How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable


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An in-depth look at how to use simple questioning techniques to determine if a sales lead will purchase and the powerful impact of consistent qualifying.

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How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable

  1. 1. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable Business Growth ebook Series Craig Klein
  2. 2. Table of Contents Business Growth eBook Series iii Meet Your Hosts v Featured Expert—Michael Halper vii Featured Sponsor— ix How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable 1 Review of first two eBooks of this series 2 Qualifying Leads 4 Qualified vs Unqualified Prospects 9 2-Step Qualifying Process 15 Qualifying Questions for YOUR Business 20 Next Steps 24 Page ii
  3. 3. Business Growth eBook Series We want you to grow your business. It is really that simple. In fact, we surround ourselves with companies who share our belief that when we help you grow your business, everyone wins. We believe that when we help you grow your business, we also help grow communities, families, employers and our customers. We have created this series of eBooks—in conjunction with a webinar series—to help you expand opportunities for growth in your company. This is true even if you are not a SalesNexus customer…even if you use one of our competitors…we want to share what we have found to be useful for business growth. Many businesses have great products and a great team, yet still struggle to master the strategies and tactics of connecting with their market, standing out from the competition and closing sales. Toward that goal, we have assembled a team of experts to share the best of what they know really works. Nothing is held back or saved only for those who are clients of our individual company. Each eBook is packed with practical steps any business can take immediately without busting the budget. Below you will find a list of eBooks and webinars in this series. While each eBook builds on what was presented in the eBooks earlier in the series, you can choose to take them in any order. However, we strongly suggest you read the first eBook or attend that webinar to get an understanding of how the information fits all together. To Your Business Growth, Craig Klein, CEO SalesNexus Page iii
  4. 4. Business Growth Series THE MAGIC 5 OF CONTENT BASED EMAIL MARKETING THAT DRIVES SALES The Magic 5 of Content Based Email Marketing that Drives Sales Business Growth ebook Series Held on January 16h, 2013 A simple 5 step process to create on-going, automated email campaigns that engage your audience and identify highly qualified prospects. Craig Klein How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable Held January 30th, 2013 An in-depth look at how to use simple questioning techniques to determine if a sales lead will purchase and the powerful impact of consistent qualifying. Building a Successful Marketing and Sales Process by Identifying Your Customer’s “Pain” Held on January 23rd, 2013 An in-depth investigation of how to identify the emotional circumstances that cause customers to buy from you, how to question prospects to diagnose their “pains” and build sales processes that win! Manage a Sales Process of Actions that Lead to Sales Growth Held on February 6th, 2013 An in-depth look at what should be measured in every sales process, how to set goals for and measure it and how to manage sales people to achieve business growth. 360 degree View of the Customer Relationship for Business Growth The 4 Pillars of a Sales Messaging Strategy that Drives Growth Held on February 13th, 2013 An in-depth look at how strong relationships between customers and companies drive business growth and the risk of mistaking a customer to sales person relationship with a customer to company relationship. Held on February 20th, 2013 How to communicate what your products and services do for your customers, get their attention and understand their needs, with Michael Halper, author of “The Cold Calling Equation” Page iv
  5. 5. Meet Your Hosts Craig Klein, CEO, As CEO, Craig Klein leads a team that is on a mission to help your business grow. They accomplish this goal by providing an online Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that is fully integrated with an email marketing system. Klein brings more than 18 years sales executive and management experience to designing SalesNexus solutions. SalesNexus is a different kind of CRM and email system for many reasons. Perhaps the most meaningful is the company recognizes that one size will not fit all in business. Since key people of the company come from a sales background, they know how to work with you to find unique solutions specific to you, your business and your customers. Thousands of sales teams from around the world have discovered that SalesNexus takes the hard work out of selling. That way you can focus on the people part of serving your customers. They know that you enjoy sales because you enjoy people. SalesNexus will maximize the time you spend establishing deep relationships with your best customers. This team feels success when they make marketing and selling easier for you. That is why SalesNexus is hosting this Business Growth series of webinars and eBooks Don’t forget that SalesNexus offers a 30-day free trial of their program so you can try it out…look around… ask questions to determine if it is the right fit for you. During the free trial period, you can also download your choice of 500 business contacts—with email addresses—at no cost at all via Learn more about LeadFerret below. Page v
