Qualified leads are prospects that are most likely to become customers. Essentially, qualified leads help sales reps decipher which prospects they should prioritize. Think about it. Would you rather focus your time and energy on a prospect that shows no intention of purchasing? Or would you rather spend time with a prospect that has proven time and time again that they are likely to convert? It’s a safe bet to say you’d much rather center your attention around the lead that’s likely to convert.
So, how can sales reps qualify leads? In this article, we’re going to explain best practices for qualifying leads. Read on to learn more about how you can convert leads into customers and increase win-rates.
Why are qualified leads in sales important?
There are two types of qualified leads; a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and a sales qualified lead (SQL). An MQL is a prospect that satisfies specific criteria and shows behavioral queues into their level of interest to then be passed along to the sales team. It’s up to the marketing team to determine whether a prospect is ready to move forward in the sales process. Once the MQL moves on to the sales team, they must also complete certain sales criteria to become an SQL.
Gartner defines a sales qualified lead as a prospect who has moved through the sales pipeline from MQL to SQL. Only when a prospect becomes a sales qualified lead is it now the job of the sales team to work on converting the SQL into an active customer.
Essentially, qualified leads have been vetted by both the marketing and sales teams and determined as having a high probability of making a purchase. On the other hand, unqualified leads are less likely to convert into a customer. If a seller spends a lot of time trying to close a deal with an unqualified lead, they’re just wasting valuable time that could be spent elsewhere. To put it simply, selling to the prospects that are most likely to purchase, saves time and improves win-rates.
Lead scoring helps qualify leads
As stated above, before a prospect can become a sales qualified lead, they must first become a marketing qualified lead. Depending on the marketing team’s qualifying characteristics, it could take some time before a prospect becomes qualified. So how can marketers measure which leads are qualified and which are not? This process is called lead scoring. Ultimately, lead scoring is the process of assigning points to leads based on their behavior, personal information, and interactions with your brand.
In fact, according to SharpSpring, organizations using lead scoring experience a 77% increase in lead generation ROI. Each organization (and marketing and sales teams alike) have their own lead scoring metrics. These metrics are all scored numerically. It’s only when a lead accumulates enough points that they become a qualified sales lead. Each metric has its own amount of points. For example, a prospect could gain 5 points for downloading a case study. Or, a prospect could gain 25 points for clicking through a special promotion email. Typically, most organizations have it set so that once a lead reaches 100 points, they become an MQL. From here, the MQL must start the process over again but with sales interactions to become an SQL.
Below are some examples of MQL actions:
- Downloading gated content like ebooks, promotion offers, and whitepapers
- Participating in events like webinars, seminars, etc.
- Clicking on social media posts that lead back to your website
- Signing up for email marketing campaigns
Here are a few lead scoring examples for SQLs:
- Fitting into the company’s ideal customer profile
- Booking a demo with a sales rep
- Submitting a message through a contact form
Take it from the experts in transforming sales, lead scoring is crucial to discover high-quality leads. By focusing time on qualified leads, sales teams are selling directly to those who are most likely to purchase. Therefore, sales teams are being more proactive while increasing their win-rates.
Sales enablement technology uncovers qualified leads
42% of sales reps state that a lack of quality data is their biggest barrier to lead generation. And it makes sense. A lack of data means there is less opportunity for lead scoring. Not being able to lead score means marketing and sales teams are feeling around in the dark for qualified leads to go after. Not having quality leads means not being able to improve win-rates! As you can see, this scenario is a trail of dominos that is hardly entertaining to watch. However, the right sales enablement platform can help sales reps qualify and track sales leads with analytics.
Sales enablement platforms track the sales journey for each individual prospect. Sales reps can see in real time where in the sales cycle their prospects are. Additionally, sales enablement platforms help sales reps gain deep insight as to the content that leads have already engaged with. Sales reps can see which types of content resonated with the prospect based on time viewed, click-through rates, and other interactions.
This collected information enables sales reps to provide a more personalized experience to increase sales deals. In fact, when a prospect is confident in the sales rep’s ability to understand the prospect’s unique needs, the sales win-rate is 55.2%. On the contrary, sales reps who don’t have a solid understanding of their prospect have a win-rate of only 40.2%. With a sales enablement platform, sales reps have a competitive advantage. Essentially, the insights and analytics provided help sales teams create SQLs which, in turn, drive win-rates.
here’s no doubt about it — qualified leads boost win-rates. Ultimately, the process of lead scoring and converting MQLs to SQLs gives your sales team more qualified leads so that they can sell more effectively. Qualifying leads is an efficient way to ensure that sales reps spend their time selling only to those that are likely to make a purchase. The right technology stack to enable an effective sales funnel is key.
Schedule a demo with our team to see how the right sales enablement platform can help your sales team qualify leads and increase your win-rate. What are you waiting for? Transform your sales now!