Sales

7 Steps in Lead Qualification Checklist to Easily Categorize Leads Into MQLs and SQLs

7-step easy and convenient Lead Qualification Checklist to categorize leads Into MQLs and SQLs.

Averagely the Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) rate of conversion is 13%. Merely 13% of who marketing teams consider being leads turn out to be productive prospects that the sales teams can work with. 

 

Thousands of people head to your website every single day. While some people might genuinely be interested in your services or products, others might just visit to gather information, make up their minds, compare with competitors, etc. It can be a mere waste of time if you ask your sales crew to chase every single lead that comes your way. It only makes sense when your sales teams follow genuine leads who hold the potential to convert. To get this off the table, one requires a plan of action. 

 

This is when the lead qualification checklist process steps into the picture. To have the ball rolling, you should have a clear strategy for approaching prospective leads and filtering out the non-potential ones. It is essential to filter out the leads who either do not fit your demographic or are uninterested in pursuing your assistance. You can focus on making the most out of the available opportunities by filtering out the quality leads. 

 

Generating leads is a chaotic and stressful task. But when you have a solid strategy to generate leads, it gets much easier to filter them out. For instance, when you understand what your promising prospective leads look like, you can utilize specific criteria to determine the worth of pursuing leads. 

  • You begin with finding and defining a lead. This can be a sales lead who registers for your webinar, sign up for a free demo, or download a white paper.
  • Next, you direct to qualify the leads. Investigate their company, industry, urgency, requirements, interest in your offerings, purchasing authority, etc. 
  • Once you determine their profile, you can segment the leads and provide target messages to shift them through the sales funnel. 

Types of leads in sales

The kinds of leads in sales are as follows:

  1. Information Qualified Leads
  2. Marketing Qualified Leads
  3. Sales Qualified Leads

Learn about each category in the section below to easily categorize your client contacts.

1.     Information Qualified Leads (IQLs) 

Information qualified leads, or IQLs, are the sales leads relatively unknown to your company's services. To convert these leads, you must know and understand what they want. You should connect with your IQLs and deliver valuable information to help shift your perspective lead ahead in the sales funnel. Offer them an overview of your services and products. You can also produce some case studies and marketing data to gauge their attention. Often, the main focus is to develop trust and brand recognition with your IQLs. 

2.     Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) 

MQLs venture further into the sales funnel. They know how your offerings can help them reach their goals. At this stage, you must have multiple interactions with the prospective lead. Make use of emails, quality responses to live chats, involvement in email campaigns, etc. MQLs match the attributes of your ideal customer and own a sense of brand affinity and familiarity. They desire to learn more. Hence, you must make available new and valuable information, data, and attractive offers. 

3.     Sales qualified leads (SQLs) 

Sales qualified leads, or SQLs, are the prospective sales leads almost ready to purchase. Complete the below-listed steps to prepare the SQLs effectively:

  •    Create a good business case for the solution you plan on proposing.
  •    Determine if your point of contact can make the final buying call from their end. 
  •    Establish a latent requirement your solution can fulfill.
  •    Estimate a timeframe to buy and develop the ongoing lead nurturing approach.

With these opportunities, your sales crew will be well equipped to shift the leads to the negotiation phase to reach the buying stage finally. 

Moving ahead, let us find out what a lead qualification checklist looks like in the sections ahead. 

Lead qualification checklist

Consider the buyer persona.

The first step for the lead qualification checklist template is understanding the profile of your prospective lead. It is essential to know who you are selling to. Think about the kind of audience you want to target. Think of the characteristics of your potential lead and check if it fits into your criteria of an ideal customer. Once you understand what your target audience looks like, it gets easier for you to bucket potential leads into customer segmentation. When you approach sales leads, it gets easier to determine if they fit your ideal customer picture. If you classify them as clients with the potential for conversion, you can pass them on to the sales crew. On the other hand, if you entitle them as unqualified leads, you can immediately discard them or shift them to the junk leads section. 

 

Evaluate if the prospective leads are genuinely interested

The next step in the lead qualification checklist involves evaluating the prospects. Lead generation is a tricky activity. It is pretty unpredictable as not every prospective lead or everyone visiting your website is interested in your products or services. Therefore it is crucial to understand the kinds of sales leads and ways to convert them into actual customers. Although several people visit your website regularly or are active on your social media handles, they might be unprepared to immediately pull the trigger and make a purchase. Perhaps, they might just be looking for some details or comparing features with your competitor brands. They might also be visiting your website as they've heard good things about your solutions but are not interested in investing just yet. But once they see your business online and spot some convincing explanation to eradicate their problems, they might decide to buy. 

