What “qualified” means to you will depend on what you’re selling. It’s important not to assume qualified only means the prospect can afford your solution. Here are a few qualifying topics you’ll want to introduce into your lead generation strategy to ensure you are generating qualified sales leads:
The company size will give you an indication of the potential value of the account. For IT solutions, you want to know the number of seats or users; or for a sales solution, the number of people in the sales department.
Getting company size information will ensure that only companies large enough to be qualified sales lead are passed onto your sales team.
Many prospects are hesitant to answer direct questions about their annual turnover. Turnover will help qualify the prospect and understand the potential opportunity. The best approach is to ask about annual turnover towards the end of a call as you need to build rapport and trust first.
Prospects are more comfortable providing a guide rather than a specific amount. For example, ask them which band their turnover falls into:
• Less than $5 million
• $5 million to $20 million
• More than $20 million, etc.
If you are purchasing a prospect database, some list brokers can provide annual turnover as a data set or criteria. This gives you the benefit of only targeting those companies that fall within the revenue band that would make them a qualified sales lead.
By knowing what your prospect is doing or using now that your solution would replace, will be an indication of the quality of the opportunity. They may have an in-house solution, or they may be using one of your competitor’s products, or they may have no solution in place at all.
It’s also helpful to know how long they’ve been using that solution or living with that problem without a solution.
A company that has recently engaged with a competitor, has invested considerable time and money on their current solution and are unlikely to consider making a change.
On the other hand, if a company’s current solution has been in place for a while and they are still experiencing pain, it is a great opportunity to show how your solution could alleviate that pain from the business.
If your prospect is not interested now, that doesn’t mean there is no potential future interest. Ask when they are likely to be reviewing this solution again. Knowing the expiry date of a contract or policy allows you to call the prospect back a few months before they are reviewing their purchase. This will give you allow you to build a relationship and pitch your services to them at the ideal moment.
Depending on your product, it might be appropriate to schedule a call back in a couple of months or maybe even 12 months. All prospects that meet your qualifying criteria, but are not interested now, should always fall into your lead nurturing strategy.
Knowing a company’s annual spend with your competitor will give you an indication of the potential value of the account. Some prospects might feel uncomfortable answering direct questions regarding annual spend. They are more likely to give you information about their average order size and frequency of order, or respond within band ranges.
Meeting with highly qualified sales leads will give you a higher conversion rate at a lower cost of acquisition.
It’s a better outcome for the business if more time is taken in the lead generation process than the sales process. Given your best salespeople are a more costly resource, their time should be spent pitching to qualified sales leads who have a need and budget for your solution, rather than pitching to anyone who will take a meeting.
Please call us today, if you’d like to know more about how FMG’s lead generation campaigns can generate a consistent pipeline of qualified sales leads for your sales team.