Why do you need a consistent process for qualifying sales prospects? To start, salespeople’s precious time is best spent in front of qualified prospects. Tasking non-sales personnel or a lead call center with the initial screening, information gathering, and appointment scheduling can be far less expensive than paying a sales person to focus on these administrative tasks. Here are two ideas to help institute best practices and optimize lead qualification.
Think about the circumstances under which a lead cannot buy from you. For example, is the lead located in a place where you cannot provide service? Or, does the lead require industry specific products that you don’t carry? Companies that fail to create this type of “knock-out” process waste time with prospects they cannot help.
To fine-tune the knock-out process, interview the sales team to identify what sales qualifying questions they ask prospects to identify these situations. Then, put those questions at the beginning of the lead qualification process.
Implementing a consistent process to prioritize leads will not only optimize the lead qualification process but also help the sales team track and compare their performance. Here are a few ideas to develop a system of prioritization:
- Is your potential customer experiencing a serious or urgent problem?
- What is the prospect’s time frame for making a change: a month, a quarter, or a year?
- What other options are they considering: do nothing, handle it in-house, or inquire with your competitors?
- How did they find out about your business? Referrals are often the hottest leads and are far more likely to close than others.
Time is a valuable resource that is best spent on qualified prospects, which you can only do through a consistent lead qualifying process. What are the questions you should begin asking every new sales prospect?
This blog was written by Laurie Leonard, the President of SUITE 1000, a U.S. based national telephone answering service, inbound call center and outsourced call center service. Her company has specialized in handling legal intake, sales leads, email lead response, appointment scheduling, customer service and help desk calls for over 20 years.