With These 5 Steps For More Qualified Lead Generation
In order to generate new leads for your IT sales team, it’s often necessary to purchase a list of potential contacts. But to fill your sales pipeline properly, you need to have the right approach to lead qualification.
Contacts from a list purchase are colder than digital or in-person leads you’ve generated yourself, and they can also be filled with unqualified opportunities. If you’re not careful, these unqualified leads become worse than having no leads at all.
In order not to waste your IT sales team’s time, follow these five steps to more qualified lead generation and a sales pipeline brimming with opportunity.
Step 1: Leverage The First Contact Filter
Whether you’re outsourcing the lead qualification process to an expert or doing it yourself, first contact with cold leads is the most important step in determining a possible opportunity. Without a robust filter at first contact, you waste time on poorly fit prospects or bad leads.
Your first contact with a potential prospect should filter according to basic criteria, such as:
- If the contact represents duplicate or invalid data
- If the prospect’s company aligns with your target market or industry
- If your product or service is a viable option for this contact
- If the potential lead is a subset of a hierarchy or part of a larger opportunity
Step 2: Filter Even Further
After you’ve qualified a lead at a basic level, it’s time to filter their fit even further so your IT sales pipeline has only the best-qualified opportunities. Remember: The higher the quality of the lead, the better the conversion rate and potential sale.
One way to further filter leads is to measure their alignment with your buyer persona. Buyer personas are an essential part of the B2B sales process, so you need to determine the characteristics of your ideal buyer then filter your leads according to those characteristics.
Another effective filter is the BANT method. The BANT acronym stands for four aspects of qualifying potential leads:
- B – Budget: What is this lead’s budget for a product or service like yours?
- A – Authority: What is this lead’s authority at his or her company?
- N – Need: How much does this lead need a product or service like yours?
- T – Timeline: When is their budget or decision going to be finalized?
These four criteria allow you to determine whether or not the lead is properly qualified for your IT sales pipeline.
Step 3: Focus On Timeline
While every aspect of lead qualification plays an important role, a prospect’s timeline is the most important factor. Your IT sales team qualifies leads at a much higher conversion rate when they pay attention to a lead’s timing requirements.
Even in the lengthy sales cycle of the IT industry, time is the most important factor for getting a decision – and a purchase – from a prospect. So, for example, if a lead’s projected timeline is longer than a year, they likely aren’t as qualified as you might have first thought. In fact, these opportunities can be a waste of time for your sales team.
Step 4: Customize Your Criteria
No single criteria list or system perfectly determines a qualified lead for all companies. That’s why you need to create a customized list of attributes that qualify leads for your IT sales team.
If you’re working with a demand generation vendor, they might be solely using a lead qualification template for your industry. Without customizing those criteria, the vendor could be generating bad leads for your business.
Instead, work with an outsourced sales partner to develop a set of custom criteria focused on the type of leads your business is looking for. Consider more in-depth criteria, including:
- Company size
- Company revenue range
- Prospect title or position
- Prospect industry or niche
Step 5: Decrease Opportunity Costs
After applying these filters and criteria to your list of contacts, you may still encounter a number of leads who aren’t an initial fit for your business. However, that doesn’t mean you should automatically throw out these opportunities.
Once you’ve determined a lead isn’t qualified, document its missing or unqualified criteria and then put it through a lead nurturing process. The more you automate this document-and-nurture process, the less time your team wastes on the wrong leads.
By nurturing unqualified leads, you decrease opportunity costs by letting your IT sales team follow up on the work that matters most: closing more deals.
Lead qualification is a scientific process, but when you apply robust filters to your list of potential contacts, the ROI is worth the extra effort. Start with the five steps listed above and your IT sales pipeline fills faster than ever before.
Looking for warmer leads for your IT sales team? Click below to download this industry guide from Invenio Solutions® to start turning cold calls into prospects who are ready to buy.