What makes a lead “qualified” at your software or tech company? If you answered “someone with a need and a budget,” then you need to get a little more specific. (Okay…a lot more specific.)
Think about your customers. Now, think about the customers that you’ve most liked working with. Now, add to that, the customers who fit within your long-term business objectives and goals for scale.
Defining Fit vs. Sales Readiness
To make sure that marketing is generating leads that the sales team can turn into customers, both teams need to have a shared understanding of exactly what a qualified lead is. Luckily, that comes down to answering just two main questions:
- What makes someone a good fit for your offering? Create an ideal customer profile that lists the key traits a person or organization must possess to be a good fit.
- Which actions demonstrate that someone is sales-ready? Identify the actions a lead takes to demonstrate that they’re ready to buy.
Exceptions for Hand Raisers
But what about the “hand raisers”—those who specifically ask to talk to sales? Give the people what they want! Even though poor fit hand raisers might convert at a much lower rate, they’re still valuable enough to have direct contact with the sales team.
Developing Lead Qualification Matrix
Once you know the qualifications for fit and sales readiness, you can create a six-category lead qualification matrix that will define exactly which leads should be passed on to sales and which ones should continue to be nurtured by marketing.
Breaking the Rules
We’ve all heard that rules are meant to be broken, so feel free to get stricter on lead qualification standards if your sales team is overwhelmed. Likewise, ease up a bit on lead qualification standards if your sales team isn’t busy…just avoid being overly aggressive with early-stage inbound leads!
Maximize Your Efficiency
As you go through the process of implementing a sales enablement strategy, simultaneously layer in quality assurance measures to maximize everyone’s time and efforts. At times, you may want to say “yes” to ever lead that walks through the door, and at other times you may be as picky as a toddler. Setting these parameters now will help both sales and marketing stay laser focused on business objectives throughout the ebbs and flows.