Time remains a primary obstacle for sales teams’ efforts to close more deals. Too much time is spent following up on unqualified leads, leaving too little time to generate sales from target customers.
It’s no wonder why 57% of companies surveyed by Marketing Sherpa placed “converting qualified leads into paying customers'' at the top of their lists of priorities. Meanwhile, 52% of the surveyed companies called the same objective a challenge.
Qualifying leads is the key to closing more deals. What is lead qualification? It’s the process of determining which potential leads are most likely to make a purchase. That way, salespeople’s time and effort can be spent as efficiently and effectively as possible.
If sales efforts are concentrated on only the best prospective customers, time transitions from an obstacle to an advantage. Why, then, did Lattice and Decision Tree Labs find only 44% of companies use lead scoring systems to more efficiently qualify leads?
How to qualify and score leads
Sales teams might wonder just how to qualify leads. Lead qualification is a multi-step process, but it all starts with identifying the characteristics of the ideal customer profile (ICP). How would you describe the person most likely to purchase your product or service?
The ICP can focus on demographics such as gender, age and region, as well as online behaviors such as website visits and engagement with social media and email. One way to accurately determine the ICP is by examining common characteristics of existing clientele.
Do they all live in the same place? Do they all enjoy a shared hobby, or are they of a similar age range? Did most past customers visit a specific web page before making a purchase?
Sales teams can also consider qualities of a non-customer. For example, if the ICP includes a locality, a lead might be disqualified if they live hundreds of miles away. The more specific the ICP, the better the leads can be scored.
Once the ICP is identified, it’s time to ask qualifying questions and score the leads. What is lead scoring, and how does it work? Lead scoring is the process of assigning positive and negative point values to sales prospects based on how well they match the ICP. A different scoring system can be used to evaluate leads in different markets. The more flexible the lead qualification system, the easier it can be scaled.
Lead scoring generates new business and boosts a company’s bottom line. According to an Eloqua study, companies increased closed deals by 30% when they utilized a lead scoring system, and company revenue increased by 18%.
How to structure a lead scoring model
Sales teams don’t have to know exactly how to model their lead scoring systems. What sorts of characteristics and behaviors should be scored, and what is the cutoff point for scores of qualified leads?
A variety of lead scoring frameworks have been tested and found to support specific types of sales efforts. The following lead scoring models are beneficial for sales teams hoping to close more deals.
The lead scoring model is a tried and true starting point for researching prospects. The simple framework consists of:
- B – Does the lead have the Budget to purchase your product or service?
- A – Is the lead a person with decision-making Authority?
- N – Does the prospect have a Need for the product or service being sold, or can a need be created?
- T – What is the prospective customer’s Timeline for closing a deal?
Many sales teams now are relying on the CHAMP framework instead of the older BANT model. The lead scoring model focuses on a prospect’s challenges, including:
- CH – What Challenges does the prospect face?
- A – Does the lead have the Authority to close a deal and make a purchase?
- M – Does the lead have enough Money to purchase the product or service being sold?
- P – Does the lead urgently need the product or service for sale? How high does the lead Prioritize the purchase?
The lead scoring framework is more detailed than BANT and CHAMP, and focuses on the entire sales process to better determine the likelihood that a deal will close. MEDDPIC includes:
- M – What Metrics represent the value the solution being sold offers the prospect. How will the product or service impact the lead’s revenue and bottom line?
- E – Which leads are Economic buyers? In other words, what prospective customers can afford to make the purchase, or which leads have the authority to create the budget needed to close the deal?
- D – What will the prospect need in order to make the purchase? The Decision criteria includes anything the lead requires to close the deal.
- D – How does the prospect make decisions? The Decision process is particularly relevant when working with larger companies and enterprise clients, since there are often multiple steps involved in making a buying decision.
- P – What Paper process is needed to close the deal? When working with business and enterprise, chances are a legal team will need to approve the deal at some point. What is the prospect’s paper process, and how does it impact the timeline and the decision-making authority?
- I – What is the prospect’s pain point? In order to fully understand why the lead is interested in making a purchase, to know their motivations and need for the solution offered, it’s vital to Identify pain.
- C – Who is the key player possessing both the power and the influence to drive the opportunity within the organization? Is there a player you can persuade to Champion for you and sell on your behalf?
Of course, determining the best lead scoring model and most appropriate qualifying questions is only as effective if sales teams understand the entire process. Communication between marketing and sales teams is crucial, as is communication between team members. Visual presentations offer a valuable tool to improve communication and ensure everyone involved with a sales team is on the same page.
By also including a variety of data visualizations within a presentation, customer data can come to life and tell a much clearer story than data alone. Beautiful.ai users easily can create a host of infographics using the cloud-based tool’s smart slide templates. Just enter the data and watch as artificial intelligence designs engaging data visualizations.
The flow chart template, in particular, is useful to illustrate the customer’s buying journey or the overall sales qualification process.