The best way to maximise your sales leads is to determine which ones are most valuable for your business. It is crucial to run all leads through a lead qualification checklist since not all leads are created equal.
If you spend time on leads that won’t convert, you’ll risk losing out on the ones that will.
Lead qualification is the process of determining whether a lead meets your expectations for the ideal customer. It involves the organization of potential customers in order of likelihood to purchase.
This allows you to prioritize the leads that are likely to drive revenue over those who aren’t.
The lead qualification process uses step-by-step criteria. Marketers should use these criteria to qualify efficiently and disqualify leads before the handover to sales.
By breaking them down into more manageable steps, a lead qualification checklist can keep the process consistent and more effective.
IQLs vs MQLs vs SQLs
Leads generally fall into three categories. The first category is information qualified leads (IQLs) which refer to leads who have given you their details.
There is no intent to purchase behind this. Generally, IQLs come in from all marketing channels.
Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are leads that should be prioritized.
They are qualified for a sales touch.
MQLs are at the funnel stage that shows a well-researched understanding of your business and how your product or service may help them achieve their individual goals.
This is a crucial stage for potential conversion and requires several user interactions, including but not limited to email inquiries, live chat, phone calls, and automated email drip campaigns.
Sales qualified leads follow MQLs and are typically open to purchase. To close the deal with SQL, you need to provide them with a robust business case for your proposed solution.
Ensure there’s a clear need your business can fulfil and estimate the timeline to purchase.
Sales and marketing teams must work closely during the lead qualification process. This ensures optimum performance from both teams and decreases the chances of inefficiency.
Even within IQLs and MQLs, there is variance in the likelihood to purchase. It is best to align marketing and sales so that leads with different intent don't get bucketed together.
The B2B Lead Qualification Checklist
The process of lead acquisition and qualification can be different depending on the strategy and nature of your business.
Let’s get into a standard B2B lead qualification checklist to help you turn your leads into potential customers.
Reframe Your IQL Strategy
Information qualified leads (IQL) are audiences who are relatively unfamiliar with your company. Your IQL strategy aims to get untapped markets and demographics aware of your business.
It should involve locating your target audience where they are most engaged, whether on social media, SERPs, or other forms of advertising.
Some leads may seek you out if they are already aware of you, but most IQLs will need to be persuaded through broader brand awareness strategies.
Identify their Needs
Understanding your customers’ challenges and pain points is essential. Do they have specific goals they’d like to meet or a solution to a particular problem?
Your business should be able to address these needs in all forms. It starts with content and ends with a solution. In addition, your leads need to be in search of a solution that aligns with your business.
In this step, you want to pre-qualify your prospects and see if they meet your criteria as a marketing qualified lead or a sales qualified lead.
To do this, you need to determine how well your business can address the needs of your potential clients.
Get a sense of what your leads may have tried in the past to solve their problem and if they’ve considered a product or service like yours.
Here it would help if you learned what their personal expectations and goals are.
Learn their Limitations or Availability
Is the lead prepared to make a decision at this time concerning your product or service? If your business is B2B, get a sense of the company’s organizational structure and if your lead has the authority to make purchasing decisions.
What would be the approval process? Learn who the stakeholders are and what concerns they might have, both regarding their problem and a potential solution, i.e., your business.
What is their budget? Determine how much the lead is willing to spend on their investment for a solution for their problem.
Determine their Timeline
Learn how quickly your potential client aims to achieve their desired results.
This allows you to determine when they may be willing to implement your product or service and if your company has the capacity to meet that timeframe.
Get a sense of possible competition as well. Are they looking into other similar solutions? If so, this is a good indicator of potential conversion.
Now that you’ve got a good sense of who your best leads are, you need to determine what stops them from becoming conversions.
Potential customers often abandon the sales funnel at different stages in their purchasing journey.
Identifying the most frequent drop-off stages and the possible cause can help you determine what changes to make.
This will ultimately allow you to personalize your marketing efforts, significantly decrease the number of lost leads and keep potential clients in the sales funnel.
Once your teams has established a structured lead qualification process, you’ll begin to see a significant shift in lead conversions and sales efficiency.
Optimize your approach and revisit buyer personas and demographics to improve how you engage with potential leads.
Your team will soon be better equipped to carry them towards the negotiation and purchasing stage.