Whether you’re a sales or marketing professional, you’ve probably heard people mention lead qualification before. If you haven’t, don’t worry, I’m about to explain it to you.
Before we can explore this concept, though, let’s start with a simpler and broader concept. Do you know what a lead is?
What is a lead?
What defines it as a lead is the fact that this person/company has expressed interest in what you sell.Leads can be acquired through many different channels, from customer referrals to a form someone filled to gain access to an ebook/white-paper.
Leads can be acquired through many different channels, from customer referrals to a form someone filled to gain access to an ebook/white-paper.
The origin of this lead, along with a series of information about it, help determine how qualified a lead is, which means analyzing where in the customer buying cycle this individual/company is.
What is lead qualification?
The process of determining if a lead is qualified (and how qualified it is) encompasses more than a single rule. The concept of lead qualification varies from company to company, according to what they define as a ‘qualified lead’.
There are, though, three common lead qualification standards, as follows:
Marketing qualified lead (MQL)
A company’s marketing team is normally responsible for lead generation and the initial steps on the lead qualification ladder. A marketing qualified lead is, as the name says, a lead that was considered qualified by the marketing team.
The marketing team normally uses more than one approach to get prospects to engage with the company and, therefore, demonstrate interest.
Whether they filled a form to download an ebook or white-paper or signed up for a free trial, in order to be considered a marketing qualified lead this person/company’s interest must be considered qualified.
While visitors and generic leads are at the very top of your sales funnel, a marketing qualified lead is a little further down the road to becoming a customer.
Sales accepted lead (SAL)
After the marketing team determines a lead is qualified, their ‘job’ with this lead is done. It will then be passed on to the sales team so they can run a deeper evaluation.
The sales’ team goal at this point is to search for any information the marketing team may have missed to determine whether they should be sent back to the marketing team to be further nurtured and qualified, developed by the sales team or discarded.
Sales qualified lead (SQL or opportunity)
To get to this point of the marketing/sales funnel the leads must necessarily have gone through the previous phases of the lead qualification process.
At this stage, the designated sales associate will conduct the final due diligence to determine whether this lead has the necessary budget for acquiring your product/service and if he/she is the decision maker and, therefore, has the necessary authority for deciding to purchase on behalf of their department/company,
The sales team will also evaluate whether this lead’s needs fit with what your product/service offers and if they’re at the stage whether they’re ready to buy.
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