We often talk to company owners and sales team leaders who are having problems converting leads into sales or struggling to cope with the amount of leads coming in. On that topic, lets talk about developing a lead qualification framework, which is part of our series on Business Growth for Automotive companies...
Why do you need a lead qualification framework?
The more qualified a lead is, the more likely they’ll help you achieve your revenue goals. Your team need a shared understanding of your ideal lead so that marketing can generate leads that your sales team can close into customers. As a HubSpot Certified Partner, we use a lead qualification matrix to help your team to be productive and effective.
You should start by understanding what makes someone a good fit for your offering and which actions demonstrate that someone is sales ready.
If you've completed your Sales and marketing strategy and Ideal customer research then you'll be able to define the companies that make your ideal customers and the decision makers that you should be speaking to. You'll want to document this so it's easy for your sales and marketing people to check the detail. We build a business growth manual for all our clients and that includes slides on ideal customer profile and persona, you may want to do the same. These slides are your prospect fit matrix and show what criteria makes the perfect customer.
Next, consider how to handle different types of leads
This is a big topic that I'll cover in more detail in a future session on our Business Growth blueprint; however, lets give you something to start thinking about.
Leads come from many different sources and you need to know what sources are a priority, so you can focus your time in the best places, and know how to approach each lead as they'll need different tactics. Consider these as the main sources for leads:
- An enquiry (somebody wants to talk to sales)
- Inbound lead (from viewing content)
- Existing contacts (who you know)
- Word of mouth (referral)
- Inbound company (viewing your website)
- LinkedIn prospecting
- Passive buyers (based on trigger events or perfect fit companies)
That list is in the order of importance. You'll need to handle each lead differently, considering what they know about you, what they need to know, and how you should first approach them. You need to make sure people are sales ready so your sales team have the best chance of converting leads into sales. Doing this badly is where a LOT of time is wasted and where sales teams are inefficient.
Then a strategy to handle leads
Once you have your lead qualification matrix confirmed, you'll want to create a strategy for how you handle these leads. To do this efficiently you need to be using a marketing and sales automation system like HubSpot that will help you nurture and educate contacts so your sales people don't have to do it manually. Get all of that right and you'll have an efficient business that regularly attracts and sells to your ideal customers. Some points to consider:
- Nurturing: How does marketing nurture unready leads to get them sales ready?
- Qualification: How do you know when a lead has moved from being unready to sales ready?
- Notifications: How does marketing notify sales when a lead becomes sales ready?
- Unqualified Leads: How does sales send leads back to marketing?
- Lead Details: What information needs to be included when marketing sends a lead to sales?
- Data: What data do both teams need to input for the appropriate reports to be run?
Lead qualification is a big topic. Getting is right will allow your business to grow efficiently without having to employ tons of sales people. Instead it'll be about the right sales people, landing customers that are a perfect fit, and not worrying about chasing every single lead. You'll be confident to spend more time on better leads and less time on other leads that aren't right or aren't sales ready because you have the tools to do the nurturing and education for you.
The next steps from here are for you to consider how you move contacts through the sales funnel and building a target lead list.
To learn more about qualifying leads, start with Developing a lead qualification framework.
You can find previous posts in our series on business growth on our blog, at iTunes and Soundcloud, or on YouTube.