A well-known phrase says it’s always quality that matters over quantity.
Qualifying a lead is imperative as it saves time and resources, simultaneously making us both efficient and effective in our sales efforts. The objective is to convert leads into customers. If SDRs have a sophisticated understanding of their target audience, they will know how to provide a better customer experience, and ultimately, they will quickly convert their prospects.
Let’s start by understanding a sales development representative’s process to qualify leads.
How Do Sales Development Representatives Get Leads?
Sales lead qualification is the process that SDRs follow to convert interested prospects through the sales funnel (marketing qualified leads to sales-qualified leads) into customers.
As simple as this sales process might sound, many steps are involved, from sending emails to ensuring the emails reach all the prospects and following up on them regularly.
But sometimes, they might miss sending a mail or two, but that is where they mix their hard work with some clever work with the help of SmartReach, a highly convenient and user-friendly software that provides the most critical metrics and insights on ongoing campaigns.
There is also a commitment to customer-driven features that makes it more efficient. Using merge tags, SDRs can personalize their emails with the prospect’s first name, company, or other information.
No matter where your leads are generated from CSV, CRM, or even LinkedIn, you can easily add them to SmartReach. It helps in sending automated emails and even follow-ups to all your ongoing leads. You can add detailed data about prospects by creating unlimited custom columns.
Nobody wants to waste their time on a lead that won’t be converting in the end. As a result, it is vital to understand the qualities of a qualified lead before letting us know the meaning of a sales-qualified lead.
What is a Sales Qualified Lead?
A Sales Qualified Lead, also called SQL, is a prospect who has demonstrated a high likelihood of conversion by showing interest in your product or service.
Once the lead shows interest, it is vital to maintain their interest because half of your work is done as soon as the prospect reverts. When qualified, a lead comes with the label ‘handle with care,’ meaning SDRs should be mindful of asking the right questions and participating actively while handling the queries.
While interacting with leads, two main qualities can distinguish a qualified lead from a dead-end one. That is:
- If a prospect shows a strong interest in your product or service,
- And is likely to complete the sales process as soon as possible,
By asking the right sales qualification questions, you will understand if the lead is qualified to purchase your product.
Why do Sales Qualified Leads matter?
Sales-qualified leads demonstrate a higher level of interest in your offering and have a higher probability to become a paying customers.
Below are key reasons why SQL is important to sales teams.
- Better Conversions: Sales-qualified leads have already exhibited an intent to purchase or take the next step in the sales process. This means they are more likely to convert into paid customers than leads that have not yet been qualified.
- Improved Efficiency: By focusing on sales-qualified leads you can better prioritize your time and resources. By targeting those who have shown a genuine interest in what you offer, you can avoid wasting your time and energy on leads that are unlikely to convert.
- Better Alignment of Verticals: Sales and marketing verticals often have different goals and objectives. By using SQLs, they can better align their efforts and work together to achieve top-level revenue goals
- Enhanced Sales Experience: By targeting sales-qualified leads, you can provide a more personalized and tailored experience to prospective clients. This will help build rapport and trust, ultimately creating a more positive experience and increased customer satisfaction.
- Superior Lead Quality: By focusing on SQLs you can identify and target prospects who are most likely to become paid customers, leading to higher quality leads and better overall results.
Now that we know the importance of Sales Qualified Leads let’s understand how to identify them amongst millions of prospects.
How Can SDRs Accurately Identify Sales Qualified Leads?
Developed by IBM in the 1950s, BANT is a sales entitlement assessment methodology that helps salespeople identify qualified leads by focusing on four considerations: Budget, Authority, Necessity, and Timing. BANT’s primary goal for sales teams is to save time and shorten the sales cycle. Sales reps can use the BANT lead qualification process to filter out unfruitful prospects and focus instead on leads that are more likely to buy.
Having a budget is the most important criterion
After all, potential customers may love your product features. But they may not have the budget to work with you. To understand if your customer has the budget to work with you, you can ask prospects about their budget.
Find out how much the client is willing to spend. This data can help shorten your sales cycle and increase conversions. If your prospect cannot afford your product or is unwilling to spend in the ballpark of your minimum price, it is in your best interest to avoid chasing the prospect.
Having quality SQL is excellent, but only when the person you’ve shared the better part of your day connecting with is entitled to make or influence purchasing decisions.
Even if your contact is in charge of finalizing the contract, they may need to consult with a group of stakeholders for approval during the decision-making process. If your connection doesn’t have the authority to close the deal, try to convince them to bring the real decision-maker into the conversation.
To summarise, you need to talk to decision-makers or personnel within the company who can influence decision-making.
Understanding, if your prospect needs your product, is key.