Whatever the case, evaluating if your prospective leads are genuinely interested in doing business with you is essential. There are several ways of evaluating sales leads. One way to assess sales leads is to contact them via lead-generating chatbots

Sales Simplify lead bot lets you get in touch with the visitors to your website in real-time. It helps you grab their interest and evaluate if they are potential leads by conversationally asking lead qualifying questions. One can pop up lead qualifying questions like the following:

  •       Are you the decision maker?
  •       Are you willing to make a purchase?
  •       Can I help you with more information?
  •       Would you be interested in knowing more details about a topic?

Learn about their problems

Qualifying leads is an essential part of the sales process. Before selling to a lead, you must ensure that your services or products genuinely resolve their pain points and business problems. Thus, you must first find out their problems and what part of their business requires fixing. Therefore, here comes the next step in the lead qualification checklist template

Most sales experts face the common problem that qualifying leads take too long to understand their business problems. Instead, they are more excited to speak all about the solutions they offer. And this is where a salesperson fails, and the customer begins to lose interest. 

It is ideal to ask them questions to understand the actual problems they face. You can put forward the below-listed questions to try and understand the same.

  •       What are some concerns or challenges you are facing currently?
  •       What are your long-term and short-term goals?
  •       What solutions have you tried before?
  •       What are the products you found helpful to solve your problems?

Offer a solution

Once you understand their problems, measure their requirements, and earn their trust, it is time you get to do business. Educate them about your products or services and how they can help them grow their business. Your lead should know and believe that your solutions, services, or products add value to their business. Therefore, prepare an illustrative proposal for your prospective leads and explain to them how doing business with you would cause them to benefit by eliminating roadblocks. 

 

Enquire about their decision-making process

Asking about the decision-making process is the following step in the lead qualification checklist template. It would help if you asked this question to the potential buyers in the information gathering stage. Asking the question helps a salesperson determine how long it would take to convert the client. They get to know the decision maker and can prepare a strategy to influence them. Once they witness the decision maker and the decision-making process, you can discover methods to convert the potential lead most effectively. You can take steps by asking questions like "who else should I speak to?" and understand who is the right person to strengthen a business. 

Know the budget

Budget is a crucial element for any business. Even if everything falls in place, you must discuss the budget for your partnership. Knowing the budget paves the way for successful collaboration between the two parties. For instance, a lead might be interested in your solutions but not have a sufficient budget to avail them. In such a scenario, you might just be spending unnecessary time at the lead. You can get the budget details by asking the below-listed questions:

  •       What is your ideal budget range?
  •       Are you comfortable with the quoted price for the provided solution?
  •       Can you tell me more about your current solution? (Asking about the current solution would help you evaluate how much the client is currently spending and how far they can increase the budget)

 

Ask them about the timeframe.

Coming up next in the lead qualification checklist template is evaluating the timeframe. Once you know the authoritative individual, you can ask them about the timeline. It would help if you asked them how quickly they want to avail of the product or service - in the upcoming weeks or months. You can fulfill a quick sale if they require the solution in the coming few days or weeks. While pitching your product or service, you must aim at asking when the lead is willing to buy. You can consider the potential sales leads who plan on making a purchase in a couple of months from the discussion date. On the other hand, if a lead quotes a time longer than that, you can tag them as unqualified for the time being.

 

Frameworks used for lead qualification

Salespersons often use specific frameworks for lead qualification to qualify leads. These frameworks make their job simpler. Listed below are the most commonly used lead qualification frameworks. Let us have a look:

BANT

BANT is the brain kid of IBM and is one of the most widely used lead qualification frameworks. It has four elements - Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing. Based on the characteristics mentioned above, probable BANT questions are as follows:

  1. Budget: Does the solution accommodate into the buying budget of the prospective lead?
  2. Authority: Does the prospective lead possess the authority to make the buying call, or is it someone else?
  3. Needs: To what extent does the prospect require your service or product? Is the requirement genuine, or is the prospect merely exploring choices?
  4. Timeline: Is the prospect all set to buy your service or product?

The BANT strategy is apt for expensive services or products and not everyone can afford it. This strategy has B2B brands enlisted. 

Pros of BANT

  •       It features a proven track record
  •       It is simple and can be easily implemented

Cons of BANT

  •       It is slow and unsuitable for fast-paced organizations
  •       It is unable to track multiple stakeholders
  •       It is not suitable to handle clients whose requirements are unknown.

 CHAMP

This framework was found by InsightSquared. CHAMP expands into Challenges, Authority, Money, and Prioritization. It ensures that salespersons first ask the important questions. This strategy starts by discussing the challenges, pain points, and requirements of the prospect's business experiences. 

