How Qualified is your Lead?

[Editorial Notes : There are leads and then, there are leads that convert. Arpan Jha, who leads product and marketing strategy at PromptCloud shares few key insights.]

While in the B2B space with high touch points, it’s common to dream initially of each lead squeezing down through the acquisition funnel. More often than not do you wake up to realities; the biggest one being that identifying qualified leads ain’t easy. The experience you provide AND a lead’s own business standing directly impact the customer acquisition process.

a qualification occurs more at the lead’s end than your’s.

So of those instances where you haven’t left a stone unturned and really hope that the deal converts, here’s a compilation of quirky list of lead patterns and inferences to help you distinguish qualified leads from the not so qualified ones.

1. Short notice…Please help! – When leads want your solution urgently so that you stop breathing, you’re probably being a scapegoat to some immediate need of the hour (and not a deep felt problem). It’s quite likely that all your efforts are well being used for a presentation to  the client/bosses. 

2. Since you are a trekker..can you move the mountain for me?– Dubious requirements that give you a giggle, well..that’s all they could give you. The earlier you let go of them the better. Besides, it’s better to strategically plan for additional components/features as opposed to nodding to all client requests and falling into a trap later because it didn’t fit into your portfolio.

3. I only have a cent to spare – if your solution costs $200 and your lead only has $1 in his/her pocket, you are never doing business with him/her. It’s really important to get a sense of your lead’s budget before jumping into other things. Since you can’t always directly ask this question, clarify your price points and gauge the comfort zone. Most of the things in life and business are based on judgement. 

4. A long droopy silence– Everyone’s is too busy to respond to everything you have to say. But when in an acquisition process, if a lead does not wake up to your follow ups, they are asking you to leave them at peace. Although your solution might have interested them, that’s not something they could die for at the moment. Keep in touch though.

Note- in many cases, this silence might have preceded with revelation on pricing (if your pricing isn’t public or fixed). This can be a good point to start negotiations and let go of some pennies if there’s an opportunity for long-term business. 

5. I know I wanted X before..but can you do Y? – Changing requirements is a powerful indicator of how much (read less) visibility your lead has into his/her problem. Unless you find yourself gaining enough returns even with disparate requests, it’s better to stay away from all the frustration it causes. 

On the contrary…

1. Thank Gawd I found you..– Leads who treat you like you were God-sent, you can gladly check your qualification box here. They would always ask direct questions and you will realize how comfortably you can connect with them through your offerings. 

2. Crisp requirements – Some requirements are stated magically to resonate with your solutions. When this happens, you know the lead knows what he/she is asking. This avoids so much time being wasted over salesy talks. On that note, if you are a tech startup, it’s a good idea to have a biz-dev team that understands the technical aspects well. Going back and forth over “I’ll check with my team and get back to you” creates holes in your funnel. 

3. I don’t mind paying for this – Those who understand and appreciate your solution will always be willing to pay in advance for it without being asked to do so. They know the pain point you are solving and the effort that has gone within. We have had qualified leads asking to provide a quote even for a simple pilot instead of getting things done for free. Needless to say, for this to happen, you have gained that credibility in the market. If not, do offer to provide references of clients who speak highly of you. 

Is there a hack to qualify leads from the former category?

From my experience, a qualification occurs more at the lead’s end than your’s. All you can provide is experience, the level of which should only improve. When you have just begun, every lead gives a jubilation and you’d like to cling on to each. However, with each there’s a learning associated that you can feed into your approaches, depending on the business you are in.

Tell us if you have made similar conclusions. If not, we’d love to be wronged and learn.

Recommended Read : Decoding Sales for Geeky Entrepreneurs : It’s Not Always About Closing a Deal

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