  6. 6. Meet Your Hosts Forrest Cassidy, CEO, Lead Ferret is the world’s first 100% free business-to-business database with complete information. They offer more than 10 million easily searchable B2B contacts—with emails—FREE. In today’s business environment, it is critical that you use your time in the most time efficient manner possible. The objective of Lead Ferret is to make prospecting and generating leads easier for sales teams, recruiters, and small business owners. The LeadFerret system allows you to spend less time prospecting and more time selling…and that leaves more time to do the things you really love to do. Learn more about Lead Ferret on a following page. Page vi
  7. 7. Featured Expert—Michael Halper Michael Halper, CEO, SalesScripter, LLC Driving improvement in sales organizations is the mission of everything that Michael Halper does professionally. With more than 20 years in frontline sales, marketing and customer service, he brings innovative solutions to all his clients. We are honored that Halper agreed to share his expertise with us as part of the Business Growth Series. Don’t miss any opportunity to learn from him. In addition to this series, here are a few ways you can get valuable nuggets of sales wisdom from Halper: • “The Cold Calling Equation”: As author of this groundbreaking book, Halper shares powerful insights into the ‘blood sport’ of cold calling. Sales professionals always resist cold calls. Yet those who master the art of the cold call have always closed more deals and hit their goals. Cold calling success is NOT about working harder or working more. Instead, it is about using proven, step-by-step tactics to achieve immediate results. In addition, the book will help you make human connections and find more opportunities. Get the book here. • This web based tool is a complete game changer in the field of sales. SalesScripter assists your company in identifying the details you need to create powerful sales messaging. The tool will help develop your sales scripts, email templates, voicemail scripts, qualifying questions, objection responses and more. Try SalesScripter FREE! Page vii
  8. 8. Featured Expert—Michael Halper • Launch Pad Solutions, LLC: Launch Pad is a training and consulting firm that helps businesses increase sales revenue by improving areas of sales prospecting and lead generation: ○○ Sales Consulting: Launch Pad works with management to establish sales messaging, processes, and strategy that lead to immediate improvements in results. ○○ Sales Training: Training programs that help frontline sales people to improve their ability to effectively prospect. Sales people are able to make immediate improvements due to the effective, yet practical and easy to implement, tactics. ○○ Sales Coaching: Launch Pad works with sales professionals and managers on a one-to-one basis to help ensure the right steps are being taken to improve sales prospecting and lead generation. ○○ Appointment Setting Service: For businesses that do not want to spend their valuable time on prospecting and working to generate leads, Launch Pad takes over that responsibility through an appointment setting service. Under this model, Launch Pad’s team of telesales resources performs prospecting activities and schedule appointments for clients that have outsourced that functional area. Page viii
  9. 9. Featured Sponsor— Lead Ferret is a sales organization’s most powerful source of new business. Like it says on the Lead Ferret website, when you access this service—it is like adding 10 million+ contacts to your address book. The database contains complete information including email addresses…and so much more. It’s free to join, so go check it out. Throughout this series, we will be showing you how to use this contact information and implement strategies for business growth in an efficient, time-saving and highly professional manner. If you are a SalesNexus user you can download 500 free contacts a month. You can even take advantage of this free offer during the free trial on SalesNexus. Since some people say that, “2 minutes on LeadFerret is worth 2 hours on LinkedIn.”— you should take a few minutes to learn more. Every record in LeadFerret is complete with company information, name, title, address and phone number. You can search by SIC and NACIS codes. You can search by location in several ways, including a map tool. Page ix
  10. 10. Featured Sponsor— The methods we are showing you in this series will demonstrate how to use this robust interface to grow your business. In the first eBook, you will learn how to identify your ideal prospect. You may have a geographical territory or there may be a size of business that fits well with your product/service. You can search in terms of revenue range, industry, department within the company and the title of the individual you should contact. You simply plug the demographic details into the LeadFerret system. You get a list of target prospects to download into SalesNexus. You have spent much less time finding the right type of person and can now spend more time connecting with high quality prospects and building relationships. It all fits together with one purpose—to Grow Your Business. Page x
  11. 11. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable
  12. 12. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable Review of first two eBooks of this series Magic Five of Content-Based Email Marketing That Drive Sales • Identify five pain points experienced by your customer before they know about your solution. ○○ You need to know these pains before you generate any content or emails. ○○ Pain points are initially more important—than how you can resolve them. • Create content pieces for each of the pain points you have identified. • Send an automated series of emails to prospects that link to the content pieces you created. • Your email program should track when a prospect opens the email or clicks on a link to the content piece. • Use the prospect’s interaction with email as a signal for your sales team to follow up with a phone call to ask qualifying questions. • After a prospect has been qualified, send an automated campaign of emails that answer Frequently Asked Questions. ○○ These FAQs are based on your specific business. They are questions your prospects currently ask before they place and order for your product or service. Page 2
