Lead generation is a crucial aspect of your sales process. While maintaining a steady pipeline of leads is important, what most B2B companies don’t realize is that the quality of leads generated matters the most. Ultimately, your product or solution is going to be bought only by the right customer. Hence, it is fundamental that you have a lead generation process in place which is efficient and produces high-quality SQLs.
According to a study by Hubspot, 61% of B2B marketers forward their leads directly to sales and only 27% of them turn out to be qualified. Why does this tend to happen? The main reason for this is the inadequacy of the right resources handling the inbound sales leads. You probably have an administrative assistant who forwards numbers to your sales team or an auto-response email process that drives the leads to them.
Whatever be the case, if you are not following a systematic process of qualifying your leads in the initial stages of the process, you are missing out on some important potential clients. Remember that your sales team’s time and attention are very valuable and need to be used wisely. Free up their time from talking to the wrong people and let them invest whole-heartedly on the right prospects. From the moment you start following this practice, you will see a rise in the number of rewarding conversations and conversions that can be achieved.
So how exactly do you term a specific lead as qualified? Elaborate discussions and useful insights around them can help gain a clear picture of how warm, hot or cold a lead is. These discussions specifically need to be carried out by an experienced Sales Development Representative from your team. Someone who has good communication skills and decision-making abilities, and is up to date with all the features of your product/solution.
If you lack such resources within your company, you can consider outsourcing it to an external Lead Generation agency. The right partner agency can work as an extended arm of your Business Development and simultaneously coordinate with your in-house sales team to track progress. An outsourcing model like this will help you save time, money and effort, and help focus on the important aspects of business growth. Click here to know more about our Lead Generation process.
So how exactly do you avoid wasting time on the wrong prospects? The key is to ask the right questions and have good listening skills! Give the customer some time to provide an overview of their situation, be it at any stage of the buying process, and then assess the knowledge to gauge whether they are capable of moving on to the next stage or not. Put your pursuing skills into action accordingly.
Here are some questions to help you go about the conversations:
‘Is this budget accounted for in your current scheme of operations?’
‘Are you the sole decision-maker or are there other parties involved?’
If they have a dire requirement for your solution, they already have some budgets kept aside for this activity. So ask questions to get a confirmation on this.
Make sure you are aware of who the decision-makers are (if there is more than one) and how important is their role in the buying process. The presence/absence of decision-makers will also help you understand the seriousness of the deal.
‘How are you using your current solution?’
‘Do you currently have a vendor for this? If yes, how satisfied are you with their performance?’
‘What are the major challenges/pain points you are facing?’
‘How does this solution fit in your overall business operations?’
Understanding where your solution stands in terms of the value it can provide to your prospect’s business and how well it can align with their small-term and long-term business goals can be a major deciding factor in the deal.
‘How soon would be ready to implement this solution at your organization?’
If the need is not urgent, the timelines will be sluggish and you may end up wasting time with the follow-ups. So make sure you have proper clarity on when they would be ready to start.
Once you have the right answers to the above questions, the qualification assessment should be easier. You will know which leads have the potential for conversion and which leads are the ones you should drop and avoid getting into multiple rounds of discussions with.