Every company focuses on marketing to get their products in front of a larger audience. But does it lead to potential customers? This is the main question.
According to a survey, about 34% of marketing-qualified leads (MQL) convert into sales-accepting leads (SAL). Among these SALs, only 47% convert to sales qualified leads (SQL). Later, 50% of these potential leads become sales.
These stats indicate that quantity is not always equal to quality. Even if you have a big audience, it doesn't guarantee that every one of them will reach the end of the sales funnel.
Let's imagine your company selects 1000 people through MQL, and only 340 out of these 1000 people convert into SAL. Out of these 340 people, only 159 convert to SQL. So, according to the above stats, out of 1000 people, only 79 will end up buying from you.
To generate more sales, you need to have qualified sales leads. But the question that arises now is how you can generate qualified sales leads. This is exactly what we want to discuss today. In this article, we will discuss sales qualified leads (SQL) in detail, from what it is to its importance and best practices to finding qualified leads. So, let's get started.
- What are Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)?
- How to Identify Sales Qualified Leads?
- Importance of Sales Qualified Leads
- Questions to Ask to Qualify Sales Leads
- What's Next After a Sales Lead is Qualified?
- How Market Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales Accepting Leads (SAL) are Linked with Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)?
- Best Practices to Find and Convert Sales Qualified Leads
- Wrapping Up
Sales qualified leads refer to potential buyers who are likely to make a purchase. SQL refers to buyers who have shown interest in the company and the product or service that the company is offering.
These potential buyers have gone through the sales funnel, starting from the marketing qualified leads (MQL), also known as cold leads, and converting into sales accepting leads (SAL). From here, the sales department tries to convert SAL into paying customers by giving them a sales pitch.
There are many characteristics of sales qualified leads that can help you identify them. Two of those characteristics are:
- They show immense interest in the product or service that your company is offering.
- They are in a position where they are most likely to complete the sales.
Now that you know what sales qualified leads are, let's discuss the methods you can use to identify a sales lead.
Sales qualified leads are the leads that show immense interest in buying your product or service. Every company has lead qualification criteria set in place through which they can identify sales leads, which are then transferred to sales teams.
One of the most commonly used techniques to qualify a lead is BANT, a methodology that was formed in the 1950s. BANT is an acronym that goes as follows:
You need to make sure that your potential buyers have the money to buy your product or service. They could be your company's biggest fan but won't have the budget to buy from you. You can ask questions like "How much is the potential buyer willing and able to spend?"
You need to get in touch with someone at the decision-making level, as they will be determining whether or not to buy from you. You can ask them, "Who is making the decision to buy?" or "Are you in contact with the person in charge of buying?"
You need to figure out whether your potential buyer really needs your product or service. You can ask them, "What are the pain points that you are facing?"
You should look for buyers who want to buy from you within the next quarter. Because if there is no urgency, they might not need your product or service.
The data that you collect using BANT will help you determine whether or not this buyer is a qualified lead for sales. By understanding the budget, authority, need, and timeline of a lead, you can make a sales pitch.
Qualifying sales leads is important because they save time and company resources. You will be able to provide a better customer experience if you have a better understanding of potential buyers and how to handle them.
When you identify qualified sales leads through BANT, you are able to collect information regarding your potential buyer. It gives you a better understanding of them as a person, not just figures. The more information that you have, the better your sales pitch will be. This sales pitch will eventually be the stepping stone that converts your lead into actual sales.
There are many questions that you can ask a lead to qualify them. Here is a list of such questions:
- Are you looking to buy or learn more about our product or service?
- What is your current position within your organization?
- What are the pain points or challenges that you are facing?
- What is your estimated budget?
- Do you have any questions or concerns regarding our pricing plan?
- Are you using any tools or services to resolve your pain points or challenges?
- What are your likes and dislikes about the tools or services that you are utilizing at the moment as a solution to your paint points or challenges?
- What is the timeline that you will be following to resolve your current issues?
- What mode of communication do you prefer for the sales process?
These questions are the key to finding qualified sales leads. You don't need to ask all these questions, well certainly not all at once.
Gathering data through these questions can be tedious, but you can even use tools such as chatbots to ask these questions and gather information from your leads. For instance, Shulex VOC AI Chatbot is a conversational AI chatbot and an alternative to Intercom that you can set up on your website. Afterward, it can serve as your marketing chatbot that engages with potential buyers, answers their queries, and helps form strong relationships 24/7. Moreover, it offers resourceful insights about customer interactions that can help in better decision-making.
Now that you have identified sales qualified leads, it is time for you to rank your leads and disqualify the ones that don't make the cut. You can rank your leads by using a scoring method, where you can use different factors to give a score, as follows:
- Visiting your website multiple times, especially the product or service page.
- Subscribing to your newsletter.
- Inquiring about the product or service.
After ranking your leads, you will then give each lead a sales pitch. All the information that you have collected so far through questions will be used to create a sales pitch that targets your lead's pinpoints. This way, you can likely turn most of the qualified leads into customers.
How Market Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales Accepting Leads (SAL) are Linked with Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)?
We already know what sales qualified leads is, but there are two terms we have used many times that we haven't discussed, i.e., market-qualified leads and sales accepting leads.
Market qualified leads refer to those leads that are identified by the marketing department, and they think these leads are most likely to convert into sales. They are identified based on criteria like behavior, engagement with marketing materials, etc.
In contrast, sales accepting leads refer to those leads that are transferred from the marketing team to the sales team. In this stage, the sales representative interacts with the leads to understand their concerns, needs, and guide them.
In short, both the market qualified leads and sales accepting leads are considered the earlier stages in the sales funnel. Once the sales accepting leads are identified as worthy, they become sales qualified leads.
Sales qualified leads are the key to driving sales and growing business. So, let's highlight a few proven practices to find and convert sales qualified leads:
1. Build Relationships
Customers like it when they are being more valued. So, try to build relationships with them. For instance, if they ask about your product, don't just send them the link to the product; try to interact with them over a call. The real conversation often has a great impact on finding and converting sales qualified leads.
2. Online Presence
Online presence is a must in today's digitalized era. Other than having a website, you should also list your company in different sales directories, such as Capterra, SaaS, G2, Genius, etc.
3. Personalized Emails
Sending personalized emails is another effective way to boost lead generation and convert leads. Emails should hit their pain points and give them the exact solution they need. This requires a thorough analysis of your leads and then customizing the emails accordingly.
4. Chat with Leads
Besides emails or phone calls, you can increase your chats with leads through live chat support on your website. Alternatively, you can opt for VOC AI Chatbot - a better alternative to Zendesk to add an AI chatbot to generate leads and give them instant and convincing responses.
Online reviews have become crucial to convince potential leads. In fact, most customers now read reviews before making the purchase decision. Therefore, make sure you have more positive reviews online, which is possible by delivering top-notch services to your existing customers and asking them to leave reviews online.
Look for unsatisfied customers from competitors. One way to find them is by exploring the negative reviews of competitors on social media or other forums. Afterward, you can interact with them, share your product demo, and convince them to explore your product further.
7. Use SEO
Increase the flow of traffic on your website with search engine optimization. It will help you rank higher on Google search result pages for targeted keywords.
Ad campaigns have a strong potential to drive the attention of potential customers. That's why you should emphasize running targeted ads, whether on social media, search engines, etc.
Qualified sales leads have a significantly high potential to drive sales. Therefore, it is important to set up a structured framework that your marketing and sales teams can follow to identify and convert sales qualified leads. So, keep the above guide as a reference and boost your sales with sales qualified leads.