In B2B sales a qualified lead is somebody who:
- Has the budget to make a purchase
- Decision making power to decide to buy
- A need for what you’re selling
So.. how do you define a qualified lead? And how do you qualify a lead on a sales call?
There are three times you should qualify during the sales process:
Qualify when list building
Look for buying signals online before you contact a person to sell to them. A good example is to use a tool like BuiltWith to find websites that use a similar tool to what you sell.
For instance, typing “LiveChat” into BuiltWith will return a list of websites that use that software.
If you were olark or another real time chat plugin, all of the websites that use LiveChat would be qualified for you to reach out to.
You can use BuiltWith to find websites that use any sort of software tool: wordpress, random plugins, etc.
Now the problem with Builtwith is the lack of quality. Most people including myself who have used Builtwith before knows that there are a lot of outdated information and contact infos such as email@example.com which we don’t want in b2b sales. We want the decision makers contact info.
For a more reliable service along with custom data, check out GrowthOK
An example outside of tech:
If you’re a service based business or freelancer, you can use Indeed to find clients.
For companies that would be interested in what you sell, just type your keywords into the search box and see what come up.
I typed in “painters” in San Francisco and found hundreds of companies hiring. Any of these would be great targets for cold outreach — if you’re running a painting business and need strategic partners.
Exchange painters for any type of services business: web design, development, marketing, SEO, etc. Find people that are hiring and contact them to get clients.
Qualify using cold email
Once you’ve qualified these leads using publicly available information, you want to keep digging and poking to see if these people want to buy.
We recommend going after clients with a custom email — spending up to 10 minutes per message sent to make sure you’re speaking directly to a customer’s specific needs.
While doing that, there are two ways you can do this in the outreach itself:
Screen them in the subject line
Use a long detailed subject line that fully explains your offering. This will turn off everyone that isn’t highly qualified, and make sure you’re not wasting their time.
To give you an example, here are three subject lines I’ve used in the last few weeks to actually close deals:
“More enterprise clients for Practitest, what do you think Yaniv?”
This subject was going after shops currently working with SMB clients that had a few enterprise grade clients in their portfolios.
By asking whether they wanted “more” enterprise clients, the subject line is subtly hinting that I knew they already worked with the enterprise in the past, and that they were looking for more.
“Built a thing that auto-finds rails projects, what do you think William?”
Similar to the last email, this was focused on Ruby on Rails development agencies for a list we were testing.
WIlliam was looking for rails projects because he needs to keep his agency at 100% working capacity, and this subject line spoke right too it.
“Room for another interview? Found you through Dan Norris”
Sent this one out to podcast hosts — ones that were booked solid might glance over it, but the ones who need more people to interview did open and respond. This email has netted at least 30 podcasts so far.
The second thing is..
Ask an open ended question in the email
Asking a question will get people to respond.
A call to action that’s been working well for me is:
“Does that sound like something you’d be interested in? If so we could hop on the phone”
If a reader is interested at all in the offer — or even just confused and wanting more info — they’ll respond and set up a call.
Once you have someone at this step, they’re pretty qualified and the last step is to..
Qualify on the call
To do that, ask questions around need, budget and the timeline to make a decision.
Here are a couple questions you can ask:
“Have you worked with any other social media vendors before?”
Figuring out whether they’ve paid for someone or used tool that does exactly what you do is a great qualifier. If a customer is willing to pay somebody else for half a solution, they’re going to love what you have to offer.
“When are you looking to make a decision?”
If a client says they want to move on it this week — you know they’re highly qualified and you’re in a good situation to ask closing questions and move the deal forward.
That leads us into the next question..
“What’s a good next step here?”
Your potential customer might say “I need to talk to my boss and make a presentation to the whole company before we can move forward.”
If that happens, the company might be qualified, but you aren’t talking to the right person.
Go back to linkedin or buy higher quality leads and try again. Otherwise, ask the guy for an intro and trade up the chain if it’s a larger enterprise sale.
If you’re looking for qualified and better lead data check out GrowthOK
P.S. We have a FREE 10 sales hack in 10 days course that you can get here