  13. 13. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable Building a Successful Marketing and Sales Process by Identifying Your Prospect’s “Pain” This eBook went deep into your prospects pain. We covered: • What pain is and why it is important to identify the pain. • We segmented three levels and six symptoms of pain. • Since pain can be tough to find, we offered four tactics to uncover it. • Building on what we learned in the first eBook, we tied the pain back to effective emails. • The introduction of the SalesScripter showed you how to make the process quicker, easier and more effective in your sales organization. The job of a professional sales organization has been transformed. Two major factors of this new environment are: The buyers we encounter want to control the sales process and sales automation is more sophisticated and useful to the process We have teamed up to develop a complete model for using those factors to your advantage. We show you how to quickly and easily gather raw leads from a database like LeadFerret. Those leads must be immediately qualified, or you will not be able to maximize your time and effort. Sales success depends on you spending time in an effective way. This eBook will give you the qualifying skills you need to sort out prospects that need to be pursued from the ones that need to be incubated over time. Page 3
  14. 14. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable Qualifying Leads You’ve learned that you need to send automated emails based on the prospect’s pain in the first two eBooks. The next step in this model is to call the prospects that opened the email and/or clicked on the link to a content piece based on pain. The goal is to: • Generate a good lead, schedule a meeting or set an appointment • Gather information to be used later in the sales process • Qualify or disqualify the prospect as a quality lead using a two-step process By reading and implementing the things you learn here you will be able to: • Identify which prospects that you should spend your valuable time with • Decrease the time you might have wasted on prospects that had no probability of purchasing • Implement a system for incubating less qualified prospects over time • Build a better, more healthy pipeline • Get more control over the sales cycle and closed deals What is Qualifying? You probably know what qualifying is, but to make sure we are all on the same level, let’s set a foundation. Qualifying is assessing the prospect in two key areas—First, how well does the prospect fit with what I have to offer? Fit from a needs standpoint and also fit from how you’re able to help the prospect. Page 4
  15. 15. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable Second, the prospect may desperately need what we have to offer, but we also need to look at how likely they are to purchase from us. Even if they really need what we have to offer, if they don’t have funding, they are not really a qualified prospect. We will dig into that area much deeper later in this eBook. All we want to do at the beginning is to get a foundation for what qualifying means. You will first qualify before any outbound calls are made. In other words, you qualify in your research and we will cover that later. The largest part of this training eBook will cover what you do when it comes time to make a phone call or meet the prospect face-to-face. Whether they realize it or not, qualifying is most likely having a large impact when a sales person is struggling to manage deals, manage their pipeline or create leads. It’s critical for sales effectiveness and here are a few reasons why: Qualify in 2 Key Areas: 1. How well does the prospect fit? Do they need what I offer? 2. How likely are they to purchase from us? Time is Limited and Valuable Even if you work 60 hours a week, you only have about 40 hours a week you would consider business hours. This is particularly true for B2B sales where you can meet with clients. There’s nothing you can do to add more time to the week. So, time is limited. It is your most valuable resource. It’s something you cannot replace if you waste it. Control is Limited You cannot control the prospects that you sell to or deal with…you can’t make them return your call; you can’t make them agree to purchase from you; you can’t force them to move faster than they want to move. Page 5
  16. 16. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable You may be able to push the deals along a little faster, but at the end of the day, you can’t control your prospects. What you CAN control is which prospects you talk to…meaning, you can be more selective over the prospects that you chose to try to sell to. And if you are more selective, you will build a healthier pipeline of prospects that are better quality, and you will then l be able to have more control those interactions and sales cycles. The deals will be better and you can manage your pipeline better. Knowledge is Power In sales (and in life), the more knowledge you have, the more power you have. One way to get more knowledge of your prospects is by qualifying. While qualifying, you will be asking some really good questions. The questions will extract some extremely powerful information. Relationships are Key The better relationships you have with your prospects, the more information they will share. They will be more responsive during the sales cycle too…so it is key to build those relationships. Qualifying gives you the ability to build more positive, stronger relationships because you will be asking good questions which will help you to make the best impression with your prospect. Asking good qualifying questions will make the prospect feel as if you care and are carefully listening to their wants and needs. It helps to decrease the prospect’s guard and help build rapport. Page 6
