There’s one thing we never get tired of: Scouting for leads. As Sales professionals, we always get excited when we get our hands on a lead. But one question which we fail to ask ourselves before we go all out to close the deal is, “how qualified is the lead?” Usually our sales and growth projections come by taking into account all leads. This consists of the leads which are even not qualified (by standard parameters), and most of the times, the projected target is not achieved. So, how do we go about qualifying a lead to make sure we are not wasting each other’s productive time? Here are some tips which have worked for us.
Weigh the lead – Most sales people find it very tough to contain their enthusiasm when they get in touch with a lead. They almost are unable to see the bigger picture, as to how the sale will play out down the road. A common notion is that if anyone enquires about the companies’ services, automatically the lead gets qualified.
One old and time tested technique which works best to qualify leads is called BANT (Budget, Authority, Need & Timeline). This IBM pioneered approach works wonders to make sure we are talking to the right person and that there is a budget allocation, need and a projected timeline to engage our services. If any of these criteria is not met, we need to be a bit careful about our time and efforts.
Ask the right questions to the prospect – Asking the right questions is an art. It’s just like taking a brief before getting your team involved to come up with the right solution for the customer. Keeping your eyes and ears open, probing, acknowledging the prospect and then pitching is the right order to follow. We need to make sure our pitches are not premature, which may deviate our focus to the wrong direction. Research shows that more than 12 percent of the prospects are likely to buy from us, if we are able to create an emotional connect with them. And this begins by asking the right questions. Questions focused on the decision making authority and the existence of any possible qualification criteria for a preferred vendor may also help you weed out less serious prospects.
Work together – Though Sales & Marketing teams are considered to be different countries altogether, they can work really well together to save the overall cost of the company while looking for leads. The marketing team should know what the Sales Team is looking for as an ideal target group, and how to qualify a lead which comes in. At the same time, The Sales Team should be passing on the right demographics and profile of their desired target audience, so that both the teams work efficiently. This process can prove to be very efficient with the right top level managers in supervision.
What techniques do you follow to qualify a lead? Please feel free to share them below.