A lead qualification checklist addresses an age-old problem in every sales funnel: the generation of high-quality leads. According to stats, 55% of marketers state their biggest challenge is finding leads that convert.
A strategically built sales funnel fails if leads not ready to buy reach the bottom line. One of the prime suspects behind such inefficient lead generation is an ambiguous representation of what constitutes a qualified lead.
Every organisation is different, and so is its target audience. Using a generic lead qualification checklist can only complicate the process further. It is better for brands to build a personalised lead qualification checklist that focuses on their buyers’ persona specifically.
In this blog, instead of giving you a direct lead qualification checklist, I will share a step-by-step process of how you can create one. Through the guide, you can develop a qualification checklist for whichever sales funnel stage you are targeting.
Let’s get started with some definitions.
What is Lead Qualification?
Lead qualification is a framework through which a brand can determine the purchasing potential of a prospect. Research states that only 56% of B2B marketers verify the quality of their leads before passing them to the sales team.
The job of sales reps becomes exhaustive when the prospects are miles away from making the final decision as they have to rectify the leads individually. Lead qualification streamlines this process and provides the structural approach required to point out relevant leads.
At three different stages of the sales funnel, marketers classify leads according to their actions.
- Awareness Stage: Information Qualified Lead (IQL)
The lead has entered the sales funnel and is ready to explore the brand. Such prospects must be a part of information-based marketing where educational campaigns about the company and its services get shared.
- Consideration Stage: Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
As the lead goes through the brand’s educational content and showcases an interest in its services, it becomes an MQL. Actions like visiting service pages, going through case studies, etc., all signify that an IQL qualifies as an MQL.
- Decision Stage: Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
After marketing the brand’s services and products to the lead at the consideration stage, if the lead’s interest presists, then it becomes an SQL.
At all the sales funnel stages, marketers must ensure that the leads get qualified at the right time. Here, a lead qualification checklist comes in handy. It saves the time and efforts of marketers by having a set benchmark for leads to qualify for the next stage.
It can be overwhelming to create checklists for every sales funnel stage. But by following a step-by-step method, marketers can build a reliable way to receive a stable stream of quality leads.
Step By Step Approach For Creating a Lead Qualification Checklist
A lead qualification checklist aligns lead generation techniques into a robust process. It keeps the qualification process consistent throughout channels, making it easier to identify valuable prospects.
For creating a personalised lead qualification checklist that caters to a brand’s lead generation standards, below is the process.
Step 1: Know The Customers
The customer database is a brand’s biggest asset in creating a suitable lead qualification checklist. It has all the information regarding the attributes and actions that paying customers projected in their sales cycle. Companies must segment and research the customer’s database to understand the buying journey that results in conversion.
For example, if a B2B business is creating a lead qualification checklist, it must look for :
- Which job profile has the highest conversions?
- What were the client’s online actions during all the three sales funnel stages?
- What is the average revenue over a period for leads who become clients?
- What were the challenges and problems the clients’ were facing?
Businesses must collaborate with their sales and marketing teams to determine the common traits that lead turned customers possess. Through this dataset, companies can form a strong foundation for their lead qualification checklist.
Step 2: Choose Your Qualification Framework
A lead qualification framework is a rough sketch for building a qualification checklist. It presents the direction to further research about key focus areas that a company should prioritise. There are many types of lead qualification frameworks; some of the popular ones are:
Let’s discuss these frameworks one by one.
It is one of the oldest lead qualification methods, with budget as its highest priority. It stands for:
Budget: How much is the prospect willing to spend?
Authority: What is the job profile of the lead?
Need: How our product or service solves the lead’s problem?
Timeline: What is the urgency of the client’s problem?
This framework is for companies that want to keep their lead qualification process simple. BANT focuses on four essential aspects of business, though using the budget as the prime indicator of conversion potential might not be suitable for consumer-focused marketing.
It is a framework suitable for small enterprises and startups. MEDDIC focuses on consumers and what value a company’s services bring them.
Metrics: How much money does the prospect save by using our services?
Economic buyer: Who is the final decision-maker in this sales process?
