Originally published July 9th, 2013
Inbound lead qualification methods will often let opportunities fall by the wayside for a number of reasons. Many times, sales reps will skip over prospects who do not appear to be the right contact or are too early in their evaluation process. This approach will cause many good opportunities to fall through the cracks. When you receive an inbound lead there are some pieces of information you will need to uncover. Start with identifying the person within the organization that downloaded your resources, as well as their role.
Not an Appropriate Contact? Become Sherlock…
Sometimes, the prospect has no real insight or buying power. In this instance, it’s important to spend your time wisely by doing some detective work. They are still worthwhile to speak with, and a helpful approach is to ask who instructed them to look into your company.
The answer may or may not be the one you were hoping for — or even helpful at all. But if they were assigned to research your company, follow up by asking, “Why did your boss ask you to do so?” They may not know, but if they do you now have a great foundation to build from when you speak with the correct contact and/or decision maker. At the very least, you should be able to identify the decision maker through this process — even if you will have to go in unarmed. It is crucial to understand the importance of qualifying these types of inbound leads because many solid opportunities will grow from this stage.
Build a Champion Today…
Of course, there will be times when the “right” contact downloaded your marketing material. Even if they are extremely early in their evaluation, take the opportunity to breed a champion of your product, so you will be top of mind when the time comes to purchase. In this case, don’t spend all your time with the prospect talking about you or your company — build the foundation of a relationship. To do so, find a natural balance between asking open-ended questions and sharing product/service knowledge.
Finally, keep in mind that not everyone wants to buy your product and may have been simply staying informed about the players in your market. Asking the “Who, what, why” questions will help disqualify those people, prioritize your leads, and prevent any opportunities from being missed due to frustration.