The pursuit of new business can be a time-consuming process for any organization. As sales teams are requested to chase deals, unqualified leads can waste essential time and resources, lower sales conversions, and at worst, bring discouragement within the sales team. In order to improve lead conversion and optimize your sales pipeline, leads need to be properly analyzed to ensure they’re worth pursuing even before the sales team hears about it.

This is where lead qualification comes in.

What is a lead?

By definition, a lead is a potential customer that may be interested in your product or service. However, your business must decide whether the lead is the right fit or not. Leads are your first point of contact in the sales cycle – one that may (or may not) convert into a sale.

Your goal is to not only convert leads but to identify whether the lead is in fact worth the pursuit. This is why lead qualification is a necessary component.

Setting guidelines for qualifying leads

Qualified leads are good business opportunities that deserve your sales team’s time and effort. They are the lifeblood of new business; understanding the importance of qualifying leads can save your sales team time and improve your sales conversions.

Depending on your business, leads come in from a variety of sources: web forms, tradeshow business card exchanges, inbound and outbound calls. At each touchpoint, there may be leads with inadequate quality, including wrong or fake contact information and spam. Even if it’s the right customer for your business, the lead can be someone that is not the decision maker, lacks the budget, or has an undefined purchase date, therefore it is not worth the time of your sales team and should be disqualified.

In order to properly decide whether a lead is qualified or not, there are many common criteria that can be used. Your industry may have even more specific factors to take into consideration.

Here are the five of the most common criteria that your business as a whole should use when evaluating leads:

  1. Need – Does the lead have a functional or specific need for your product or service?
  2. Interest – Does the lead have interest in your product or service?
  3. Budget – Does the lead have the budget to make the purchase?
  4. Timing – What time frame is the lead able to make the purchase?
  5. Decision maker’s role – Is the lead one of the decision makers? If not, can they influence the decision maker?

Who makes the qualification?

One of the best practices in lead qualification is to have the job of qualifying leads separated from the sales team. By bringing the lead qualification process to one or a few people, you’ll have more consistency in your lead process and allow you to efficiently keep each department focused on what they do best. In most cases marketing department is responsible for generating qualified leads whereas sales team is accountable for the conversion qualified leads to sales.

Why is lead qualification important?

Qualifying your leads is essential for a variety of reasons:

  • For your sales team, it saves time and provides better focus by ensuring resources are never wasted chasing leads that won’t generate sales.
  • By providing qualified leads to your sales team, you’ll be able to see which member of your sales team closes the most sales and performs at the highest sales ratio.
  • Helps you identify which of your sales and marketing channels generate better quality leads.
  • Introduces a new marketing KPI by identifying qualified vs. unqualified leads brought in through your marketing efforts.
TeamGram helps you sell more and assist in the lead qualifications process. By importing your leads using one-click import, you’ll be able to qualify leads from within TeamGram. As you’re analyzing your leads, you can mark them as qualified or disqualified – and even rate your leads using a 1 to 5 rating scale. Afterwards, you can assign them to your sales team to begin communicating with them. Once your sales team has received confirmation that the lead has intent to purchase, they can instantly convert the lead into a contact and start the deal process.

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