Your sales pipeline is a box. Your leads are the chocolates in it. Now, would you rather have a box full of your favourite chocolates or the ones that make you queasy?

The absence of a thorough sales qualification process is like intentionally choosing to eat from a box of chocolates that you know you will ultimately dislike.

All right, enough analogies, time for the sweet stuff… er, sales qualification.

Let’s jump right into the what, why, and how of sales qualification!

 

What is Sales Qualification?

Sales qualification or lead qualification is the process of identifying leads or prospects that are the best fit for your business’ offering. It gives you a clear idea of which leads to target and which ones to ignore. 

You increase your chances of success by many times by implementing an effective sales qualification plan. In the absence of it, you will wind up speaking with hundreds of prospects per day for little to no results.

 

The Importance of Sales Qualification

The primary reason why sales qualification is important is that it helps improve close rates. The lack of sales qualification can result in you going after leads who aren’t the best fit for your product, causing you to waste your time and resources.

Unqualified leads will need to go through further steps before they can be converted into customers or before they simply disappear. Qualifying sales leads will help you target the leads who are more likely to buy your product or service. The smaller and more targeted a segment is, the easier it is to understand their challenges and provide them with personalized solutions.

 

There are several benefits to having an effective sales qualification process in place for your company.

  1. Identify quality leads: By employing tried-and-true methods for lead filtering, sales staff can focus on prospects who are more likely to convert. The procedure of lead segmentation is an effective tool. Leads can be categorised according to how likely they are to make a purchase based on their likeability.
  2. Hot leads: who have very high chances of converting
  3. Warm leads: who require some level of nurturing.
  4. Low-quality leads: who have no or very low chance of a conversion.
  5. Accurate sales forecast: Every lead’s value to your company is determined by the sales qualification process. Businesses use sales forecasts to allocate budgets, so having a reliable method to predict them is critical.
  6. A better understanding of leads: It helps you develop a specific strategy or better deals for the lead as you move through the sales pipeline. Leads are also more likely to convert if they realise that the brand is sensitive to their wants and needs.

Also read: Importance of sales process

 

The Sales Qualification Process

The sales qualification process begins with a group of leads that are generated by various departments of your organisation. First, let’s briefly discuss the types of leads generated:

 

Marketing Qualified Leads:

Marketing Qualified Leads are leads who have responded to a business’s marketing efforts.

 

Sales Qualified Leads:

Sales Qualified Leads are leads that have been in touch with the sales team directly. 

 

Product Qualified Leads:

Product Qualified Leads are leads that have either registered for a free trial or have subscribed to a free version of your offering.

Each of these leads is subsequently put together in the sales qualification framework; a work plan that sales professionals can use to determine whether a prospect will become a customer or not. The leads are asked certain qualifying questions at this stage, and the lead pool is further narrowed down.

Sales qualification questions are of vital importance as they help the sales team determine which leads to qualify and which ones to disqualify. The next section will discuss a few sales qualification questions you can include in your lead qualification strategy.

 

Sales Qualification Questions

Qualifying questions are vital in helping salespeople determine if a lead is a good fit for their product or service. By asking appropriate sales qualifying questions, you can determine everything from the buyer’s need to their budget.

The following are some examples of good qualifying questions:

  • What are the challenges that your business is facing currently? Do you have anything in place to solve it?
  • Is the product/service that you are using currently, solving the problem?
  • Can you give us an idea of your budget?
  • When it comes to solving this problem, what is your top priority? What functionality are you looking forward to the most?
  • Is it okay if I follow up on mm/dd/yyyy?
  • Will you be using the product on a daily basis? 
  • Who would make a decision regarding the purchase of this product?

The best qualifying questions are usually open-ended. If you ask a close-ended question, such as “Do you consider this important at the moment?” you are constricting the buyer’s options. It would be better to ask, “Where do you place this in your order of priorities?” Because you aren’t leading them to an answer, they are more likely to provide candid responses.

Also read: Best sales techniques

 

Sales Qualification Frameworks

Listed below are some effective sales qualification frameworks:

  1. BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Time)

It is a framework designed to help you relate the lead’s needs with the business goals. Begin with the leads’ budget and affordability, then move on to determine if they have the authority to make the purchase, what their needs are, and how their timelines are affected.

 

  1. CHAMP(Challenges, Authority, Money, and Priority)

This lead qualifying framework encourages you to identify their issues or problems. This approach is best suited if you provide customer service.

 

  1. FAINT (Funds, Authority, Interest, Need, and Timing)

Lead’s interest in the product is also a deciding factor apart from demands and budgets when making purchases. This framework can be used to interact with the prospects to pique their curiosity about the brand or product in question.

 


  1. ANUM (Authority, Need, Urgency, and Money)

This framework focuses on leads who become paying clients without ever going through the full sales cycle. So it’s ideal for businesses with shorter sales cycles.

 

  1. NEAT (Needs, Economic Impact, Authority, and Timeline)

This framework focuses on the economic impact of the product/service, thus helping you to sell more products and increase brand recognition. 

 

  1. GPCTBA/C&I (Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline, Budget, Authority, Negative Consequences, and Positive Implications)

This framework assists you in determining how the product benefits your potential customers and the financial implications if it fails to meet their expectations. 

 

So, which box of chocolates will you choose?

By qualifying your leads, you are gaining good fit prospects and paving the way for higher revenue and growth. A good prospect becomes a loyal client who uses your products and services to address their challenges and recommends your business to others.

Poor prospects, however, mean zero sales. In every case, they will become unhappy customers always complaining about your product or service on various channels or in person. 

Now it’s up to you to decide what you want.