How many leads do you have on your desk right now? How many are hot? How many are lukewarm? Are there any hot leads that you’re not acting fast enough on? Where did these potential deals come from? What’s the likelihood of them closing? Lots of questions, right?
Qualifying your leads will help you proceed confidently.
Why should you qualify every one of your leads?
For one, the act of qualifying a lead will help you determine how much urgency to assign to working on closing it as well as helping you allocate a rate of closing probability. The more info you have at the start, the better equipped you’ll be. You’ll spend time where it matters most. You’ll boost your productivity. Asking the right questions will help you proceed in the right direction and will maximize your potential for wowing your prospects and transforming them into customers.
The biggest part of qualifying leads is gathering information. The right questions are essential. Talk to the customer or prospective customer so you can gain some information on what stage things might be at as well as to suss out how likely you are to get the deal.
- Are there other competitors being contacted?
- What’s the budget and what are the timelines?
- What has to happen for the deal to close in your favor?
- Are you talking to the right person? Is the person you’re dealing with a decision maker? If not, are they an influencer?
Before doing some info gathering, make a list of questions based on what you know about the deal and what you don’t know. Try not to make assumptions.
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Track Your Leads
Beyond qualifying leads, it’s important to track them, too. Tracking will help you walk leads through your sales process and will help you with future business development and marketing efforts, too. The right process will boost your chances of success and will slash the time you spend unnecessarily spinning your wheels.
Track what the details are and record as much info as possible including the lead source.
Did the lead come from a phone call or website inquiry or did the lead come from a referrer or another source?
Over time, you’ll be able to use this info to your advantage to help you fine tune your sales, marketing, and follow-up strategies. Info from leads you have today could help you with future marketing strategies and whether the lead turns into a purchase order or not, it’ll also help you build a potentially valuable prospect / contact list. The right tracking system can also help you immensely with time management.
What’s Your Strategy?
Information gathering might tell you if you going to have an opportunity to quote as a sole supplier or if you be price shopped around. It’ll also help you determine whether or not you should get your suppliers or experts involved to help you position yourself as the best potential vendor.
Will you need to do more than send a simple quote? Is this a situation where there is an RFQ or RFP to respond to and /or where you might want to get in front of the customer and do a presentation and /or bring experts with you to increase the likelihood of winning?
Over time, your company will be able to develop and fine tune a sales process that helps you with your lead generation and lead management. You may have a lot of success with some of your leads through developing an automated sales funnel where the lead enters the pipeline as a prospect and exits as a happy customer. But for some deals, you’ll have to create customized pitches and walk things through carefully.
Don’t forget: every deal won is an opportunity to grow and to create repeat business but even more importantly, every lost deal is an opportunity to learn and improve.
Thorough gathering and in tracking info you’ll increase the likelihood of showcasing your professionalism, in becoming a trusted advisor, and in presenting your company in a way that makes you appear to be the best solution to your potential customer.