Lead qualification is often a forgotten art form that ends up costing you a lot of lost time.
In sales, we all walk that fine line of pursuing leads without pushing them away. It’s a dance that we delicately engage in with all our potential customers. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But what about lead qualification?
Most of us are reluctant to give up on anyone who has shown some interest in our company, right? We come up with great ways to them interested again and don’t take “no” for an answer.
Well guess what? Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and walk away.
I can practically hear your inner perfectionist screaming “NO, but they DO want our business!”
Maybe they were interested at one point but there are a million reasons that they have decided you just “aren’t the one” for them. Slightly reminiscent of those sad high school break ups, low quality leads need to be set free and forgotten.
Not sure how to do lead qualification or how to spot an unqualified lead?
There are many different signs and clues that will show you that your time is being wasted, you just need to learn to look closely for them. Sadly, any lead with one or more of these qualities is “just not that into you.”
Still not convinced lead qualification matters? Take a look at this post that argues that unqualified leads are WORSE leads than no leads at all.
Lead Qualification is for EVERYONE
If you are convinced, here’s a look at nine reasons your unqualified leads may not be a fit (at least at this point).
Here are 10 signs you have a lead qualification problem:
1. They Have No Budget
So your potential client seems heads over heels for your brand – you couldn’t be happier! Then, the other shoe drops.
They simply “have no budget for this.” This terrible phrase may also be uttered in a variety of ways including (but not limited to) “we recently had our budget cut,” or “we would really love to work with you but we can’t justify spending this money now.”
No matter the form in which it is said, it all translates to the same thing — unqualified lead.
Wasting your time trying to come up with some scenario in which they can afford it will ultimately backfire 9 times out of 10.
2. They Aren’t the Decision Maker in Their Company
This one is a real heart-breaker!
The client loves your company and understands the value in your pricing. All lights are green and signs point to instant conversion. But who is this person exactly? What is their title and rank within their company? If you are speaking with anyone other than the person with the authority to make the purchase, your time is being wasted. That’s not to say that you can’t try to connect with the appropriate contact within the company, but there is no guarantee you will garner the same level of interest. Time to say goodbye and move on!
3. They Have no Engagement with Your Content
Creating content in sales is all about lead nurturing and getting people excited about our value. For some, it may be their first time learning about your company. If you are dealing with a lead that isn’t engaging with your content, they are likely a fair-weather friend.
Maybe they like the idea of what you offer but have no real motivation/budget/intention of becoming a viable lead.
Those who are truly excited about your company will be like your overzealous relative who just joined social media. They will be interacting with your content, sharing your posts and retweeting.
This also applies to your email campaigns. If your lead isn’t clicking your content in emails, they probably just don’t care enough to take the 10 seconds to see what they sent you. Would you stay friends with someone like that? MOVING ON!
Not sure how to tell if they are engaged? Check out this great blog post.
4. They Filled Out Your Contact Form with Fake Information
This is one we see ALL the time. We know your real number isn’t 555-5555. It’s like giving someone a fake name at a bar. You may be bored and want to chat a little but you don’t want to be contacted again.
If a lead isn’t giving you all their information, they are lukewarm about you or they are perhaps window shopping. In fact, only 25% of leads are legitimate. Wasting time tracking down these false leads is pointless.
The good news is that you may still hear from them down the road when they are ready for a serious purchase and are further down the sales funnel.
You know what they say, “…if they come back it’s meant to be.”
5. They Have a Problem You Can’t Solve
You may be your company’s sales superman but if you can’t solve a client’s issues with your product and services, there is no point wasting time.
While sometimes this is obvious, other times it’s a bit harder to see.
Do you notice during your pitch that they are giving you clues like “we don’t really have that issue,” or “I’m not sure how that would apply to us.”
These are your red flags. Like it or not, it’s not a good fit.
6. The Timing is Wrong
This one happens a lot.
They tick off most boxes for a qualified lead but the timing isn’t right for them to move forward. This is most commonly noted by statements like “we like what you have to offer, it’s just not the right time for us to buy.”
At this point you are really at a standstill. There are many things you can do to overcome objections, however, time isn’t going to be one of them.
7. Your Sales Call is Short
Consider this akin to the horrible first date where no one has much to say and one of you keeps checking your watch.
The short sales call is a surefire sign that interest isn’t there.
Whether it’s a cold call or a call with a lead who has expressed interest, if you feel like you are being rushed off the phone, there is no use wasting your time.
