Lead qualification is vital to the health of your business. Not only could you be wasting time and money, but you may also be missing valuable opportunities. Think of lead qualification as the foundation of a healthy sales process. At E6 Solutions, we help our clients set up and automate better processes.
Start by collecting the right information about your customers. You may not think you need to know their ‘firmographics,’ but you could discover valuable patterns. Are your most profitable customers all the same size, in the same area, or privately owned? Even more importantly, are you overlooking ways you could reduce your expenses by serving more similar companies?
Why do you need an Ideal Account Profile?
Before the lead acquisition, before the marketing, before the introduction–you should know who’s your best bet. Great lead qualification starts with an Ideal Account Profile.
First, figure out what “ideal” means to your company. The senior management of your company may prioritize highly profitable accounts, or they may prioritize large accounts. In contrast, the sales manager may prioritize accounts that are quick to close. A valuable way to get past these competing perspectives is to find patterns among won and lost opportunities. Another good step is comparing customers by their profitability. By sharing this information with the relevant managers and departments, you are more likely to build agreement.
Next, analyze the ‘firmographics’ of your best customers. (Firmographics are like demographics for companies.) Analyze them from all angles. What do they have in common? Here are some objective ways to look at your customers:
- Geographic Location
- Ownership (public vs. private).
Lead qualification drives a more efficient sales process when your company commits to rejecting leads that are unlikely to convert. In the long run, focusing on a particular type of customer helps improve profitability. Also, focused targeting allows you to communicate on a more personalized level with your prospects.
On the third step, “weighting and gating” allows you to score leads as they come in. Leads are seldom completely “ideal,” but you can rate your prospects on various characteristics. More importantly, you can use a gate, which may be a disqualifying characteristic or a cumulative score that helps you reject leads.
Lead qualification benefits from automation
Automating your lead qualification process doesn’t mean some black-box artificial intelligence is going to hide some leads from you. You are just setting up an application to guide your employees to the best sales process. Plus, you’ll have good records of past decisions. Over time, you’ll be able to fine-tune the system.
Benefits of automation include
- Increased productivity
- Improved speed in lead qualification
- Better customer/prospect satisfaction, mainly because of less misdirected and low-value contact from the sales team
- Higher quality insight into your pipeline because data is collected more consistently and is easier to report
- More reliable, convenient lead nurturing
- An easier-to-manage sales process because expectations are clearer.
Lead automation helps to simplify difficult tasks in marketing, such as lead qualification and lead scoring. Nucleus Research found that marketing automation increases sales productivity by 14.5% and reduces marketing overhead by 12.2%. Another study by Invespro revealed that 74% of respondents said that the technology’s ability to save them time was its largest benefit.The Complete Guide to Lead Automation from LeadsBridge (October 2021)