Why do you need to qualify sales leads?
- The process which takes a lead through to a sale (the conversion process) can consume a lot of resources, particularly for complex sales
- This process is much more productive (that is, has a higher conversion rate and uses less resource) if those leads which are likely to be low value and/or unlikely to result in a sale are screened out earlier in the process
- If the conversion process has very low marginal costs (eg an online shop) then the need for qualification is correspondingly lower
What factors can be used to qualify sales leads?
- The factors can vary widely according to the industry you are in but could include:
o Are you talking to the decision-maker and budget-holder?
o Are they in your target market and the right type and size of customer?
o Do they have the funds or budget to buy your product?
o Do they have the compelling need, commitment and motivation to buy now?
o Can you provide what they need without stretching your product, credibility or resources?
o Do you have all the necessary pre-qualifications (policies, accreditations, size and stability)?
o Is there an incumbent or preferred supplier who is almost certain to win the business?
How are leads qualified?
- Qualification should be part of your sales process
o It should also be built into your marketing
- It could take place at a single point or you could have several stages of qualification
- The criteria for qualification (taken, for example, from the above list) should be recorded against each lead in your sales management system
- The conversion process results (wins and losses) should feed back into the qualification process
o A low conversion rate may well indicate poor qualification
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