How to qualify a lead with the right strategy?

Nothing is more frustrating for a salesperson than dealing with a poorly qualified lead with right strategy. He will have committed time, resources, and energy for a prospect who does not have a project or who is not the decision-maker. Too many salespeople are bent on dealing with unqualified leads. Yet having the right qualification strategy in place early on allows you to focus on the serious contacts that can generate revenue. Find out how to proceed to ensure the best performance of your sales teams.

What is a lead?

The concept of lead is mainly used in BtoB (business to business), that is to say for a company that sells its products or services to another company. Its definition is not fully formalized. So it is different from one company to another and even from one salesperson to another.

Commonly, we speak of a lead when a prospect leaves his contact details. It can be on the form of a website following an inbound marketing operation, during a trade fair, during a phone call, or, more generally, when a person agrees to be contacted by a sales representative. . It is sometimes referred to as an opportunity or project.

It represents a good signal for the company. However, this initial contact does not mean that the lead is qualified and even less that he will be able to generate a sale.

The SDR (Sales development representative) plays a capital role in qualifying an opportunity. It is often the first contact with the potential client. He must ask the essential questions to understand the project and deliver a qualified prospect or MQL (Marketing qualified lead) to sales representatives.

Which commercial qualification strategy to adopt?

There are several methods used by companies to qualify a lead, including BANT and GPCT / BA / C & I techniques.

BANT, the old standard for qualifying leads

The BANT system is a lead qualification technique introduced by IBM in the mid-20th century. This acronym corresponds to:

  • Budget: Can the prospect afford to buy your product or service?
  • Authority: Does the contact have the necessary authority to approve and sign the contract?
  • Needs: Is the prospect having a problem that you can fix?
  • Timing: When does the prospect plan to make the purchase?

This is the standard method used by all salespeople around the world. Yet she seems to have reached her limits. Today it appears to be out of step with new consumption habits and the advent of digital technology. This is why its use has declined sharply in societies that prefer the use of more modern techniques.

GPCT / BA / C & I technique, more in tune with current society

The GPCT / BA / C & I qualification system is a recent method developed by HubSpot. This is a more precise and detailed model than the BANT process. It will help the sales teams to refine their approach to contacts for a clearer vision of business opportunities.

This new system corresponds to a 3-step process:

  1. GPCT (Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline) – objectives, action plans, challenges, deadlines:
  • What is the prospect’s goal? Does it want to improve its performance, reduce its costs, meet a regulatory obligation, reduce a “bread”? Understanding the issue, the motivation, and why the business needs your product or service is essential. In particular, it is necessary to seek whether there is not an inconsistency somewhere. For example, it has just renewed its network infrastructure only 3 years ago or its group usually buys from your competitor.
  • What is the client’s action plan? What means will be put in place to carry out his project? Are the resources necessary to implement this action plan available? The larger the project, the more its plan and means of action must be structured using specifications, the recruitment of an external firm, the establishment of a POC (Proof of concept )….
  • What are the challenges facing the company? What obstacles can hinder or prevent reaching the goal? You must identify internal blocking points with your client (technical brake, company restructuring, change in decision-making centers, etc.), but also external (economic conditions, etc.). There are also the challenges linked to your offer, such as technical incompatibility, the inability to intervene in geographic areas that are not covered, etc.
  • What are the project deadlines? Has the prospect set a specific deadline for consulting and selecting providers? When should the solution or service be implemented? If the timing is fuzzy, it indicates the lack of maturity of the project and you need to take this into account to treat it differently.
  • BA (Budget, Authority) – budget, authority:
  • Does the prospect have the budget to carry out his project? Has it been voted on? Is it in line with your offer? What criteria were used to determine it (alone or thanks to a competing proposal)?
  • Is the prospect the decision-maker? You must identify all the stakeholders on the project: decision-makers, influencers, and sponsors. Don’t get stuck with just one person. You need to meet the other people who are part of the project. If it is a financially important or structuring project for the company, it would be surprising if only one individual made the decision. If this is the case, it can mean that the project is not real and that the client is doing its technological or market watch with different service providers.
  • C&I (negative Consequences & positive Implications) – negative repercussions and positive implications:
  • What are the negative repercussions if your prospect does not reach their goal? What consequence can this have on himself (his position, his career) and the company in the event of a failure?
  • Conversely, what are the positive consequences if the objectives are achieved? It is at this stage that the added value of your product or service can play out by demonstrating its ability to limit the risk of failure.

Negative signals in the sales process

The success of a commercial prospecting depends on an effective qualification of leads allowing to determine if the relationship should be continued. Also, it is essential to be able to quickly identify certain negative signals indicating that the prospect is poorly qualified, such as:

  • Lead inaction: Nothing goes as planned with each milestone you set and the project does not move forward.
  • The vagueness of the answers: Systematically, when you ask your prospect for specific elements, his answers are imprecise, short, and terse.
  • Limited knowledge of the subject: The client does not seem to have mastered his subject and seems to be skimming over it.
  • Inconsistency: In the different stages of the project, the objectives, and the achievement, there are inconsistencies.
  • The prospect is alone: ​​The project is important, as are the financial amounts, but you only meet one interlocutor.

A true mantra for many salespeople, the traditional BANT method appears more and more obsolete with the new uses that impact the purchasing process. HubSpot’s GPCT / BA / C & I technique& insurance noon responds to these new challenges and represents an effective alternative. This multidimensional tool makes it possible to exploit the wealth of information obtained by salespeople. Thus, sales teams are more efficient at identifying the best leads without wasting unnecessary time to get the right strategy.

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