Qualifying leads is an important step in the business-to-business (B2B) process. While there's no universal definition for the term "qualified" when referring to leads, it generally refers to any prospect whom you've acquired that could turn into a customer. In comparison, a disqualified lead is a prospect with a low chance of converting into a customer. So, how do you qualify B2B sales leads exactly?
Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) are acquired in the upper levels of the sales funnel. As the name suggests, these leads are generated by a company's marketing team. The marketing team may find a prospect and encourage that prospect to engage with their company. Assuming the prospect takes action -- signs up for an email newsletter, requests an appointment, etc. -- that prospect can be counted as an MQL.
Marketing teams can also enrich the marketing funnel and quickly move them into the sales funnel with identified project. These projects have an overall description of the activities either scheduled for a future date or is currently being planned or implemented. All identified projects contain key project contacts along with their email address and phone number. To add identified projects to your marketing and/or sales funnel, try SalesLeads’ Project Reports for industrial or office.
There are also sales-accepted leads (SALs), which are those passed from the marketing team to the sales team. Once the sales team has the SAL, it will begin to research the prospect to determine the next course of action. If the prospect has expressed a strong interest to buy the company's products or services, the sales team will move the lead to the next step: SQL.
Maintaining the momentum is key to any sales process. Get the information you need fast along with additional contacts within the organization with Target Account Intelligence. Try it out and experience its power to get you what you need….fast.
Found at the bottom of the sales funnel, sales-qualified leads (SQLs) are at the highest quality leads. These leads have gone through a rigorous vetting process by both marketing and sales teams. With that said, sales teams may still conduct additional research on the prospect. The sales team, for instance, may research the prospect's budget to determine which products or services are best suited for them. They may also research the upper-level management of the prospect's company to ensure they reach the decision-makers. The bottom line is that SQLs are more likely to buy than other leads, making them an invaluable component in B2B sales.
If you are not sure you’ve reached all of the decision makers, recommenders or influencers, then use our Target Account Intelligence. Try it now.
Whether it's MQLs, SALs or SQLs, qualifying all B2B leads requires thorough research of the prospect and his or her company. Depending on the channel through which you acquired a lead, you may have access to analytics data. Even if you don't have access to this data, however, you can still research the prospect online. The prospect and/or his or her company may have a presence on social media, for example. Here, you can access invaluable insight into the prospect, which you can use to qualify them as a lead.
You should also use your customer relationship management (CRM) solution to qualify B2B leads. Adding a lead to your CRM database will help you keep track of the prospect through every stage of the sales cycle. With this information in hand, you'll have an easier time qualifying leads.