Decision-criteria: Factors that affect the buying decision
Decision-process: Ideal process/steps that convert the lead into a buyer
Identify Pain: What are the specific pain points of the prospect?
Champion: Who is the point of contact in the target company?
The MEDDIC method presents a balanced approach toward lead qualification. Factors like decision criteria and decision process fixate on providing a great buying experience to the prospects. In contrast, elements like champion help focus on the main point of contact with the prospects.
It is a framework that works for all types of brands and companies. It follows a consumer-focused approach toward lead qualification.
Challenge: What challenges are the lead facing, and can our product solve them?
Authority: Can the lead make buying decisions?
Money: What is the lead’s budget?
Prioritisation: How essential is it for lead to solve this problem?
CHAMP puts a company’s challenges above authority which means even if a lead does not have the buying power, they can still be a valid prospect, acting as a point of contact with the person who does. The framework doesn’t rush into disqualifying leads but takes the time to understand prospect problems.
This framework is an improvised version of BANT by HubSpot. It weighs in several crucial elements related to lead qualification, making it a must-try.
Goals: What is the overall goal of the lead?
Plan: What actions has the lead taken to solve the problem?
Challenge: What challenges is the lead facing?
Time: Urgency of the problem
Budget: How much is the lead willing to spend?
Authority: Does the lead have the final decision-making power?
Consequences: What if the lead does not achieve their goals?
Implications: What if the lead achieves their goals?
The framework is a great way to assess a lead’s compatibility with a company’s services. Such an elaborate lead qualification method is suitable for big enterprises and organisations.
Step 3: Identify Intent
Early identification of buying intent can bring in higher sales. So it is a crucial aspect to include in a lead qualification checklist. Though it might look complicated to understand what precisely the prospect wants, through a data-driven approach, companies can come close to determining what actions display buying intent.
Having a clear understanding of the buyers’ journey that actually resulted in conversions can help form a clearer picture of want presents a purchase intent.
For example, prospects that constantly visit a company’s blog page might be looking for information or interested in the company. Marketers can nurture the interest into intent through email campaigns. But prospects visiting the service pages showcase a high intent to buy. Differentiating between both types of prospects can help reach out to quality leads early and shorten their sales cycle.
Suggested Read: What is Intent-Based Marketing?
Step 4: Integrate with Lead Scoring
The time has come to put your lead qualification checklist to the test. But it is impossible to check every lead and qualify prospects manually. So, marketers must integrate their checklist efficiently with a lead scoring model.
A lead scoring model is an intricate part of marketing automation. It rewards prospects with points when they perform an action or possess an attribute that indicates buying potential.
The leads automatically get scores and qualify as MQL or SQL, depending on their total points. Marketers can use the lead qualification checklist as the criteria for winning points and thus develop a simplified system for filtering out valuable prospects.
Suggested Read: How to Create a Lead Scoring Model
Step 5: Refine and Optimise
Once the lead scoring model is all set and working, it doesn’t mean the work is over. The customer pain points, needs, etc., are constantly evolving and so is the buyers’ journey.
Every marketer must always revisit their lead qualification checklist from time to time to keep it updated according to new market demands. If not done, the whole lead qualification system can become inefficient and a company might start losing out on quality leads.
So, optimising the lead qualification checklist is crucial. But how should one do it? It is quite simple; just start again with the first step of creating a qualification checklist in this guide. Remember, timely optimisation of the lead qualification checklist helps create a robust lead generation pipeline.
Marketers can create a lead qualification for every sales funnel stage, be it awareness, conversion, or decision. The initial research through various customer profiles and a deep understanding of a lead scoring model makes it easier to create and implement the checklist. The right qualification framework, paired with the right vision, helps companies boost their ROIs and overall performance.
Managing a lead qualification checklist with automation tools decreases marketing team stress. Combining them opens opportunities for creating a strong lead qualification process.
Related blogs to read:
Top Of Funnel Marketing: Best Practices to follow
How to Nurture Leads With Middle of the Funnel Lead Generation
Nurture Bottom of the Funnel Leads With These Strategies
B2B Lead Nurturing: The Ultimate Guide
Lead Nurturing Email Examples From My Personal Account