Understandably, 2020 has been a unique year for many sales reps. Many businesses have delayed or canceled investments in products and services until the COVID-19 pandemic is over and they can more accurately plan for the future, others have seen a surge in demand and require quick action and product education. In both scenarios,, the business-to-business (B2B) market is growing increasingly competitive.Read More
In today’s highly competitive B2B sales climate, lead qualification has become an increasingly important part of the sales process. It not only saves you time and resources—by helping to ensure you’re only talking to the right people—but it also provides customers with a more personalized experience, improves close rates, and boosts revenue.
However, many sales teams lack the time or experience needed to really focus on lead qualification. But consider this: On average, only 25 percent of leads are legitimate and will advance to a sale. Without a robust lead qualification process, your team is wasting time on three-quarters of their leads.
Of course, turning prospects into sales is easier said than done. But without qualifying leads, your salespeople are working hard to convert leads who aren’t going to turn into customers no matter what they try.
To hone in on the right leads, it’s important to understand the three core levels of lead qualification: marketing qualified leads, sales accepted leads, and sales qualified leads.
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
The first stage of leads, MQLs, are those who have been deemed qualified by a company’s marketing team. Generally, these leads are more likely than others to become customers.
A lead might be considered to be qualified by marketing if they are flagged in lead intelligence software. Or, the person may have taken a specific action that indicates interest, such as downloading a piece of content or signing up for a webinar. These specific behavioral actions can help qualify an MQL and are signs that a lead is ready for the next step.
Sales Accepted Leads (SALs)
When a lead is determined to be an MQL, they are passed on to the sales team for further investigation. At this point, the sales team works to gather additional information on each lead to determine whether to accept them.
At each individual company, the sales team should determine what constitutes an SAL. A reliable way to qualify an SAL is through the ANUM method:
- Authority: Is the lead a decision maker at the company?
- Need: What does the lead need, and would your company’s product or service meet that need?
- Urgency: How soon will the lead need to make a decision?
- Money/Budget: Does the lead have the money to buy your product or service?
After SALs are evaluated based on these four criteria, each lead is either discarded, sent back to marketing for further nurturing, or developed even further along in the sales pipeline to become a sales qualified lead.
Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)
If a lead is qualified by marketing and accepted and vetted by sales, they then become an SQL. Typically, a prospect becomes an SQL after they have been nurtured by the sales team; however, some SQLs enter the sales funnel at this late stage of their own volition.
In most cases, SQLs are nearing the end of the Buyer’s Journey. They are relatively invested in the purchasing decision, but before they become customers, they may have specific questions or need some one-on-one time with a sales rep.
At this stage, it can be helpful for the sales team to leverage any information gathered on the lead during the MQL phase, such as resources they have downloaded. Then, the sales rep can have an informed discussion with the lead about their needs and how your products or services can help.
A Worthwhile Exercise
Lead qualification takes time and effort—there’s no doubt about it. But when sales and marketing work together to guide leads through the three phases mentioned above, they wind up with stronger leads in the long run. In fact, Forrester reports that a targeted sales nurturing program results in 50 percent more sales-ready discussions at a 33 percent lower cost.
Of course, not every sales team is equipped to handle lead qualification from end to end. This is one key function that can readily be outsourced to a Sales as a ServiceⓇ provider. By partnering with an experienced Sales as a Service provider that specializes in lead qualification, your team will benefit from higher-quality leads as well as ample time and resources to guide prospects through the final stages of the Buyer’s Journey.
History will remember 2020 as a year that changed the world, including how it has affected how we do business. The chaos created by the COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on global business, including B2B sales and marketing. The B2B sales trends you can expect to see in 2021 are going to be a direct result of the pivot that successful companies were able to make to deal with the economic downturn in 2020.Read More
We all know that B2B sales don’t just happen. Before you can work with prospects and close the deal, you need to have qualified leads that you can convert to sales, which is why the role of the marketing specialist is so critical to the B2B sales process.
The marketing specialist’s job is to generate sales using online marketing strategies such as social media, web marketing, direct email, webinars, blogging, and search engine optimization (SEO). It’s the marketing specialist’s job to add leads to the sales funnel, and that role has become more important as B2B customers have become more self-selecting.Read More
In order to have a topflight sales organization, you need a strong sales channel. When your sales success depends on distributors and partners, you need an internal channel account manager with the right skills to oversee third-party sales.
If you are used to having a direct sales infrastructure, you may not understand the talents that are required of a successful channel account manager. In addition to understanding sales, you also have to be a sales strategist, trainer, coach, negotiator, diplomat, and referee. When you are managing an internal sales team, the team has a common goal—to drive sales for your business.
A channel manager’s role is more complex because it requires accommodating the business needs of channel partners as well as the success of the supplier. It’s a balancing act that requires finesse and additional skills.
The role of the high-tech field rep is changing and so is the way they are selling. The old method of overseeing the customer from lead capture to deal close and beyond is gone. High-tech field reps are now key members of a larger sales team, with each member playing a distinct role in the value chain. With the changes in the field rep’s role come new strategies to generate sales.Read More
Native cloud software is here to stay, and a surprisingly large number of software as a service (SaaS) offerings are free. Free SaaS applications can be invaluable, especially if you need to solve a problem in a hurry. In fact, many free SaaS applications are outstanding tools to increase productivity, address business challenges, and make it easier to work remotely, which is extremely useful with more employees working from home thanks to the coronavirus.
There are free SaaS solutions for almost every business need. We have collected a few of the most popular SaaS tools with free offers:Read More
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an incredible amount of disruption in our day-to-day lives. More of us are working from home, the gyms are closed, and summer travel plans have been put on hold. Meanwhile, we’re all experiencing plenty of newfound stress.
All of these changes have had a rapid and profound impact on our lives—and for many of us, our waistlines. A WebMD survey found that 47 percent of female respondents said they have experienced quarantine-related weight gain. For men, that number was 22 percent.
But your new work-from-home schedule doesn’t have to equate to a more sedentary lifestyle. Here, we explore some of the top ways to avoid “the quarantine 15” while still leaving plenty of time to excel at your sales job.Read More
Times of uncertainty present challenges to all of us, but they also present new opportunities. During a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is anxious about their health, their family, their job, their company, and the future.
No one can predict what’s coming, but you can help secure your company’s future by solidifying your brand reputation. It’s an excellent time to build brand recognition and customer loyalty.Read More
In times of crisis, you need to plan for the future at the same time you address the challenges of the present. These are certainly interesting times, when the global COVID-19 pandemic has created an economic crisis and turned everyone’s operations upside down.
For many, work has stopped, resulting in 21.5 million Americans filing for unemployment. Businesses across all sectors have been affected by the pandemic, and sales have stalled waiting for the crisis to abate. Now is the time to revisit your sales programs and lay the foundation for sales during and after a crisis.Read More