the future. For them, meeting with you is an information gathering opportunity, but for you, it’s time wasting.
This also ties in with the “Need” factor. If a prospect truly needs your solution, they can push the purchase closer. It’s up to you as a salesperson to make them see that.
Ask the right questions:
- When do you see yourself purchasing the solution?
- How will it impact your business if you wait another year or two?
- Do you agree that you need this solution by x date?
Qualifying prospects can be time-consuming and costly. That’s why we offer lead qualification as part of our offering.
Here are other things we do for you:
- Source leads for your business
- Qualify those leads
- Cultivate and nurture those leads
- Give you sales-ready leads
Click here to learn more.