How to qualify leads

So, your website and marketing activity are doing a great job at generating leads (if not - this lead generation blog will help), but how do to qualify which of the leads you should be focussing your attention on to make a sale? Are you able to understand which of these leads are more ready to buy and should be passed to your sales team - compared with those who are engaged but may still need nurturing and additional information before they’re ready to make a purchase decision?

Qualifying and tracking sales-ready leads can be tricky. Ultimately, an intelligent CRM will help you store this information but before you think about where you’re going to put your leads and any related data, consider what a qualified leads looks like to your business.

Categorising leads

It’s likely your leads will be able to be identified as a subscriber, lead, marketing-qualified lead, sales qualified lead, opportunity, customer, or evangelist - based on how aware they are of your business and its services, and how close they are to making a buying decision.

Of course, these are all important leads to consider, nurture and support with your marketing and sales activity. For the purposes of this blog, we’ll focus on identifying marketing-qualified leads. Marketing-qualified leads are defined as leads that your marketing department has qualified as being sales ready. They are contacts who are in a position to be passed to your sales team allowing them to start having conversations to better understand specific details about their challenges and requirements.

How to identify marketing-qualified leads

To understand how you should qualify leads - and therefore when leads are sales-ready, you should discuss with your sales team the minimum amount of information or data they require that allows them to have effective and useful conversations.

This should be defined with demographic (age, gender, income) and firmographic information (company size, location or industry) as well as engagement data, gained from form fills, page visits, webinar attendance, and trade show visits which demonstrate a clear interest in your business and its offering.

Depending on the importance of these different factors to your business and its offer, you should then be able to categorise your marketing-qualified leads by quality. For instance, if two leads are very similar, but one is active in an industry that better suits your company,this lead would receive a higher score and can be highlighted as a priority for your sales team.

Remember, not all journeys are linear. Visitors, prospects and leads are all human beings and the way we behave isn’t always straight-forward so make sure the way you monitor and categorise leads allows for flexibility. Sometimes, an individual needs to be reverted to a previous stage so track this and change it as required and keep working hard to convert this lead into a marketing-qualified lead and ultimately a customer.

Equally, don’t be afraid to disqualify leads. Not everyone is going to a going to be a good match for you and likewise you might not be a good fit for them either - and that’s ok. This can happen for a number of reasons, it may be that they’re not the right business, person or decision-maker for you to be speaking to.

Or, you may find that they tick all the boxes when it comes to demographic or firmographic information - but actually, from their behaviour or early conversations to may discover they’re not facing the challenge your product or services can help resolve. Remember, the quality of a lead is more important than quantity so don’t be afraid to disqualify leads, shoehorning your product or service into a package that suits this lead or their business will not do you, or them any favours.

If you’re having trouble identifying marketing-qualified leads, or gaining the right level of data from leads to enable them to be passed to your sales team - get in touch with our inbound marketing experts - or download our free lead generation ebook.

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Tags: Inbound Marketing, Lead Generation

Posted by Frankie Boyle
on November 13, 2017