Your marketing dollars are limited and it’s important to understand the difference between a qualified and unqualified lead. You don’t want to spend valuable time and resources on people who don’t need your product or can’t afford it. Therefore, qualifying your leads is important. This will guarantee your sales and marketing team will be working towards the same goals.
What makes a lead unqualified?
- They don’t know what they need in a solution yet.
- They are unsure of what your company has to offer.
- They can’t afford your product or service.
While it is possible to convert unqualified leads into sales, it can be expensive and time consuming. Your team will have to nurture this lead to turn it into a qualified lead.
A qualified lead is a prospect that has a high likelihood to buy and is ready to talk to your sales team. These are potential customers that have gone through your nurturing phase. They also:
- are the decision-maker.
- have completed their educational research.
- know their exact needs and what the product or service will have to do to satisfy those needs.
- have a budget and your product or service fits in that budget.
Just because someone visits your website or calls your sales department, doesn’t mean they are a qualified lead. All potential customers need to go through a sales funnel.
Source: Kaizen Sigma
A prospective buyer becomes a lead because they express interest in your product or service. They usually do this by completing an action online or calling you. This is considered a marketing-qualified lead (MQL).
Qualifying sales leads
Your marketing and sales team should agree on what constitutes a sales-qualified lead (SQL). SQL is a prospective customer that has been researched and vetted by both the marketing and sales department of the company. If you have a customer service department, you may want to get them involved because they work with your clients and they have a deep understanding of the customer.
If your team is having difficulty deciding what is a qualified lead, think back to one of your best customers or brainstorm around what your ideal customer would look like. This can help you develop the parameters for a qualified lead. This qualification criteria will determine whether the potential buyer is a good fit for your company or not.
The two key elements of lead qualification are fit and engagement.
Fit is based on your buyer personas. The buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customer base. From this persona, your marketing and sales team can agree on what a qualified buyer looks like. This will help determine when you should hand an MQL over to the sales team.
Engagement is the level of marketing lead’s buying interest. This will tell you how close they are to making a buying decision. Engagement takes into consideration all aspects of their online behavior including how long they stay on your site, email response, number of times they visit your website, downloads and social media interaction.
As you can see it is important for the marketing and sales team to work together to qualify leads. When both teams agree and strategies are aligned, you will see your sales grow and we all know that is good for your bottom line.
If you would like help building your buyer personas, determining qualified leads or leading a strategic session to determine the criteria for qualified leads, we are here to help. We can provide expert knowledge and support to help grow your business. Contact Outlook Business Solutions to find out more about all of our marketing services.