  1. Challenges: What are the desired objectives the prospect desires to achieve by solving their pain points and problems?
  2.  Authority: What is the decision-making procedure, or who is the decision maker?
  3.  Money: What should be the monetary investment for the service or product?
  4.  Prioritization: What is the timeframe for implementation?

CHAMP strategy works when the leads are unaware of your services or products. 

The CHAMP framework first understands the challenges of the prospective lead. The sales team must first determine if their services and products suit the prospect. It will help them disqualify the sales leads who do not require the available services or products. 

Pros of CHAMP

  •       It stresses the client's requirements.
  •       It qualifies the leads who are unaware of their needs.

Cons of CHAMP

  •       It is not fast. Instead, it is slower than BANT
  •       It requires finding the ROI.

MEDDIC

MEDDIC is a lead qualification framework that stresses the overlapping factors. 

  1. Metrics: What numbers are the prospect expecting out of the provided solution? For instance - The solution needs to enhance the generated revenue by 10% every year. 
  2. Economic buyer: Who is the decision maker?
  3. Decision criteria: Define the decision-making process for the prospect?
  4. Decision process: What is the process the prospect follows while contemplating a purchase?
  5. Pain point identification: What are the problems the prospect wishes to resolve with the offered solution?
  6. Champion: The person who trusts your solution from the prospect's side, can they play the role of a champion for the solution?

MEDDIC lead qualification framework is suited for high ticket services and products that are witnessing low sale volume. It does not work for low-priced products that are sold in high volumes. It is typically the framework for costly software. 

Pros of MEDDIC

  •       It helps in understanding the likelihood of a prospective lead making a buy. 
  •       It lets you enhance the buying process knowledge of the prospective leads.

Cons of MEDDIC

  •       It requires the correct software to manage details.
  •       Some insider of the company requires to pitch the solution.
  •       The requirements of the leads are not the focus.

ANNUM

The ANNUM framework is quite identical to the BANT framework. Just the order is different. The complete form of ANNUM is Authority, Need, Urgency, and Money. With this framework, the decision-making authority of the prospect is crucial, and the money is the last one on the list. This suits those prospective leads who are unsure who has the purchase confirmation authority. This is the usual case for startups without a well-defined process. 

Pros of ANNUM

  •       It works well for fluctuating budgets.
  •       It aids in prioritizing the requirements of clients.
  •       It provides impressive outcomes if you reach out to the correct person. 

Cons of ANNUM

  •       It does not work with clients without previous experience with your product or service.
  •       It is not for prospective leads who haven't yet decided to purchase your solution.

 

FAINT 

FAINT means Funds, Authority, Interest, Need, and Timing. It is similar to the BANT strategy, where the main factors include purchasing authority and budget. Additionally, there is also an included interest factor. The marketing and sales teams need to determine the prospective lead's interest in their solution. This framework works for prospective leads unaware of your solutions' existence.  

Pros of FAINT 

  •       It is best suitable for customers who do not know about their requirements. 
  •       It helps in acquiring a more customized and better sales pitch. 

Cons of FAINT

  •       It is a time-consuming framework.
  •       It is not for customers who do not already know their requirements. 

GPCTBA/C&I

GPCTBA/C&I is a lead qualification framework for Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timelines, Budget, Authority, Negative Consequences, and Positive Implications. It features the below-listed potential lead qualification questions:

  1. Does the prospect's organization feature specific goals?
  2. Does the company own the resources for plan implementation?
  3. How is the company dealing with present challenges?
  4. When does the implementation of the plan begin?
  5. Is the prospect's company already using its budget to solve its problems?
  6. What would the decision makers say?

Pros of GPCTBA/C&I

  •       It helps the salesperson collect a lot of information.
  •       It concentrates on the goals of the prospective leads and not their needs.

Cons of GPCTBA/C&I

  •       It is thorough for organizations that have basic requirements.
  •       A lot of details can make people misinterpret it.
  •       Any sales rep will require a thorough understanding of the business challenges and goals beforehand. 

 

Begin functioning on your lead qualification checklist today!

Now that you know the lead qualification checklist and the strategies that can help you, it is time for you to put on your working shoes. Begin analyzing and evaluating leads before approaching them. Walk that extra mile, work on your sales leads and identify the list that qualifies. Track the behavior of the prospective leads to check who is more likely to make a buy. Most importantly, keep your ideal prospect profile in mind while approaching a new lead. 

 

The lead qualification process is much more manageable when following a specific checklist. There are slim chances of missing out on anything. You can seek the help of renowned lead qualification frameworks as they aid in qualifying sales leads. In addition, various tools can simplify the lead qualification process for you. You can also ask sales qualifying questions for lead qualification and filter the genuine prospects from the ones that would not convert. You can also use sales automation tools  to reduce the burden on your sales crew so they can focus on more valuable activities.

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