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Lead Qualification: The Missing Link between Sales and Marketing

Published on October 12, 2021
Last modified on December 30, 2021
Lead Qualification

Every day, the marketing team works diligently to generate leads. Those leads are then transferred to the sales team for further processing. 

Despite the efforts of the sales team, a large number of those leads are not converted. So, what’s amiss? Do the marketing team’s efforts fall short or the sales team’s? 

Neither of these teams approaches lead qualification in the same way. While marketing is focused on reaching out to the masses, sales teams develop deeper relationships with leads by connecting individually. While each team does its job well, what’s lacking is the strategic collaboration between them.

In this article, we’ll discuss what is lead qualification and how the efforts of the aforementioned teams can be aligned to better the lead qualification process.


What is lead qualification?

When you qualify a lead, you determine whether they meet the requirements for purchasing your product or service. Lead qualification helps you reduce the time and money you spend pursuing leads that are unlikely to become your customers.

Before beginning the process of screening leads, it’s crucial to know what qualities you’re looking for in a potential customer. Identifying what your ideal consumer “looks” like is the best approach to do this. Collect information about the buyer’s profile in a B2C setting and a company’s profile in a B2B setting. Social media engagement is a good way to identify interested leads.


Why is sales lead qualification important?

What would happen if your sales reps devoted equal attention to every lead that came to them only to realize that not every lead was the right one?

In order to maximize sales, your sales team must focus on tasks that improve conversion rates; otherwise, they will be forced to work on leads that have zero chance of becoming customers.

Here is where lead qualification comes into play. When a good lead qualification process is implemented, the salespeople are able to filter out leads that have a genuine potential to become customers. By doing so, they reduce the risk of contacting leads who have no prospects of becoming customers or whose data is incorrect.


The following points summarize the relevance of lead qualification:

  • Qualifying leads improve sales efficiency

It will allow the sales team to allocate time and effort according to the likelihood that a lead will result in a sale, as opposed to blindly pursuing every lead. Sales will be less uncertain this way. 


  • Allows for adequate attention to every lead

Leads aren’t all equal. Highly qualified leads are given preference over uncertain ones. Lead qualification allows high-probability prospects to be given greater attention and care. 


  • Ensures better follow-up

No value can be gained from sending countless emails to an uninterested lead. But in the case of a genuinely interested lead, even a single email may be sufficient. The sales team will be able to follow up with potential leads more effectively by categorizing the leads. 


How to ensure successful lead qualification

Considering the importance of lead qualification, here are some tried and tested ways to optimize the use of your time and increase results that ensure success in the qualification process.


Know your leads well

The information about the leads plays a crucial role in this regard. You need to know exactly whom you are dealing with. A system generated form can be issued to all the leads asking for information like why they need the product, where are they going to use it, and so on. 

Using these answers, you can even decide whether the leads are interested or not. Those uninterested in your product or service can be put aside or can be rejected right away. 

A Lead Scoring System is normally used to rank leads based on their importance. For example, if the request comes from the CEO of a company, it presumes greater importance. 


BANT analysis

This is a standard tool used by all sales departments. BANT stands for budget, authority, need, and time. The budget refers to the lead’s ability to actually purchase the products or services offered by the company. A lead must have sufficient authority to issue the product. 

An intern cannot, for example, issue a purchase order on behalf of a company. Leads need to understand what a product or service is used for and have a requirement for it. And finally, time can be defined as how soon a lead will buy the product or service. Is it immediately or after a week? BANT almost entirely filters out all unwanted leads, or spam leads. 


Email and phone validations

Now coming to the final round of the process of lead qualification, it is to manually send emails or make calls to each and every qualified lead. Emails are usually sent first to give the prospect information about the company or to respond to their inquiry.

The main aim of the email is to connect with the prospects and bring them over the phone. A successful telephone call results in the prospect purchasing the product.


Roles of the Marketing and Sales Teams in Lead Qualification

In order to generate qualified leads, each department has a joint responsibility. Here’s what each does:  

Marketing Lead Qualification

In every case, it is better to catch a problem early. If the marketing team continues to generate a large number of odd leads, it makes no sense for a sales team to screen them. Instead, marketing should develop strategies tailored to the target audience. 

A better marketing strategy keeps unproductive leads at bay, attracting only the leads that are genuinely interested. In the event that your marketing team believes the leads are qualified, but in fact they are not, then the problem lies within the team. Similarly, if marketing campaigns are not directed at the right audience, a large amount of revenue is wasted. 


Sales Lead Qualification

Ah, the sales team. Whatever we say about the marketing teams, sales teams face similar challenges. Apart from using Lead Scoring and Ranking software they also need to check the background of the prospects to determine their eligibility. 

This is a necessity for every B2B company. Cold emails can be sent to all leads to confirm their interests after which only the most important leads can be targeted. 

A full-blown sales strategy is used to contact the important leads in order to close the transaction. This is an ongoing process where a lot of emails are sent and calls made. Leads opt-out at the last moment, too. 

The new list of the remaining ones now constitutes Sales Qualified Leads who have cleared the lead qualification process, completely ready to buy the product and services of the company. 


Final thoughts

Lead qualification is a big deal because it signals that your company cares about your customers. They’re not just any old lead, but specifically, someone who will become a customer. 

When companies focus on qualification rather than just getting new people to buy from them, their companies grow bigger and they win more sales because they know their audience. Most companies invest a lot of money into leads, so understanding how to qualify leads is more important than ever. 

Think about it: a qualified lead is more likely to make a purchase than an underqualified lead. A qualified lead will also be less likely to buy from competitors as well as spend or recommend your offering throughout their lifetime with your company. So, think about the ‘why’. Why does it matter? Why is it important to qualify your leads?

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