Every business needs new customers, but turning sales leads into actual sales can be time-consuming and costly.
Too many leads go nowhere, so it’s important to invest in “quality” leads, who really want to buy what you’re offering. The best way to do this is to understand how to qualify leads for your small business.
What is lead qualification?
A lead is any person who expresses interest in your product or service offering. Leads come from many sources, including social media, phone calls, emails, word-of-mouth referrals and physical store visits.
Qualification is the process you use to predict how likely a person is to make a purchase or become a client.
How to profile your ideal customer and why you should do this
As a start-up or small business owner, it’s normal to get excited about anyone who shows interest in what you do. To determine the worth of a potential lead you should utilise BANT.
The BANT framework
BANT is a tried-and-trusted lead qualification method that helps you deduce useful information about prospective buyers by asking questions. Social media and search engine analytics make this even easier than when BANT was first formulated. BANT stands for:
You need to establish if the lead has the means to pay for your product or service.
Does the lead have decision-making power? For example, if you sell toys you may have children visiting your site and social profiles, but it’s the parent who makes the final purchase decision.
The same goes for business-to-business models. Are you interacting with a sales rep or the head of procurement? Ultimately, you need to determine if your lead has financial clout.
Is the lead’s need for your product or service great enough? Does what you supply solve an urgent business need for them? Could they function without it?
Do you know when your lead needs your product or service? Is there a time frame when they need it or is it needed immediately?
Focus on leads that tick all the BANT boxes. You may have a prospect that meets all the criteria except timing, for example. In this case, you’ll have to wait for the lead to become a sale.
Lead scoring is a process of developing a lead qualifying system that’s objective, repeatable and simple. Score your leads by assigning ranks, scoring points or colour code according to purchase readiness. This can be done with a spreadsheet or using an app or online tool.
So, how do you get hold of the information to get the scoring process started?
To qualify your leads, you need a list of basic information. Generally, you can gather this information via a website lead form.
When setting up your lead form, strike a balance between asking appropriate questions and not asking too much. Gather the most important information upfront and the remainder as the business relationship develops.
Your lead form can include basic information such as name, surname, email, telephone number and address. This information is easily gathered via a standard website query or along with a free download (such as a white paper PDF, an e-book or info sheet) designed to be of interest to potential customers.
In addition, and depending on your type of business, you can add the company name, the industry it operates in, the person’s role and company size. However, there are a few additional questions to make the lead qualifying process easier, including:
- What is the budget?
- Who will be part of the decision-making process?
- Why is your product or service needed?
- What is the timeline?
- What will be achieved by using your products or service?
To make the form easier to complete, include answer options. For example, allow the lead to select the budget parameters between certain amounts.
Email and website interaction
Along with using Google Analytics, businesses are increasingly using software to identify good leads based on what they click and where they navigate. Weigh up the time and money you spend finding out a lead is “cold” against the cost of investing in such a product.
As a start-up, you may not have the time and resources to manage lead-qualifying software. In this case, it may be possible to outsource this task to an agency.
Once you can qualify leads for your small business, it becomes much easier to turn leads into sales.
What we offer at The Workspace
At The Workspace, we don’t specialise in marketing or offer expert advice on generating or qualifying leads.
However, we do aim to support small businesses, by providing affordable workspace equipped with everything businesses need to grow.
We offer fully serviced offices and coworking, and all our members have access to meeting rooms, boardrooms and a range of business services. For more information or to arrange a tour of one of our branches, call us on 087 059 7777 or contact us online.