  17. 17. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable Qualify—Even Before Talking to Them You want to identify what type of qualities fit well in your sales process. Who is your ideal prospect? These answers may be handed down from sales management. You’ll have a territory in terms of geography. There might be a size of business that fits well with your product/service. Look at revenue ranges, industry, department within the company and the title of the individual you should contact. Use these demographic details. The model we are offering in this eBook series uses LeadFerret to download leads that are qualified by the criteria mentioned in the paragraph above. You will want to go to a source like this with a general definition of a qualified prospect. Page 7
  18. 18. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable You begin qualifying by entering the demographic details of your ideal prospect. You get a list of target prospects and your first step of qualifying is complete. You have spent much less time finding the right type of person and now can spend more time connecting with high-quality prospects and building relationships. Page 8
  19. 19. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable Qualified vs Unqualified Prospects We will now jump into the middle to make sure you are dealing with, ultimately, the best quality prospects. The chart below shows four categories that you need to check off in order to be satisfied that the prospect is qualified. You want a medium to strong level in all four categories. Page 9
  20. 20. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable The four areas are: Does the prospect NEED to purchase Need is a key word here. The question is not if they want to purchase, but do they need to purchase what you have to offer. Does the prospect have the authority to purchase Authority means: • Are they the decision maker? • Do they have the ability to say yes? • Are they the person that actually signs the agreement? Does the prospect have the ability to purchase • Do they have the ability from a funding or money standpoint? • Do they appear to have the ability to move forward? Do they have the intent to purchase? You want to know if they genuinely intend to make a purchase. For example, there are lots of people that might go to the car dealership on Sunday afternoon to take a joy ride. Very often, that person does not have a genuine interest in purchasing. Compare them to someone whose car is breaking down and they know they need to make a purchase this weekend—or at least some time very soon. We need a strong to medium rating in each of the four categories. If ANY of those areas is weak, it is not a completely qualified prospect. Page 10
  21. 21. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable Look at the right column of the graphic above. An unqualified prospect may have just one of these. To demonstrate, let’s cover each one at a time. No need to purchase Even if they are qualified in the other three areas, they don’t really have a strong need to purchase. They are the decision maker and they have the budget with funds ready. They may even have intent to purchase. They may have attended some of your meetings and admired the great features of your product or service. They think it is really cool. But at the end of the day, they don’t really need to purchase what you offer. Their current system works okay. It’s kind of good. Since things are okay, you’re dealing with more of a want than a need. You’ve done a great job in getting meetings going and the prospect is impressed. When it’s time for the prospect to say yes, the deal could get killed due to the lack of justification to spend the money and move the purchase forward. You may have thought that everything looked pretty good. If you ignore the difference between want and need, you may have this prospect in your pipeline, forecasting it to your manager and thinking it is a home run. You are confident it is coming in. But these are the types of prospects that start ignoring your calls at the end of the sales cycle. You start wondering what’s going on. If you would have qualified the prospect, you might have spent less time with them and not forecasted the deal. No authority to purchase A great example of the prospect that may not have the authority to purchase is someone you have been selling to—maybe a department manager. Meetings are going very well. Everything is great. The manager has some authority and they have a team of people that report to them. Page 11
  22. 22. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable This manager may make a lot of decisions…and still not be the person who approves this purchase. You have spent a couple of months selling to this person only to find that the person who can say yes in this scenario is their manager. That person has not been involved in your sales cycle the entire time. It is another scenario where things look great. You have forecasted the deal because you are working with a department manager and you feel good. But it was never a qualified prospect because the person you’re dealing with does not have the authority to purchase—they are unqualified. No Ability To Purchase Sometimes the weakness is in the ability to purchase is about funding. Is there funding allocated to the particular project you’re forecasting? When qualifying for whether funding is available, you can also try to identify if there are other projects that might be competing for those funds and what need to be done in the process of getting the funds approved and allocated. NOTE: These unqualified prospects aren’t horrible prospects. If you’ve got a lead going and you identify that there’s no funding, you may not want to walk away from it. You just need to identify that they are unqualified at this time. It might be a deal for next year when funding opens up and you can qualify them. This helps you determine how to prioritize the prospect in your pipeline. This is true with the prospect not having the authority to purchase. What you want to do when you discover you have been selling to someone who doesn’t have the authority to purchase is to turn the person into more of a coach than a decision maker. You can then identify the person who is the decision maker and get them into the dialogue as soon as possible. Once that happens, you have a qualified prospect. Page 12
