Judging good sales leads is essential to business success. A steady supply of leads is invaluable, but they must also be likely to convert to sales. The best, or most qualified leads are those tending toward significant purchases, at a good price and with ongoing repeat sales opportunities. But how do you identify them? Start by asking the following questions:
Do they Fit Your Targeted Customer Profile?
On a company level (rather than buyer persona level – which deals with individual people) think in terms of size, industry sector and location. As far as you can judge, their needs should align with what your business offers. So ask, what have they bought in the past and what repeat requisitions are they likely to need?
Who is Making the Sales Decision and How Much Authority do they Have?
A very diffuse or disorganised process could take a lot of time to complete, so check how many people are involved in purchase decisions. Is it an individual company owner or a diverse team of directors? Do departmental managers have the financial autonomy to make purchases or is the process centralised? Does the individual contact (now we’re talking buyer personas) have authority to negotiate on prices and quantities, and to close a deal on their own? What opportunities are there for up-selling?
Is There Much Competition?
You will know your own field, so consider whether it is worthwhile investing time and effort if there is little chance of winning a bid. Also consider what the prospect’s purchase criteria are. This will help you to judge if you are best placed in a highly contended market.
These are all important questions. However, with modern sales, increasingly, buyers have performed significant research in advance of coming to market. They often already know exactly what they want and how much they are willing to pay. In this case, little is left for your sales team in terms of negotiation. The trick, then, is to catch your leads early.
The Importance of Change
How then can you judge leads where there is still room for you to work your magic? The simple answer is change. For companies that are undergoing (or about to undergo) change, leads are particularly valuable because the company is already committed to alterations in its structures, processes and ways of thinking.
Business changes offer an opportunity for you to step in early and respond productively to a developing need. This action can boost your revenue, but will also be very helpful in terms of the client's change process. So what should you look for?
1) External Factors
External changes can often be the most positive, as they do not imply any inherent weakness in the company. Shifts in government regulation or legislation are good examples: would the client need new equipment because of an upcoming safety standard? The corona virus pandemic is another good example – and topical at the time of writing – of an external change bringing adjustments in working requirements.
Technological innovation is a perpetual external change factor for most modern businesses. This can change pretty quickly; just look at the massive uptake of Zoom and other remote-working platforms over the past six months. A look at their existing provision will help to decide if a major overhaul in your service provision and messaging is needed.
Also consider the economic infrastructure in which businesses are operating. This is often closely tied to technology. A good example of this is the shift to cloud services in recent years, which has prompted a move to subscription-based services rather than product sales.
2) Internal Factors
Internal changes can also lead to major purchasing decisions. These can be harder to predict, but some events may be influential. A change in senior leadership, for example, or under-performance in key metrics, may lead to a shift in strategic direction. Of course, care is needed here, as such vulnerabilities could also be detrimental to conversion prospects.
For help qualifying and segmenting your leads, and formulating the right approach to bring in the best sales revenues, speak to one of our JDR marketing specialists today.
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