8 Qualifying Questions To Guarantee You Proper Leads
By Bradley Laubscher, August 19, 2021
6 minute read
I’ve come to learn that outbound sales outreach – such as email “drip” campaigns – is a world unto itself, distinct from inbound marketing efforts (such as Twitter and Facebook marketing). This article shares some of the outbound expertise we’ve gleaned and apply at HANGAR49 in the various ways we qualify sales leads.
Control is essential within the context of a sales negotiation. Taking the lead (no pun intended) makes it easier to distill leads from the top-of-the-funnel (usually a cold commodity) into warm, meaningful relationships further down.
However, not sufficiently vetting a lead before the engagement phase runs a heavier risk of failure, not to mention the additional wasted time and resources. Based on this experience, we ask these 8 key qualifying questions to ourselves and to the lead in question during our first contact with our prospects. After these musings, I’ve come to find that the engagement phase becomes more natural, which will result in a less “sales-y” and more authentic approach.
1) FIRSTLY; WHERE DID THE LEAD COME FROM?
A lead’s origin provides valuable context for a conversation. Did you connect with the lead via Email, LinkedIn, or Social Media? It’s beneficial to know if the contact was organic or from a pre-existing list of potentials.
2) ARE THEY THE RIGHT PERSON TO SPEAK TO WITHIN THE COMPANY?
When it comes to a prospective business deal, time is money. The person you are chatting to could be a decision-maker, a champion, or a dead-end. It’s important to be aware of who you are speaking with and how they participate in the decision-making process.
3) WHAT IS THEIR OVERALL COMPANY PICTURE?
Ask the top-level information such as business size, average deal size, marketing and sales team structure. The lead’s answer can reveal how in tune they are with how everything works at their company; these types of qualifying questions can also indicate the decision-making process and provide useful insight into potential synergies.
4) WHAT IS THEIR OBJECTIVE?
Ask this question, and then let the other person do the talking. Listening builds relationships and can reveal a prospective client’s specific pains or what is especially important to them, including what their expectations and plans are going forward. When this emerges, focus on it. Their success must be your success – therefore, it benefits everyone to know what they hope to achieve.
5) WHAT VALUE CAN WE BRING TO THE TABLE?
We can achieve value in two ways: alleviating pain and adding revenue. When a lead articulates what they need precisely, that’s where you should position yourself and align your abilities to meet them there.
Protip: Let them give you the whole story and ask open-ended qualifying questions to get a sense of what is happening from the stakeholder’s viewpoint, including the ongoing situation, past history, expectations for the future, etc.
6) WHAT ARE THE TIMELINE AND BUDGET RESTRICTIONS?
Having a clear picture of budgets, dates, deal closing dates, priorities, and other benchmarks go a long way in demonstrating your value-add in the long term rather than a short-sighted sales pitch.
While often not the first conversation, there eventually comes a time when money comes into play; establish an overall budget along with timelines to get a sense of how much is needed and when it needs to take place.
7) WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE TO THEM?
When asked honestly, this question shows that you are on the same team. Any endeavour needs to co-create value; help the lead to see value in your ability to bring something to the conversation and guide them on the road ahead. How a lead defines success also allows you to measure what can be mutually gained from it.
Protip: We created HANGER49’s Growth Calculator to quantify this outlook for our clients, helping them measure and plan their outreach growth.
8) WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?
Whether you have a clear picture of the decision-making process or not, this question will articulate from both sides what comes next. Ending on this question is proactive, offers transparency on where you are on the roadmap to a deal, and establishes what’s needed to move the sale forward. When you initiate deeper conversations with others at the organization, nothing says “I’ve done my homework” than “My understanding of your business is x, y, and z.”
When it comes to establishing a qualified lead, remember that once you have the invitation, having the crucial questions in hand will help you maintain control of the conversation and leave a meeting knowing where you stand. Before you part ways, always put that next meeting on the calendar – unlike your questions, this part shouldn’t be open-ended.
We utilise marketing technology and top-of-the-funnel approaches to connect you with everyone out there who wants what you’re offering. Whether it’s by giving you access to a refined and responsive client base or upgrading your business in the areas it needs help the most to reach its full potential, HANGAR49 promises to be your co-pilot in flying high towards a new and better horizon.