  23. 23. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable No intent to purchase This is when everything looks good, but they are not really serious about purchasing…or they are not serious about purchasing from you. These situations can show up when someone reaches out to you to ask for pricing or a quote. You may get a little excited. You put a proposal together and send it over. But the reality may be that they are coming to you at the eleventh hour. They’ve been working on this evaluation for a year. They have been talking to another company and they come to you to get a price at the end. The intent is to negotiate better with the company they have already decided to purchase from. It can happen to you. It happens all the time. If you don’t know to recognize that, you spend a bunch of time putting a proposal together…you may even put the deal on your forecast and in your pipeline. But it is not a qualified prospect. There are some questions for all these types of scenarios to help you identify them. You might not walk away from all of these deals. But you are going to make better decisions. You are going to be able to prioritize your pipeline better. You are going to avoid wasting time. The time you would have wasted on unqualified prospects can help you focus on finding new prospects. It all adds up to better sales performance. Page 13
  24. 24. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable Good Reasons to Qualify Prospects In most sales organizations—whether it’s cold calling, knocking on doors or going to trade shows—you spend a lot of money and time trying to get engaged with a potential prospect. Most sales people literally spend most of their time looking for people to talk to…right? Then, because you’ve invested that time and resource in establishing an initial relationship, you probably have the tendency to react as soon as anybody demonstrates a little bit of interest. You fall in love with them because you’ve invested so much effort in getting to that point. So you end up spending more time and resource going forward with somebody that’s still not really qualified for the reasons we described above. We rationalize things…particularly when it comes to the authority to purchase. You may say “Well, this guy doesn’t really have the authority to purchase, but he can introduce me to the person who does have that authority. You may spend a lot of time doing presentations and the introduction may never take place. You must focus on getting the introduction right up front…or consider walking away. Time is saved by working with qualified prospects. ROI is increased. Prospects qualified to determine if purchase is likely. Small percentage of Prospects Purchase Business Resources invested Sales Person falls in love with Prospect Automated tools minimize resources needed to be invested. Prospect shows interest Prospect raises their hand to show interest. Page 14
  25. 25. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable 2-Step Qualifying Process Use the following 2-step qualifying process to help identify the four types of prospects we discussed earlier. The two steps are soft qualifying and hard qualifying. They have been divided into two steps because there are some hard questions you will ask these prospects. A hard qualifying question can be something like whether the budget has been approved for the purchase. You don’t want to ask questions like that the very first time you talk to a prospect. The first contact will focus on soft qualifying questions. This is a softer approach with the focus of identifying if it makes sense to meet in person (or meet again over the phone). Does it make sense for us to keep talking? It is really that simple. 2-Step Qualifying Process Soft Qualifying: • The current status • Level of satisfaction now • Organizational details Hard Qualifying: • Need to Purchase • Authority to Purchase Soft Qualifying • Ability to Purchase These qualifying questions take place primarily during a cold call or first contact with a prospect. They focus on three key areas: • Intent to Purchase The current state—What is the prospect doing in the particular area where our products or services fit? If you sell a system or you help with some type of process, what is the prospect currently doing? This first answer alone may tell you whether or not you should keep talking. EXAMPLE: Let’s say you sell some sort of supply chain or inventory management software. A question you might ask is, “What are you currently using to manage inventory?” After they answer, the next question might be, “When did you implement that system?” That is a pretty big question. If they implemented whatever they are using today last month, you are not going to qualify that prospect. Page 15