If your lead has the budget to purchase your product and is even authorized to make purchase decisions, it is still vital to know if they need your product.
Focusing on the right customers for your business means you’re more likely to convert and retain them if you can address the problems they need to solve.
How urgent is the prospect’s purchase? To determine the urgency, ask your prospects how quickly they want the issue to be addressed. You can continue pursuing the lead if they want to eliminate their problem within the next few months. If the prospect approaches within a year or more before making a purchase decision, it’s wise to pause tracking and follow up later. Or you can offer limited-time discounts on products to create a sense of urgency.
Finding and Converting Sales Qualified Leads
1. Know Your Customer
Establishing a buyer persona helps the marketing and sales team know the exact type of leads they should be going after.
Having a clear understanding of who the customer is, ensures the marketing and sales efforts are targeted to the most appropriate audience or ICP. This includes creating content and lead magnets addressing pain points that are unique to your buyer persona.
Additionally, having a clear understanding of your target audience is helps weed out leads that don’t fit the criteria. Lastly, it is important to keep updating your ICP and buyer persona depending on the data you receive about your existing customers.
You should know the following about your target audience
- Their demographic
- Their pain points
- The industry they belong to
- The age and income range
2. Make a List of Qualified Leads
Once you are aware of your ideal customer profile, you can make a list of them in order to be more organized and effective. This list should include their name, phone number (optional), email address and job title. These are the people who have essentially expressed interest in purchasing your product or service and stand a high chance of converting from qualified leads to customers.
This includes building a list of prospects based on your ICP and persona using prospecting software such as ProspectDaddy, a Linkedin Email Finder tool that provides business email, Linkedin profiles, designations, current company, city etc.
The main motive to create a list is to basically save your time and also because it will help you to be more structured. While making a list the only thing that should be kept in mind is to make your list informational.
Sales engagement software like SmartReach.io provides a pre-sales CRM that enables prospect categorization and tagging systems. It helps to manage a large number of prospects. The categorization feature enables the easy identification of prospects based on their status, including whether they have converted, expressed interest, indicated disinterest, or opted for “do not disturb”. This allows sales teams to prioritize their efforts and tailor their outreach strategies to individual prospects
3. Have a conversation, not a sales call
Always try to converse with your prospects rather than selling them your sales pitch because they only need information about your service or product and how it will fit into their lives. If SDRs are focused only on the pricing rather than how their product/service will add value to the prospect’s lives, the sales call will automatically lead to a dead-end.
To do this, one may always tailor their pitch to their prospect’s situation as doing so will make you more relatable to them and increase their sense of connection. Be sure to tailor your pitches to each of your prospects.
4. Study and sell
It’s hard to get someone else all geared up about what you are selling if you are the one who is not confident enough about your product. Know your product or service inside out before you take any action to sell it. Anticipate all the questions and get ready with concrete, meaningful answers.
In addition to pertinent facts and figures, share examples of how your product/service has helped companies similar to theirs. Whether you are speaking to your target audience via cold call or via a post on LinkedIn, the secret is to talk about your product or service in a way that addresses your prospect’s pain points so they want to be part of what you offer.
5. Capture Unsatisfied Customers of the Competitor
Another excellent place to find qualified leads is your competitor’s social media platforms. These are leads who are not happy with your customer’s service and have left a negative comment on your client’s social media or on Google reviews. This is your chance to win them over. Reach out to these leads and see if they’d be interested in a free product demo
Although the job of a sales development representative might sound easy, it isn’t. From research, and managing tons of cold emails to dealing with multiple prospects all day to get qualified leads for their firm, the job of SDRs never ends. But what plays an essential role in their everyday life are the sales-qualified leads they generate with all their hard work.
A sales-qualified lead is a prospect that shows interest in the product or service that an SDR offers. Not every lead converts to a sale, so to know which lead is a qualified one, SDRs must understand the qualities of a qualified lead: the amount of interest a prospect shows and their willingness to buy the product or service and the timeframe in which they want to close the deal. If the sales team has a healthy number of sales-qualified leads, it will help them to close more deals quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the difference between marketing-qualified leads and sales-qualified leads?
A. A marketing-qualified lead is interested in learning more about your product. However, this person is not ready to become a customer yet. On the other hand, SQL is ready to learn more about your product, has the budget to purchase from you, and is a decision-maker.
Q. What are the requirements for a lead to be a sales-qualified lead?
A. A sales-qualified lead meets the following requirements.
- They are ready to purchase from you
- They have a reasonable budget
- They are a decision maker.
Q. What are the next steps once you qualify for a lead?
A. Once you’ve qualified a lead,
- Send them valuable resources via email (address their pain points)
- Engage with them on social platforms
- Work toward getting them on a sales call