Every company would have a product that offers a one-size-fits-all solution in an ideal world. The need for a target market would become obsolete because the market is everyone. Of course, the sales world isn’t ideal, and even the most exciting products and services don’t appeal across the board.
Finding the right audience for a sales solution is the foundation of a well-run business; it’s what keeps companies flowing. To get more business, reps need good leads—leads that match with their target audience. And that’s just the starting point.
So how do you sort the good from the bad and identify opportunities that provide a high chance of closing?
Once the marketing department generates a large volume of prospects, along with any inbound leads, it’s up to the rep to sift through the noise and identify the best opportunities. If there isn’t a process in place, salespeople end up wasting hours calling leads that were never going to convert.
Identifying a Good Lead on the First Phone Call
The initial phone call between a rep and their lead is the most important one. It’s here where a decision is needed on whether it’s worth pursuing. Cold calling can be tricky, but it’s a key component to understanding a leads’ suitability to potential deals.
During that first talk, reps need to go through four five essential steps to understand the likelihood of closing a deal. By doing so, they afford themselves the best opportunity to qualify prospects, maximize time and generate the desired results.
Step 1: What is the Pain Point of the Lead?
Even if a lead shows the desire for what the rep is selling, there is still the matter of affordability. But perhaps even more importantly is a prospect’s pain point, which plays a vital role in any buying decision.
Put simply, if a product or service doesn’t solve an issue, there is little point in pursuing a deal. The goal isn’t to sell at all costs; it’s to provide a service that is a good fit for everyone involved. A lead won’t become a customer if there isn’t a problem they need solving.
Reps should ask leads questions about the company set up and solutions they might already be using to see if there is a hunger for a new product or service. If they don’t have a solution in place, ask why to decipher whether there is a good fit.
Step 2: Find Out if your Lead has the Budget
It was a close call between budgets and pain points for top billing, but pain points just won out.
No budget means no sale, however.
It is a waste of time going through the whole process of trying to sell only to find that lead doesn’t have the required funds to commit to a product or service. Finding out if there is affordability in the initial stages saves both reps and customer’s time.
Salespeople shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions about budgets early in the conversation. This way they get a better understanding of the ballpark figure leads can potentially manage. If a product costs thousands of dollars, but the lead has a budget in the hundreds, it’s clear there won’t be a good fit.
Step 3: Beware of Over Enthusiastic Leads
Does a potential lead seem like it’s too easy to convert? If a prospect is over enthusiastic about your solution, heed with caution. Signing a deal is never straightforward—it costs money for the buying party.
If it seems like money isn’t an issue for the person you are talking to; it’s likely it will be for someone else. In other words, you aren’t speaking with the decision maker.
Someone who has few objections and instantaneously believes the product will be the perfect fit for them is often to good to be true. It appears that this kind of lead is unlikely to convert. This is especially true when you’re selling to companies. It’s hard to shake most businesses out of their routines.
The ones you can convince to buy will ask many questions, whether regarding price or product features. No matter what you’re selling, you never have the ideal solution, and interested companies will be thorough with their questions.
Even when there does seem to be progress, nothing is set until you have the money.
Step 4: Who is the Lead Decision Maker?
Getting hold of the shot caller, the person who gives an emphatic “yes” or much feared “no”, is the trickiest part of qualifying a lead. Reps might be talking to someone who is happy to engage in the call but has zero purchasing power.
Salespeople need to be confident they are speaking to a decision maker or someone who plays a vital role in the process. Ask the person you are calling if they have the influence to make a decision, providing they are happy with the product. Check if other people are involved in green-lighting deals, and if they could be present for future meetings with all decision makers involved.
It will be easier to put some form of timeline on any potential deal by gaining insight into who is the decision maker and how many people are influential in the business.
Step 5: How Long Will the Deal Take to Close?
So, you have spoken to the lead, there is a budget, a pain point that needs solving, and they are a decision maker. Great!
Now the length of the deal comes into play.
There is no set time to how long closing takes, but it’s important to weigh up the quality.
If it’s an entry-level deal, salespeople shouldn’t spend too long moving the lead through the pipeline. It’s worth asking how quickly they are looking to close a deal, so there is a clear idea of the amount of work that comes from the reps’ side.
That way they can map out the pipeline to move a lead through the sales process. From early in the call, reps will know whether they are looking at concluding a deal with relative ease or if it could take longer—perhaps between six to nine months.
Focus on Closing your Lead
These steps don’t take long to go through, and salespeople should aim to complete them all on the first call. Once a rep has gone through the four main steps, they can focus on what really matters: closing a deal.
If a lead ticks all the important boxes, salespeople can begin moving them through the process, aiming for the customer conversion promise land. Move on from leads that don’t meet requirements as swiftly as possible.
By making an early distinction over any possible deal, reps save a considerable amount of time, which can be spent on converting good leads and reaching sales targets.