  26. 26. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable You may also want to ask if they are locked into a contract with the current provider. The point is to ask two or three questions to determine if they are qualified. A strong prospect would be someone who is not doing anything in the area where you have something to offer. Medium would be someone who has a contract expiring soon. Weak would be when they just bought something or they are locked into a contract. The level of satisfaction—You want to know how things are going. You now know what system they are using. You may want to assume they are unhappy because you are confident your system is superior…but you want to hear it from the prospect. • • • • Ask, “Are things good, great, okay or could be better?” Ask how they feel about the ability to manage inventory levels with the current system. Ask if there is any functionality that they need that is not being provided by their current system. Ask them to rate the current system on a scale of 1-10. Getting an answer to any of these questions will help you qualify them. From the answers you can assess the level of satisfaction. The prospects who give you information that sounds like things could be better could be qualified prospects. Organizational details—You may not need to know if the prospect you are talking to is the key decision maker at this point. Based on their answers, you’re going to identify whether they are somebody that you should have a conversation with. You want to determine if you have a green light, so you want to know at least how close you are to the decision maker. Here are a few sample questions: • “Are you involved in the management of the supply chain?” • “Is this an area that falls under your responsibility?” • “Does this area impact you at all?” Page 16
  27. 27. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable After you go through the three soft qualifying steps, the answers will tell you whether or not you should try to schedule a meeting or an appointment. These soft qualifying questions uncover any glaring reasons that you should be talking to someone else. Here is how you might assess the answers you get from the prospect: Strong: The prospect is the key person that oversees the area that is impacted by your product. Medium: Although the prospect is in the area your product impacts, they are at a lower level. Weak: The prospect doesn’t have any connection to the area where your product impacts. These questions take place in a 2-5 minute phone conversation. When you schedule that meeting and you’re sitting face-to-face—or—you have thirty minutes on the phone—or—a meeting on the calendar, it is time to dig into hard qualifying. Hard Qualifying When you are progressing in the conversation and moving through the sales cycle, you need to begin with harder qualifying questions. To hard qualify a prospect, you will focus on four key characteristics of a qualified prospect. Let’s look at them one at a time: Need to Purchase—The goal of this hard qualifying process is to separate the prospects who want to purchase from those that need to purchase. EXAMPLES: Let’s say you are talking to someone who has expressed an interest in what you sell. Try asking this question, “Well, let me ask you. What happens if you don’t purchase from us or purchase anything in this area? What does that look like?” Page 17
  28. 28. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable If you ask that type of question, listen carefully to the answer. If it is not a bad impact, you need to know. If the prospect says, “We could just keep using the system we use today.” Their answer might explain something to you. If there is not a big impact, it is not horrible because you might still close the deal. But this prospect is not as qualified as you want them to be. You might ask if there is a date when the purchase needs to be made. If they answer, “We have to do something by the end of the year because that’s when our contract expires,” that is a pretty qualified prospect in this area. If, instead they say that they would like to do it this year but it really doesn’t matter…the lead is not as qualified. Authority to Purchase—You don’t want to ask, “Are you the decision maker?” You can get that answer while being a bit more diplomatic. Instead ask, “What is the decision making process?” They can explain it to you. If you need a little more information, you can ask a few more questions about what it takes to reach the decision to purchase from a pure decision standpoint. You will also want to know something about the paperwork process so you can map it out step-by-step. There may be a committee and a multi-layer chain of command to reach the ultimate person that signs off on the deal. The person that ultimately signs the contract—the CFO or executive in the corner office—is someone you will want to bring into the process. It is a very good question to get answered to determine the authority to purchase from the beginning. The authority to purchase can range from the prospect being the only one needed to approve the purchase to the prospect not being about to make the final decision. The other scenario that is real common is when the prospect is expected to make the decision, but will require approval prior to funding. Knowing where your prospect falls on this spectrum is important from the very beginning. Page 18
