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Qualified Lead Generation: 4 Steps to Qualifying Your B2B Marketing Generated Sales Leads

You know what qualified sales leads are, but if you asked sales account managers and company executives, would they have the same definition of a qualified lead? Probably not.

If qualified lead generation is to succeed in a business-to-business marketing program, marketing, sales and corporate management must share a unified definition of qualified sales leads. If you all agree from the start on what a qualified lead is, the marketing team has a better chance of generating leads that will be valuable to sales managers and colleagues.

It is important to confirm the qualified guidelines, in writing, with all parties. This definition is different for every company, so you should do some work to define what qualified sales leads mean at your company.

Step 1: Know the characteristics of a skilled sales lead

Common questions that need to be answered to determine if a leader is qualified include:

  • Do you have a requirement or application for your product or service?
  • What is the role of perspective in the decision making process?
  • What is the prospect’s lead time for purchase or implementation?
  • What is the status of the perspective budget?
  • What is the size of the opportunity?

However, additional or more detailed criteria may be required to define qualified leaders in some companies. This starts with a corporate relationship, which acknowledges a business problem (either indirectly or directly) that can be solved by a product and/or service that you sell. Here are some examples of problem/solutions to use in qualified lead generation.

Problem: The company’s various computer systems require employees to perform excessive data entry, which wastes their time and reduces efficiency.

Solution: Your software product will perform a single data entry.

Problem: Company executives suspect it is paying too much for unused software licenses, but they don’t know for sure.

Solution: Your license management software tracks all software on the network so companies can determine which software is licensed and in use.

In addition to having a business problem that your company’s products or services can solve, truly talented leaders must meet four other conditions:

  • There must be a built-in project in the game.
  • They already have or believe they can find the money to buy a solution to the problem, or they are in the process of developing a budget.
  • They plan to buy at a reasonable time.
  • They have the power to put you in front of the next appropriate decision maker(s) when the time is right.

Step 2: Create a sales lead directory

In addition to defining a qualified lead, consider creating a glossary of standard terms that define what your company considers a “prospect,” “enquiry,” “enquiry,” “response,” “quality sales lead.” “a useful suspect”, “a competent force” and so on.

Again, sales, marketing and management need to agree on the definition of each term, as this will help you avoid confusion later during qualified lead generation.

Step 3: Use a lead measurement approach

As you develop your lead quality metrics, remember that lead scoring can be an effective method for determining which leads are qualified and ready for sales follow-up.

To earn a lead, assign points based on how well the prospect meets each of your lead quality criteria. Consider the following example:

  • Funded, ready to go: 5 points
  • Budget in formulation: 3 points
  • No budget for the project: 0 points
  • Is it decisive: 5 points
  • Recommended: 3 points
  • An effect: 1 point
  • The product has a clear need: 5 points
  • Plans to buy within six months: 5 points
  • Plans to buy in a year or later: 1 point
  • Plans to buy $50,000 worth of product: 5 points
  • Plan to purchase less than $100 worth of product: 0 points

Add up all the points to take the lead. Then, for example, those with 20 or more points are defined as qualified sales leads; you should send them to your sales force.

Step 4: Drive sales opportunities through teamwork,

Meet with your peers in marketing, your company’s sales managers and your senior management to learn about their definition of qualified sales leads. Use the guide-quality criteria and scoring examples outlined earlier in this article as a starting point for discussion. Extract what you learn into a draft definition and run it for further discussion and approval by all participants. If there is still a dispute, let your company’s senior sales management make the final decision.

With marketing, sales and management all speaking the same language as qualified sales leads, your company can reach out to target and nurture the most promising leads. And increase sales and revenue as a result.

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