Not All Leads are Created Equal
Anyone who works in sales can tell you what they consider to be a lead. But the definition of a lead varies depending on who is doing the talking.
In the most general terms, a lead is the initial stage of the sales process and identifies a business or person who could potentially buy the product or service being sold. This definition can be further narrowed by saying that a sales lead is a business or person who is, or is likely to be, interested in your product or service.
So how do you decide if it is worth you or your sales team’s efforts to pursue a particular lead or initiate the appointment setting process? It starts with qualifying the lead to find out if it has the potential to turn into an actual sale. Qualifying a lead is the most important step in the sales process and it involves answering a few very important questions.
1. Can this lead make the decision to buy the product or service?
If a prospect doesn’t have the ultimate power to authorize a purchase or a contract, it isn’t a good lead. Quality leads will get you in touch with decision makers. If you are selling to a company, the decision maker may be a department head or purchasing manager. If you are selling to a consumer, it may be a homeowner or the homeowner’s spouse.
2. Does this lead need your product or service?
If you are selling computers, qualifying leads are people who are interested in upgrading or switching brands. If a company just upgraded their computers and are happy with their vendor, don’t waste your time.
3. Is your product or service better than what the lead currently has?
If you can’t make life better for an individual, or generate more revenue for a business, you probably won’t close a sale. Pursuing this lead doesn’t make good financial sense.
4. Can the lead afford your product or service?
No matter how much a lead needs or wants your product or service, if they don’t have the money to buy it, it’s not going to happen. Financial troubles or major acquisitions are signs that a lead is a dead end.
Effective lead generation starts with identifying qualified, high-quality leads that have a good chance of turning into sales. It also saves company resources by making sure that only quality leads are pursued.