Statistics show only about 27% of B2B companies qualify their sales leads. Sometimes it's an assumption that sales and marketing make when a sales lead comes in, for instance, from the website. We assume they read the website. We assume they understood. So therefore, when they fill out the form it should be ready for a fast sales cycle and close. Not so fast. It's still important to go through the process and ask the right questions in order to qualify the sales lead. What do you need to know?
#1) The Right Budget
A qualified lead should have the necessary funds to purchase your company's product or service. When communicating with a sales lead, ask if there's an identified budget for the purchase. If yes, ask if they can share how much. Using this information, you can determine whether they have allocated the funds or maybe just planning for the future.
#2) A Problem That Your B2B Company Can Solve
In addition to the necessary funds, qualified leads should also be experiencing a problem that your company can solve. Ask questions such as "What's going on in your business that you believe (this) is you problem?" "How long has this been going on?" By matching the lead's problem with a specific solution that your company offers, you've completed an important part of the lead qualification system.
#3) Purchasing Authority
If a lead doesn't have the authority to make a purchase on behalf of his or her company, you need to know the name and title of those that do. It may be a person or it may be a board of directors. Be sure to ask that question and find out the responsibility of the person you are speaking with. Are they the recommender? Information gatherer? Influencer? Regardless of their role, they may be helpful to you in the sales cycle. Qualified leads need to include the decision-makers who, as the name suggests, have the authority to make purchases.
#4) Desire to Purchase Now or in the Near Future
When is the sales lead looking to make a purchase? Qualified sales leads should be ready to make a purchase either now or in the near future. If a lead is simply researching products or services to purchase a year or two later, you shouldn't consider them a qualified lead. Instead, include them into your database, and place a call periodically with marketing touching at least once a month.
#5) Valid Information
Qualified sales leads should have valid information. Be sure to call the phone number, look up the company name, and confirm the email address is valid. You can do this through the use of SalesLeads' Target Account Sales Intelligence for the accuracy or search on the Internet. Those that are just gathering information will many times include inaccurate information as they don't want to be contacted at this time.