Lead Qualification—What It Means and Why It Matters
If you were asked what the most important part of a sales process is, you’d probably go with the obvious answer—closing a deal. Even some of the most experienced sales representatives will say this. Closing a deal is great not only for the sales rep but for the whole team. It means you’re that much closer to hitting your sales goals. What many people often forget about is the early stages of the sales process, and an important part of the early stages is lead qualification.
What Is Lead Qualification?
Lead qualification is a sales activity in which sales representatives perform tasks to determine whether or not a prospect is a good fit as a customer for their business. Several things can qualify a prospect as a ‘good fit,’ knowing that they fit your target customer profile and have a good chance of becoming a long-term customer are some of the most important.
Tasks that sales reps may perform to qualify a lead include the following:
Research. Sales reps can do their own research to determine if a lead is qualified, but, more often than not, a conversation will be required.
Cold calling. By cold calling prospects, you can hopefully get a key decision-maker on the phone and ask qualifying questions.
Emailing. Email is another popular form of communication used by salespeople to communicate with prospects early on and ask qualifying questions.
Once you deem someone a sales-qualified lead, you can then move them along in the sales process. This is why it’s so important to qualify leads as early as possible.
Why It’s Important to Qualify Leads Early and How to Do It
The earlier you can qualify leads, the better, and the reason for this is simple—when you’re not qualifying leads early, you’re wasting time. Sales reps are talented, specialized individuals, and their specialty is closing deals, not prospecting and qualifying leads. It’s critical that you have a dedicated marketing or sales development team doing this so that your sales representatives can focus on what they do best: selling. Time is money, and if your sales reps who are skilled at pitching and closing deals are spending their time qualifying leads, they won’t close as much.
Even better than having your marketing or sales development representatives (SDRs) qualify leads: qualify leads in real-time. Using site analytics, you can gauge how much interest a particular prospect may have in your product. Or, use sitewide forms to ask prospects qualifying questions before they even contact you. Live chat features also enable you to talk to prospects who are on your site in real-time, qualifying them before they even enter the sales funnel.
Learn what B2B appointment setting could do for your business.
4 Reasons Why Lead Qualification Is Important in B2B Sales
Aside from the fact that qualifying leads early saves you time and money, lead qualification is also important for a number of other reasons. Here are four reasons why you should prioritize lead qualification as a part of your sales process.
1. It allows you to focus only on opportunities that matter
If you’re wasting time calling and emailing leads that aren’t qualified, you might lose other opportunities. Some of the best deals your sales team will close are the ones that require more effort and nurturing to convert. If you’re unable to give them the attention they require to close, you may end up losing these high-value opportunities. Per a study by MarketingSherpa, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance.
2. You’ll close more deals that last
If you take the approach of working every single lead in your pipeline, you might close some deals, but they won’t be the ones that stick. Nurturing a lead and developing a relationship with them before they sign on will prove to be worth it in the long run. But, if you have too many leads in your pipeline, you won’t be able to nurture them as well. A deal that closes will provide short-term value, but if the customer cancels a few months later, was it really worth it? Focusing on lead nurturing and qualification will result in happy, long-term customers.
3. You can personalize your messaging more
Lead qualification is important because it allows you to spend more time on other essential sales activities and move qualified leads further along in the sales funnel. When you determine what leads are qualified, you can focus on activities like following up, developing relationships with people in your pipeline, and adding value by sending marketing materials such as case studies.
Lead nurturing is an extremely important part of a sales program, and without lead qualification, you won’t be able to do it. Building a lead nurture process is no simple task, and performing that lead nurture activity can be extremely difficult, too. If you have hundreds of prospects in your pipeline at any given time, you won’t be able to nurture all of them the way you’d like to. Suppose you’re only focusing on nurturing opportunities with a high likelihood of closing. In that case, you’ll be able to send messages that are more personalized, and you can talk to your contacts more frequently.
4. Your close rates and revenue numbers will increase
This might seem obvious by now, but lead qualification will also help you boost your revenue numbers and close rates. The key takeaway here is that your sales and marketing teams need to be on the same page. Your closing sales reps and sales development team members need to have one common goal and know what a qualified lead looks like. From there, you can develop a process that not only helps you efficiently qualify leads but helps you maximize the conversion of qualified leads into sales. Cross-departmental communication can help with this.
There’s no doubt that lead qualification is an important part of any sales process, but here’s the thing—you still shouldn’t have to worry about it. For example, say you’re a commercial cleaning company looking for janitorial leads. You probably want to spend the majority of your time improving your business and serving your current customers.
That’s why Abstrakt Marketing Group was founded. We’re a professional lead generation company with over a decade of experience helping B2B businesses grow their business. Our B2B appointment setting services take care of the time-consuming activities; prospecting, lead qualification, lead nurturing, cold calling, and emailing, so you can focus on what matters—bringing on new clients and growing. You close the sale; we’ll set the appointments.