If you’ve spent more than a couple of days trying to sell to people, you’ve (hopefully) already become abundantly aware of the need to apply lead qualification in your MSP marketing. We’ve all been there when we first started in sales. You’ve invested hours of your time covering all of the points in your sales script (you do have one, right?), delivered with a polish and flourish that has you proud, only to be told, “Sorry, I can’t afford it,” or “Well, the person you need to talk to is…”
These are just a couple of the classic ways in which failing to qualify leads can result in wasted resources. When you’re young and just getting started in one-on-one sales, it’s a frustrating uphill challenge. When you’re an MSP business, failing to qualify leads effectively can cost you money and, more importantly, opportunities.
So, How To Qualify Leads?
The exact process varies across industries and sales strategies but they basically consist of the following points:
You need to know as much about the customer as possible. Is their profile in line with the profile of your target/ideal customer? If not, can they fit the profile or do you need to move on? Does your target profile need to be modified? If so, why?
Interest vs Intent
Is the lead simply interested to understand more about your company, services, or industry? Is the lead in a position to buy and are they ready to buy? What area of your MSP marketing attracted the lead?
Key Decision Maker
Are you speaking to a key decision maker or do you need to use the lead in order to reach the key decision maker?
What does the lead need/require? What lack do they suffer that you can solve for them? Do they use a competing product that isn’t meeting their needs?
What competition do you face in the area of need/want for the lead? How can you present something superior to the competition? Does the lead have experience with the competition? Are they looking for a superior service/contract?
The above points are just some of the key areas to tackle when qualifying a lead. The questions raised are examples of how you can address these points but for sure, they are not an exhaustive list. So, what methods are available for answering these questions?
Answer the Qualification Questions
Again, there is no set, precise catch-all formula. Approaches include:
Talk to the Lead
Amazing idea, I know. It seems obvious but more amazing is how frequently we can end up trying to sell to lead without knowing enough about them. If, for some reason, you haven’t been able to get enough of the answers to questions like those posed above before talking to a lead, take the opportunity to discuss things with the lead.
Obviously, the more you can structure such a discussion in the form of sales/closing strategy, the better but remember that holding a frank, open chat with a lead in which they don’t feel they’re being bullied or tricked into a close can generate far stronger customer relationships.
Which website? Well, theirs and yours. Oh, and those of the competition. Basically, use the internet. Even if you think you know your industry or market segment, it pays to regularly undertake research. Study the lead’s website, look for interviews with key executives.
Where an inbound lead has arrived via your website, you should be able to study their activity on your website. Have they visited your trial/demo page or your pricing? That’s a strong indicator of buying intent.
Your CRM should be able to let you know if you’ve dealt with the company or that lead before. What is the history? Is someone else in your sales team talking to them now?
Entire sections of bookshops have been built around the subject of sales lead qualification. We’re not going to tackle everything in this one short blog post. However, you can see how easily effective qualification of leads can help to bolster your MSP marketing efforts. By taking steps like those outlined above, your sales can really benefit.