8. Multiple Ignored Offers
Let’s face it; we put a lot of time, money and effort into carefully crafting our content and automation software to reach our leads wherever they are in the sales funnel.
We are doing our part to communicate but if you aren’t getting any kind of response it’s time to spend time on those who are ready to buy.
Who likes sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring?
9. Uneducated About the Company
Leads who are really interested in fixing their issue will eat up all the information they can about you. They are truly excited about all that you have to offer. If they don’t seem to know much about your company, they haven’t been actively researching you.
The fine print?
They aren’t that interested.
Now, this is an indicator of poor lead quality only IF your content is great and you aren’t leaving any gaps. Considering that yours is likely stellar, they just aren’t serious about you. Next!
10. They Don’t Have a Solution in Mind
Ask anyone their problems and you’ll probably wish that you didn’t as you stand there 10 minutes later looking for a way to get the heck out of there.
Problems will stay just that until a solution comes to mind.
Your job as a sales person is of course to help them see that YOU offer them a solution but if you are getting feedback like “yeah, not really sure I can picture that helping,” they probably have no clue what would make their situation better and if they can’t see that, you can’t help them.
So let’s define a qualified lead.
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While it’s a bit more complex than a definition you would find in the Webster’s dictionary, a qualified lead is basically someone who has the ability to make the decision for their company, has a high likelihood to purchase, has a problem you can fix and a budget to back this all up.
One lead qualification method you may have heard of is BANT.
This acronym has become and old standby in the sales industry. It stands for Budget, Authority, Need and Timing. Essentially, a qualified lead will have all the qualities that the ten we just mentioned don’t have.
They not only have the need for your service, the budget to cover it, the authority to make the decision but the timing is also right. The clouds part, music chimes and your amazing qualified lead is right in front of you!
Keep this feeling in mind when you say goodbye to stale leads. There are plenty of motivated buyers out there, you just need to find them and put them in your pipeline.
Why Aren’t You Generating Quality Leads?
So what if you feel that the majority of your leads are poor quality? This can be rather disheartening, but it happens if you don’t have a great lead generation program in place.
Here are some of the most common reasons you might be drawing the attention of low quality leads.
- Your Content is Not Attracting the Right People
The way you craft your content says a lot about the people you will attract. Take a look at your recent content and ask yourself “who am I writing this for?”
Is your content aimed at the person making buying decisions?
Is it crafted toward those who can afford your products/services?
Content is not about just writing about things YOU find interesting. It’s all about crafting it for the RIGHT kind of audience. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal lead. What are they hoping to learn? What do they need to know? Create killer content that appeals to all these inquiries and make sure you are placing it where your desired audience will see it.
- You Don’t Have a Lead Qualification Process Off the Bat
In order to save time, you need a great lead qualification process early on. What safeguards do you have in place to weed out low quality leads from quality ones in the beginning?
Chances are, if you are getting hit with tons of poor leads, you don’t have one.
Not to worry! At least now you know what you need to do.
As far as choosing the process that works for you, look at the qualities that are making your leads poor ones.
Is price a concern among them? Then you may want to produce sample pricing early on to be sure that you are discouraging those who cannot make the purchase at the time.
- You’re Not Asking the Right Lead Qualifying Questions
Keep this in mind – all sales calls are not the same.
This may sound simple, but if you are interacting with all your leads in the same way, you might just be wasting your time.
You need to make sure you are asking the right questions in order to determine if this sale is likely to convert. Once you have done this, set up a ranking system and sort out the leads you think have the most potential and those who seem unlikely to make it through the sales funnel.
This will save you and your team from wasting valuable time on the wrong people.
- Delayed Follow-up
Imagine that you are the lead and you are really excited to find a company that can solve your own business’s problem. You read all the content you can about them, you enter your information in right away and you hear nothing…. This may continue for a few days or a week but when you finally hear from them, the thrill has sort of worn off. Right?
Be sure you aren’t doing this to your leads!
It’s often an overwhelming process responding to the many inquiries you receive but if your team isn’t doing it in a timely manner, rejections will increase and sales will suffer.
You may think you have this covered by using automated replies. While these are great to confirm that you have received their request, people want to speak to an actual person.
Tighten up your process (i.e. respond in a timely manner). If you don’t, your competition will.
By taking the time to ask yourself “what qualifies as a good lead?” and pushing aside low quality ones, you will be saving time and placing your efforts elsewhere.
While no one likes a break up, it’s time to bid your stale sales leads goodbye!
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