  29. 29. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable Ability to Purchase—This is where you find out about funding. The real question is “Do you have any money or funding?” While you don’t want to come out and ask the question bluntly, here are a few more diplomatic ways to get to the answer. Try these: • Is there a budget that has been approved for this project? • What budget range does this project need to stay within? You might be surprised at how often the prospect will give a budget range when you ask direct questions. Intent to Purchase—You want to know if other options are being considered. It may be a bit uncomfortable to ask this question…but without knowing the answer you are not moving forward in the right direction. Say someone has reached out to you and you give them a demo. Before or during that demo you can ask “What other options are you looking at for this?” They may tell you exactly what they are considering. If they do, probe deeper to ask how far along they are in the process of talking to the competitor. They may lie to you. But asking increases your chances of knowing where you stand. If they tell you they have been talking to X Company for about six months, you can ask how they feel about their solution. Ask, “What do you like about their solution? What don’t you like?” These are great questions to learn if the prospect is really serious about buying or if they are just trying to get a competitive price. Of course, you want the answer to these questions to be that they are very serious about making a purchase and are only considering your product service. Weaker answers would be when they are considering several options and do not have a preference yet or they don’t have a definitive plan to purchase anything from anyone. Page 19
  30. 30. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable Qualifying Questions for YOUR Business As you read in our first eBook of this series, you want to develop qualifying questions for yourself. You use those qualifying questions to determine the best prospects for your product or service. This process uses two steps: 1. Identify what your ideal prospect looks like. ○○ Prospects that don’t currently have a solution ○○ Prospects that have an old solution that no longer works 2. Try to develop questions that assess/qualify the fit. ○○ Use to identify the questions and a whole lot more. SalesScripter This program is an online discovery tool that you can use for the two steps above. Here is how it works: • The tool asks a series of specific questions to extract details about your products, your company and your prospects. • This information is plugged into a library of sales script templates and other online tools. • The tool automatically produces a report that helps you build out all of your content…from sales scripts to emails, voicemail scripts to qualifying questions, call and meeting scripts to objection maps…all very specific to your business and your customers. Page 20
  31. 31. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable SalesScripter Reports to Automate Prospecting A couple of paragraphs ago, we showed the two-step process of developing qualifying questions that are specific to your business and customers. Using the SalesScripter tool, your ideal prospect report will help you to identify the qualifying environment of your ideal prospect. In other words, you will know where to look for your best prospects based on the “Ideal Prospect Report.” You can simply plug the details of your ideal prospect into a system like and get a list of contacts that fit those criteria. Lead Ferret will spit out 500, 1,000 or even 2,000 contacts right away. You can Page 21
  32. 32. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable download them into a simple spreadsheet. But if you want to realize the true power of automation, you will use a CRM like SalesNexus. When the contacts are automatically downloaded into the SalesNexus platform, you can have a campaign ready and waiting to be sent to each of those prospects. Your CRM will let you know when the emails are opened or the link to content is clicked. Your sales team knows that someone has demonstrated some interest. From there, they make a call using the qualifying process we have talked about in this eBook. It is best to pick three to five questions to ask on a cold call. SalesScripter may give you nine…so you will want to pick the ones that are best suited to your unique ability to qualify a good prospect. If the call is going well after three to five questions, you probably want to move to the next level. You can check in with the Page 22
  33. 33. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable prospect to ask, “Before we go any further—I called you out of the blue. Do you want to keep talking about this right now?” or you may want to say— “Hey, I called you out of the blue. Let’s dig into some of the details. Can I put 30 minutes on your calendar next Tuesday?” There will be an entire webinar devoted to a complete introduction to the SalesScripter tool at the end of this Business Growth Series. This chart demonstrates the content marketing campaign that the eBook series is using: • Know the pain your clients and prospects experience. • Send emails to them with a link back to content pieces that address those pains. • Respond to all emails that are opened and clicked to ask qualifying questions. • Set up next step—whether it is a presentation, demo, purchase or a face-toface meeting. • Send a series of FAQs to follow up. This process will help you save time by identifying really early, the people who are not likely to buy anything from you. That way you can move on in a productive direction with prospects that are more qualified. Page 23
  34. 34. How to Qualify Sales Leads and Focus on Sales Growth that’s Profitable Next Steps We hope that you’ve benefited from our ebook! We truly want to help you take your business to the next level. If you have questions about how these ideas can best be applied in your business, we’re only a phone call away! Really! Call or email and we’ll do our best to help however we can. All the best, Craig Klein CEO, 713.862.0001 Free Live Training For hands on instruction on how to write emails, create email templates and build campaigns, join our weekly live training session on Wednesdays at 3pm ET. Sales Growth Webinars and ebooks In addition to this ebook, we’ve published 6 webinars and ebooks. Access them all, completely free, here 30 Day Free Trial Start your Free, 30 day trial of SalesNexus and transfer 500 contacts to email to begin identifying qualified leads for your business today. Page 24