If you are in a sales or marketing role, you probably know what a qualified lead is; at least from a high level. A qualified lead is a prospective customer who matches the company’s ideal buyer persona in terms of need, budget and other factors. But going one step further, what are those ideal buyer persona’s characteristics at a particular company? This is where many run into trouble.
According to CSO Insights’ 2014 Sales Performance Optimization Find More Analysis Report, only half of organizations have a formal definition of a qualified lead that both Marketing and Sales reference. Surprisingly 31% of survey participants only had an informal definition in place. Even more surprising, 19% had no definition at all.
What does this mean? How can a company move towards gaining a formal definition? How will that help lead conversion? Many are not able to clearly define their ideal prospects and therefore could be spinning their wheels unnecessarily with less than ideal results.
Not using a common interpretation takes a toll on lead conversion rates. Research shows that only 34% of companies with no formal definition were able to advance a lead to a first discussion more than half of the time. This percentage jumps to 63% when compared to companies with clear definitions. The bottom line is that organizations that formally define the term “qualified lead” connect with prospects more often. They achieve higher sales as a result of more frequent connections.
How can a company get closer to a formal definition? A great first step is to create buyer personas for all of your target customers. One strategy recommends going back into CRMs, or whichever data systems your organization has, and analyze the wins and losses. What do successful customers have in common in terms of need, budget and other characteristics? Conduct interviews with existing customers and prospects until you have enough similarities to profile these into ‘buyer personas.’ Using this data firm up the definition of a ‘qualified lead’ for your organization so your sales team knows exactly who / what opportunities to move forward with and which ones to let go.
Having a definition will save sales people from spinning their wheels in the wrong direction. When they spend more time on the right opportunities, it will result in more sales.
Source: What is a Qualified Lead?