In a recent webinar hosted by RingLead, I discussed the importance of lead qualification with other sales experts, Mark Hunter and John Golden.
Here are some of those sales qualification tips.
Do your research
Prior to the sales call, the goal is to know as much as we can about the prospect, so we can be as relevant as possible with our message. This increases the chances of getting a response. We all know the more customized and tailored we can get with our message, the higher we can drive our response rates. However, the main issue with this is time management. If we had all of the time in the world to research each account and send a tailored message, that would be great. Unfortunately, most of us are measured by certain activity metrics which prevents us from taking this approach. Therefore, we need to find a way to balance the research and finding information, while making sure we hit our activity levels.
I balance research time with hitting sales activity levels by breaking down the categories of information that help me determine the quality of the account. The basic demographic categories might be:
- Number of employees
The goal is to dissect these and find the good (Tier 1), average (Tier 2), and poor (Tier 3) characteristics of each of these categories. For example, some of us focus on the SMB market and run lists to find any company that falls between 10-200 employees. There is always a sweet spot. I used to sell IT services into the SMB market which cost between $1000-$5000/month. If you were under 20 employees, you probably couldn’t afford us. If you were over 60 employees, you probably had an internal IT resource who was going to look at us as competition. Therefore, 20-60 employees was my Tier 1, over 60 employees was my Tier 2, and under 20 was my Tier 3. The same holds true for industry, number of employees, and so on.
In addition to the basic qualification categories, we need to look at other categories and information that we can gather through limited research, various tools, or even a quick call to the gatekeeper or someone lower on the totem pole. Some of these categories might include:
- Existing technologies
- CRM solution
- Number of locations
- Department type (HR, Sales, Marketing, etc)
- Social media presence
In each of these categories there are good, average and poor characteristics.
Tailor your outreach by tier
Once you identify all of the relevant categories and characteristics and segmented accordingly, you can reach out. The Tier 1s should get the ‘quality’ approach. These are the prospects we want to research, set up tracking, listen to what they are saying in the social world, etc. so we can send tailored messages. The Tier 2s are the prospects that can get more of the ‘quantity’ approach. Run lists based on certain qualification criteria, for instance, VP of Sales; SaaS Industry; CRM=Salesforce. I can come up with a message specific to that persona, and send it out to a group to see if I can get a response. Finally, I can use my Tier 3s to practice. These are the prospects for testing different approaches to see what works, and refine my message before using it on my Tier 1s and Tier 2s.
With a tiered approach to qualification, we can be more targeted and effective with time management.
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