Did you know that, according to HubSpot, only 25% of leads are legitimate and should advance to sales? This statistic highlights the importance of understanding what a qualified lead is and mastering the techniques to attract them.
In this guide below, we’ll delve deep into the anatomy of a qualified lead and explore proven techniques to not only attract more leads but ensure they have the highest potential for conversion.
What is a Lead?
In marketing, a lead is a potential customer expressing interest in your product or service. These individuals willingly provide their information, such as filling out a registration form, participating in a trial, or seeking consultation.
Leads have become a crucial metric that businesses carefully research and regularly measure. The higher the quality of leads a business generates, the greater the sales opportunities, ultimately leading to increased sales.
What is a Qualified Lead?
A qualified lead refers to a potential customer who has been assessed and deemed likely to purchase a product or service. This assessment is based on various criteria that determine the lead’s fit and interest level.
In marketing and sales, leads are typically categorized as either ‘qualified’ or ‘unqualified.’ While 61% of B2B marketers immediately route all leads to sales, a mere 27% of these leads meet the qualification criteria.
How Do you Qualify a Lead?
Qualifying a lead involves assessing the potential of a prospect to become a customer based on certain criteria. Here are common steps for how do you qualify a lead:
- Define Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): Clearly outline the characteristics of your ideal customer. Consider industry, company size, location, and specific needs. This initial definition provides a foundation for the lead qualification process.
- Demographic Information: You should gather basic demographic information about the lead. This includes details such as company size, industry sector, geographic location, and the role of the individual within the organization. This is one of the most important steps for how to qualify leads.
- Budget Considerations: Assess the lead’s financial capacity to purchase your product or service. Understanding their budget constraints ensures that you focus on leads who can afford your offering.
- Authority: Identify whether the lead has decision-making authority within their organization. Understanding the hierarchy and decision-making process helps in tailoring your sales approach accordingly.
- Need or Pain Point: Determine if the lead has a genuine need for your product or service. This involves understanding their pain points and challenges, allowing you to position your solution as a valuable and relevant answer to their needs.
By following these comprehensive steps, businesses can establish a robust lead qualification process that not only identifies potential customers but also streamlines the sales journey, resulting in increased conversion rates and overall business success.
The Importance of Qualified Leads
Understanding the significance of qualified leads in the sales process is pivotal for business success. Qualified leads contribute not only to the growth of the customer base but also play a crucial role in enhancing various aspects of the sales funnel.
Impact on Revenue and Conversion Rates
Qualified leads play a pivotal role in shaping the financial success of a business, directly influencing both revenue generation and conversion rates. By identifying the common characteristics and behaviors of ‘qualified leads,’ businesses can not only improve the sales closing rate but also enhance the ‘deal’ value when reaching the following subjects:
- Brings great value in revenue.
- Shows long-term commitment to the products/services the business provides (e.g., marketing, IT services…)
- Has a large budget and is willing to pay for products/services of corresponding quality
The Difference Between Qualified and Unqualified Leads
Understanding the difference between qualified and unqualified leads is crucial in sales and marketing, as it impacts how resources are allocated and how sales strategies are formulated.
Qualified leads are potential customers who have been evaluated and found to meet specific criteria making them more likely to make a purchase. While unqualified leads are the opposite. They have not been thoroughly vetted or do not meet the necessary criteria to be considered likely to make a purchase.
Focusing on qualified leads tends to yield a higher return on investment (ROI) as these leads are more likely to convert into sales. On the other hand, spending too much time on unqualified leads can drain resources and reduce overall efficiency.
Classification of Qualified Lead
Qualified leads are divided into three types, corresponding to the three steps in the process of businesses turning potential customers into real customers. Each type of Qualified Lead has distinct characteristics and requires the application of different marketing strategies.
Information Qualified Lead (IQL)
Information Qualified Leads are prospects who have shown interest by providing essential information, such as contact details or preferences.
- An Information Qualified Lead typically possesses limited knowledge about the business’s products, services, and brand.
- To engage such leads effectively, businesses should offer valuable content or topics of interest. This approach encourages Information Qualified Leads to willingly provide personal information such as their full name, email, phone number, and address.
- Subsequently, businesses can deploy their Sales team to proactively reach out, provide advice, address inquiries, and suggest suitable purchases.
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
Marketing Qualified Leads have engaged with marketing efforts, indicating a higher level of interest. This could include interactions with content, attending webinars, or downloading resources.
To categorize a lead as marketing qualified, you require initial data points like:
- Lead Name
- Company name
- Email address
- Industry or vertical
- Contact Number
- Ask 1-2 questions to gauge interest, such as identifying a pain point. This information aids in developing a targeted marketing strategy.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
Sales Qualified Leads, also known as Hot Leads, represent potential customers in the final stages at the bottom of the marketing funnel. A Sales Qualified Lead is ready to make a purchase and may be in the process of finalizing the sale with the sales staff.
Typically, the Marketing team researches, synthesizes, and evaluates this group of Sales Qualified Leads before transferring them to the Sales team. The Sales team then takes over to facilitate transactions for the purchase and sale of products and services offered by the business.
A lead needs certain early data pieces, such the following, to be classified as marketing qualified:
- Users’ interest in speaking to sales
- Requesting for a demo or quote
- Company Size
- Buying intent
Strategies for Generating More Qualified Leads
In a dynamic and competitive market, the pursuit of qualified leads is crucial for sustainable business growth. Here are three comprehensive strategies we employ to ensure the generation of high-quality leads:
- Data-Driven Case Studies: “What can I gain from it?”
That’s often the first inquiry a potential customer will make when they look at your offering.
When everything is said and done, they want to know the tangible advantages and how they will assist their firm.
Your ability to summarize those advantages and provide hard evidence of how it has benefited other businesses will cause the number of quality leads you produce to soar. It will happen.
And in my experience, using data-driven case studies is one of the best ways to do that. These detailed narratives provide a clear understanding of the impact and benefits, offering potential customers insights into what they can achieve by choosing your solutions.
- Offering Free Demos:
Sharing your product’s essence has two advantages. It attracts prospects to your sales funnel and qualifies them. Demo booking displays real interest, making most participants quality leads. With good demonstrations and sales staff best practices, many of these leads should convert.
- Using Intent-Indicating Longtail Keywords:
Enhance digital visibility with strategically chosen intent-indicating longtail keywords. Crafted to align with specific industry needs, these keywords broaden online reach and attract a more targeted audience actively seeking solutions in the field.
The Last Word on Qualified Leads
The pursuit of qualified leads is not a static journey but a dynamic exploration of connections and conversions. It’s about understanding “what are qualified leads”, engaging them, and inviting potential customers to participate in a narrative where their needs meet solutions. The essence lies not just in the qualification of leads but in the ongoing dialogue that transforms curiosity into commitment.
Taking the initiative to clearly define what constitutes a qualified lead provides a strategic advantage, setting you apart from over half of your competitors who lack a formal definition.
Qualified leads are the lifeline of any business in today’s digital age. Tech-One, with our comprehensive, data-driven approach and deep understanding of the digital landscape in Vietnam, stands out as a valuable partner in your quest for growth and profitability. By collaborating with Tech-One, you can ensure that your lead generation efforts are precise, effective, and yield tangible results for your business.