Leads drive business, but not all leads can be dealt with. Hence, it requires planned efforts to identify which are quality leads and which are not. In addition to that, it requires proper nurturing as well. Each organization has different lead qualification and closure methods.
What is a lead qualification?
The process of forecasting the likelihood that a prospect will make a purchase is termed as a lead qualification. Every stage of the sales journey witnesses this process and ultimately decides whether the prospect will be funneled down the pipeline or not.
Lead qualification happens at the initial inbound marketing stage. At this stage, the marketing team tracks contact information through site visits, social media, or email subscriptions and then decides if the lead matches the profile of the company’s ideal customer or not.
This qualifies the prospect and encourages moving on to the next stage. This is the stage when a sales representative initiates a conversation to reveal the prospect’s needs, purchasing authority, and if they have any financial constraints.
The call from the sales representative to the prospect is called ‘discovery call’ and information gathered during this call further decides if the prospect is viable or should the marketing team take the time to pursue someone else.
Why is lead qualification important?
Lead qualification is vital for every marketing department of any company as it saves time, energy, and, ultimately, the company’s bottom line. It occurs at an early stage in the pipeline, ideally when the sales team is establishing initial contact.
Lead qualification lets the company determine:
- If the prospect will benefit from the product you offer
- Will your product addresses their need and solve their problem
- Whether the prospect has the budget and authority to make a purchasing decision
- Can you provide value over your competitors to your prospect
What is a Lead Scoring System?
Lead scoring is yet another essential step used to rank prospects against a measurement that represents the perceived value each lead represents to a company. A lead scoring system lets you assign values to prospects and those are based on actions they take, behaviors a prospect exhibit. With such an effective method, you will be able to rank leads to determine which prospects are ripe for nurturing and which are ready to engage with your sales team.
Take a look at the important guideline to lead qualification & closure:
Understand Lead Quality
The first and foremost thing for lead qualification is to understand lead quality. There are specific leads who are far closer to purchase others and you must recognize this quality as early as possible. Understanding the lead quality means it takes lesser work for the company to get the messages to nurture them towards the sale.
The quality of leads varies as they progress along with the sales funnels. The marketing and sales teams should respond to these changes and deliver targeted messages at each stage of the buying process. This will ultimately nurture leads towards making the purchase.
Understanding Lead Value:
The next crucial step is to determine the lead value; in this stage, it is essential to determine how valuable each lead is expected to be to your business. It’s essential to understand that a prospect who makes a single and low-value purchase is not at all beneficial to you compared to the one who buys a company’s most expensive product. Naturally, a repeat customer who keeps coming back and completes more sales is always the most significant lead.
To create an integrated marketing and sales with lead qualification, this is essential to understand the difference between the two broadly used term-
l Marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
l Sales qualified leads (SQLs)
MQL or a marketing qualified lead: It is the lead that is engaged with your brand through various means- such as your website, social media, PPC ad, etc. This means they’ve shown value as a lead and are qualified. However, they haven’t proven they’re sales-ready yet.
SQL or Sales qualified leads: These leads have progressed further along the buying process and taken specific actions. These are defined as sales-ready. Finally, this is the moment where the sales team steps in to close the deal.
Every efficient marketing strategy has a useful lead qualification and closure procedure. Without such a strategy, we cannot distinguish between the prospects that matter most to your brand and the ones that are going to waste your marketing resources.
You need to understand that in any marketing strategy, prioritization is not the only role in lead qualification. What is most necessary is to be accurate, estimate the value of purchase intent of each prospect, and ultimately identify what is more relevant and effective. Also, you need to know that your marketing messages are going to change along the entire buying process. Lead management requires developing a proper strategy. Firstly, the team must build a buyer’s personas, create relevant marketing content, and distribute this content through various marketing channels. This makes the team efficient in reaching the required step-up for lead qualification and closure process.