You have a group of young sales reps eager to start closing deals. But to get to those deals, it’s first necessary to do some qualifying calls to separate the wheat from the chaff.
What is a Qualified Lead?
In sales terms, there are quite a few differences between a prospect and a lead. Qualified leads are potential customers that:
- Express interest in your product or service. Somehow, they have heard of you. They have downloaded an ebook or seen reviews online and filled an online form. The bottom line is, your lead wants to know more.
- Have an issue that needs fixing soon(ish). An interested lead that has no sense of urgency may never close. Your lead must know that your service or product can help them fix the problem they are encountering. Your reps must be able to identify what their challenge is, determine whether or not their solution is the right fit, and if it is, be able to communicate effectively how their solution can solve their problem.
- Have a budget for your product or service. Your service or product has a price. That should be clear from the get-go to the customer to save you time. The final price of course can be negotiated but you must make sure early on that the buyer has the means to pay.
- Are decision-makers. Sales reps should always aim to include the person in charge. It may not be the one who will use the product, or is looking for a solution but they are the one that have the final say in the buying process.
These key points make up what is known as BANT in sales terms:
Budget: As mentioned, focus on leads who can afford your services. A back and forth with a prospect that can’t pay is a waste of time and energy.
Authority: If you aren’t speaking with the final decision-maker or an influencer that will make their recommendation to the decision-maker, then you’re wasting your time.
Need: A lead must express a need for your product or service. If they aren’t convinced they have a major problem, then they are more than likely to haggle over features or price and be more hesitant. It must be clear to your sales reps whether or not a lead’s need is the right fit with your solution so that they can determine if a lead is worth pursuing or not.
Timeline: A signed deal with no start date has no value. To close, you need more than just need. You also need to know how soon your lead wants their problems fixed. Have they set a timeline internally? An urgent need will lead to a customer who is more ready to buy straight away. Of course, every type of product or service has a different sales cycle, you need to take it into account as well as competition. They are more than likely to take a look at the competition during that period. Hot leads must be called often to make sure you never miss the final decision.
What Questions to Ask During a Qualifying Call?
To help you structure your qualifying calls, here are a few questions you may want to ask. First, ask open-ended questions in order to discover the company’s internal workings and organization.
- How big is the company?
- What industry are they in?
- How do they manage…?
- Have they already set up…?
- Which tools have they used in the past?
- What kind of ecosystem are they working in?
At this stage, the sales rep will get a better picture of the company and how it’s set up to manage their challenges.
- Have you identified a budget range for this purchase?
- What do you currently spend now on this problem or need?
- Whose budget is this coming out of?
- We’ve calculated that your team is losing X amount per [time period] on this problem. How does that compare to the budget you’ve set aside?
- We’ve calculated your team could potentially gain X amount per [time period] by making this adjustment. How does that compare to the budget you’ve set aside?
- How much would it cost to build the system by yourself?
- What’s the ROI you’re hoping to see
Authority / Decision-Making Process
- Are you in charge of deploying the project?
- Will anyone else be involved in this decision?
- How many people are involved?
- How much time does it take for your company to buy a product/service?
- What are the results do want to get? Increase in revenue? Cutting costs? Saving time?
- How will those results affect you, your team and your company?
- How soon are you planning to deploy?
- Are there any upcoming deadlines that you have to be ready for?
- Are you planning any events, press releases?
- What’s your goal for the next six months? Will you be able to meet that goal without outside help?
- Working backward from the date you gave me, we’d need to finalize our deal by X. Is that achievable?
If your lead answers most of these questions, then they are already pretty far ahead in their decision-making process. It might be the time to ask about the competition.
Knowing about the competition helps your sales reps know better what your lead is looking for as well as adjust their quotation.
And here’s an extra one:
- Which other vendors have you worked with or are you working with?
- Is the lead evaluating your solution or. building their own solution?
- Have you tried other products?
If you are able to get an answer for all these questions, then you’ve just succeeded in making great qualifying calls with leads that are much likely to close. Create a simple, one-page document with these crucial questions and make sure your SDRs use it.