Make your startup sales process more effective with lead qualification. Get started with this checklist and insights on qualifying leads in tech sales.
Building a lead qualification process for B2B tech sales that includes key qualifying dimensions is crucial to your startup’s sales growth. With lead qualification, your startup sales team can determine how well your solution fits your buyers and target market.
- Proper lead qualification helps startups avoid investing time in prospects who aren’t a good fit for their product or service.
- Ask the right questions and know which role a prospect plays in the buying cycle.
What Is Lead Qualification?
Lead qualification is the process of evaluating a prospect to determine if they are likely to buy your product. This is an ongoing process that involves conversations with prospects and research into their organizations.
- Do they have the authority to make the purchase or influence the person who does?
- Will the solution solve their problem?
- Is the problem big enough to justify their investment?
- Is the prospect ready to buy right now?
Lead Qualification Checklist for Tech Sales
To qualify a lead, start with the most important part of the B2B sales process: Building a relationship with the prospect. Then follow the rest of the process to validate your lead.
Use a Discovery Call to Determine Product/Solution Alignment
You’ve already acquired a lead through email, LinkedIn, or an outreach call, and they’ve agreed to a discovery meeting. This isn’t the right time to pitch your solution. The discovery call is where you find out everything you can about their problem.
- What challenge are they currently facing that they hope you can solve?
- How long have they been struggling with it?
- What other solutions have they tried, if any?
- How much is their problem costing them?
- How urgent is a solution?
Make Sure the Right People in the Buying Cycle Are Involved
There are different roles in the buying cycle. Not everyone you talk to has the power to influence a buying decision. When qualifying a lead, make sure you’re talking to the right people. Ask these lead qualification questions in the beginning:
- How does your company execute the decision process?
- What do you contribute to that process?
Build a relationship with your contact and find out what they can do to motivate the buying process. If he/she isn't the decision-maker, ask for an introduction to the decision-makers. You should also talk to influencers — prospects who don’t have budget authority but are involved in the final decision — and gatekeepers — associates who work closely with decision-makers.
Get the Timing and Buyer/Vendor Alignment Right
Once you know your solution is a good fit for your prospect’s problem and you’re talking to the right people, find out if it’s the right time to buy and make sure your priorities align.
Your lead may have an interest in your solution without intending to make a purchase. Timing is important. If your sales team is devoting time and energy to a prospect that isn’t likely to buy until next year, you’re losing valuable time that could be spent on better-qualified leads.
Which factors does your prospect prioritize when choosing a vendor? How well does your solution align with their priorities? For example, if your buyer places a premium on great customer support and easy integrations while your solution focuses on price and scalability, your priorities may not align.
Use Lead Scoring to Further Qualify Warm Leads
Create a set of defined events and behavioral metrics to prioritize warm leads. Once you’ve made some sales, you can use past sales data from your CRM system to uncover the factors that have the biggest impact on your conversion rate.
List all of the actions — an email reply, content download, sharing contact information, booking an appointment or discovery call — and score each action based on how much it increases the likelihood of a sale.
These common qualifying dimensions in tech sales help you determine the potential value of a lead:
- Number of clients — The more clients the buyer has, the more value the account may have. Decide how many clients a customer should have before you designate them as a high-value lead.
- Motivation of your primary contact at the company — This is a subjective qualification, but it’s still important. Gauge how energized your contact is and how willing they are to move quickly. A fast mover may indicate a better chance of closing the deal.
- Age of the business and budget size — Generally, better-established companies with a large budget are more likely to work out. These leads should get a higher score.
Optimize Sales Efforts with an Effective Lead Qualification Process
Ready to build a powerful lead qualification process to help your startup grow? Let’s talk!