The world of telecommunications is constantly changing, and your business helps others adapt to these changes. Whether you’re installing a new VoIP system, acting as a middleman between a company and their business phone provider, or implementing a united communications as a service (UCaaS) solution, your work helps other companies stay productive every day.
Before you start helping other companies maximize productivity, your telecom business needs a steady source of potential customers and signed contracts. And for those signed contracts to be worth it for your business, they need to come from qualified leads.
Finding qualified leads and turning them into clients isn’t an easy undertaking. You have to know the type of clients you prefer, how to determine if a lead fits your criteria, and how to move them through the sales pipeline. If one step of your lead qualification process fails, your whole B2B appointment setting program could suffer as a result.
Want to create a lead qualification process that works every time? Keep reading to learn more about the role of qualification in B2B appointment setting and three ways to make your process fail proof.
Lead qualification is the process of determining whether a potential customer would be a good fit for your business. It may sound easy—how hard could it be to figure out whether a prospect fits your ideal customer profile? All you have to do is ask a few questions and you should have the answers you need. However, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes during the qualification process.
Qualifying a lead could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, and it typically involves these steps:
- Preliminary research: When your sales reps create a list of potential prospects, they can use the internet and social media to find qualifying information. But there’s no way to know if the information found is accurate. A database might pull from an outdated source and say a company has over 50 employees when in reality they only have 35.
- Cold calls: One way to confirm if your data is true is to cold call your leads. If the phone numbers found during your research phase are correct, you can use them to get in touch with contacts from your target companies. From there, you can ask qualifying questions such as “What communications system do you currently use?” or “How many employees use your phone line on a daily basis?”
- Emails: Sometimes, leads don’t answer phone calls. Other times, the phone numbers you collect during research are incorrect. If cold calls don’t work, email is an excellent alternative when qualifying leads. You can ask the same qualifying questions over email, although you can’t guarantee a response. That’s why it’s crucial to use both communication methods.
Lead qualification may only take up a small portion of your B2B appointment setting program, but it’s an essential component. If you don’t qualify your leads, your appointment setters will waste hours nurturing leads that don’t need your products or services, can’t afford your telecom solutions, or don’t fit your target customer profile. A few hours of lead qualification at the beginning of your appointment setting process could save you hours of wasted time down the line.
Now that you know how to qualify leads and why it’s an integral part of the appointment setting process, here are three tips you can use to make your method infallible.
Before you start qualifying leads, you should create a list of essential questions every sales development representative (SDR) should ask. If each SDR asks different questions, you won’t have a consistent definition of “qualified” across the board, and you might end up nurturing leads that don’t belong in your pipeline.
Every telecom business has different criteria for leads and specific services they provide, which means that qualifying questions will vary across companies. Some examples of qualifying questions for telecom lead generation include:
- What is your industry? If you prefer to work with companies in certain sectors, such as healthcare or finance, this question helps determine if they fit your criteria. However, you shouldn’t automatically disqualify a lead just because it doesn’t fit your target industry.
- Who is your key decision-maker? Having the right KDM isn’t typically a qualifying factor, but reaching the right person during the qualification process will help you get accurate information. Decision-makers are more likely to know their budget, telecom needs, and potential timeline.
- How many employees do you have? Many telecom companies are picky about their contracts. A client with fewer than 50 employees may not be worth your time or services. By asking about employee count, you can decide if the lead is a worthwhile opportunity.
- What’s your budget? The average telecom deal size in B2B appointment setting is $20,000. Some telecom companies will accept any deal, regardless of size. You may want to stay at or above the average. To ensure a lead will fit your preferred contract size, you should ask about their approximate budget.
- Who is your current telecom provider? Some leads already have a third-party telecom provider. Others work directly with a carrier, such as AT&T or Verizon. To discover if you’re competing for a partnership or simply adding value for a lead, you should ask about their current telecom situation.
- What are your current challenges with telecom? Like most businesses, you have certain services you specialize in and a few you don’t offer. A lead may experience issues with their landline phone and need outside help. If you only offer VoIP services and the lead won’t consider a switch, they’re not qualified. However, if they’re experiencing problems you can solve, you should move them forward in your pipeline.
Not every lead will respond to all of your qualifying questions, but you can usually tell if they’re qualified after a few answers. Asking every prospect the same questions helps you ensure that the sales opportunities in your pipeline fit the same definition of “qualified,” regardless of which SDR spoke with them.
It takes 47 days for the average telecom lead to set an appointment, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have outliers that spend multiple months or even years in your pipeline. During that time, your lead’s qualifications may change. The best way to keep track of your qualified leads is to take detailed notes after every correspondence. A customer relationship management (CRM) platform makes this process simple.
After your initial qualifying calls, your SDRs should create a record for each lead and include their answers to your qualifying questions. Then, if a different SDR or closing sales representative communicates with the prospect later on, they can see the qualifiers that make them a good potential customer.
Additionally, detailed notes enable you to spend more time nurturing the most qualified leads. If your lead profile says “fits criteria,” there’s no way to tell how qualified they are. However, if your notes include details like “100 employees, $50,000 telecom budget, healthcare industry, unhappy with their current provider, interested in VoIP,” it’s easy to tell that they’re a highly qualified lead. When an SDR sees that a potential customer checks off all of your qualifying boxes, they can spend a few extra minutes on the phone to improve your chances of securing a deal.
Too busy helping your telecom clients to focus on lead qualification? Partner with Abstrakt for lead generation and close more deals with your ideal clients.
You get to know a lot about your potential customers during the lead qualification process. This information isn’t just relevant during the first stages of B2B appointment setting; it can be incredibly valuable throughout the entire process. Your leads typically don’t move straight from qualification to appointment setting—you have to nurture them toward a sale. Using qualifying information to personalize your messaging could increase your chances of setting an appointment.
For example, a lead might tell you during a qualifying phone call that they want a faster, more reliable network with more cloud computing capabilities, but they don’t know how to make it happen. In a follow-up email, you could send them a sell sheet describing your SD-WAN services. Sending relevant marketing collateral not only demonstrates your value but also shows your lead that they’re not just another sale.
Companies that use their qualifying information to enhance their lead nurturing process tend to set more appointments with high-quality leads, which leads to more contracts and increased revenue.
If you want to use B2B appointment setting to grow your telecom business, you need a streamlined qualification process that works for every lead. Effective lead qualification allows you to focus your nurturing efforts on the best opportunities and secure long-term partnerships with clients.
However, mastering the art of lead qualification isn’t easy—you need strong attention to detail and a defined plan. Forgetting to take notes after a call or asking qualifying questions early on in the sales process can throw off the next steps of your appointment setting process and negatively impact your revenue.
If running a DIY lead generation program on top of your day-to-day duties is too much to handle, rely on Abstrakt to find qualified leads for your business. We follow a proven four-step B2B appointment setting process that ensures every lead fits your criteria. Then, we set qualified appointments between your leads and your sales team. We handle the logistics of finding, qualifying, and nurturing leads, and all you have to do is close the deal.
Ready to grow your business? Contact us today to learn more about our B2B appointment setting services for telecom companies.