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Why You Should Use CRM for Your Lead Qualification Process

Why You Should Use CRM for Your Lead Qualification Process 

Imagine you’ve launched a new product and the leads are coming in. Eager to capitalize on the interest, you rush to contact every potential prospect. But after dozens of dead-end conversations, it becomes clear that not every lead is a good fit for what you’re selling. And what’s even worse, chasing the wrong people led to a massive drain on your time, resources, self confidence and motivation.

In this article, you’ll learn what it means for a lead to be truly qualified for your product or service so you can stop wasting energy in the wrong places. You’ll understand the critical importance of focusing your efforts on the right prospects. Most importantly, you’ll see how your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software can make the entire lead qualification process a lot easier.

Keep reading to start converting more of your hard-earned leads into closed deals.

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What is a Lead?

A lead is someone who has shown interest in your product or service, such as by visiting your website or subscribing to your newsletter. They might become customers, or not.

On the other hand a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is a lead who has engaged further with your company, like downloading content or requesting product information. They’re interested, but still undecided about making a purchase. According to Gather only 44% of MQLs pass through sales as a potential good fit.

Finally, a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is a prospective customer who has shown a real need or interest in what you’re offering. They closely match your ideal customer profile.
SQLs are the most promising leads to focus your sales efforts on, as nurturing unqualified leads is often wasted effort. The goal is to turn SQLs into actual sales opportunities.

Benefits of the Lead Qualification Process

Qualifying your leads brings numerous benefits that can improve the performance and efficiency of your sales efforts. Here are some key advantages to do it:

  1. Optimized sales focus. Qualification helps identify the leads most likely to convert based on buyer behaviors, demographics, firmographics, timeframes, and other factors. Sales can then focus efforts on the highest potential opportunities.
  2. Improved sales forecasting. Properly qualifying leads gives much better visibility into your actual sales pipeline. This allows for more accurate revenue, quota, and resource need projections for better planning.
  3. Aligned sales & marketing. Lead qualification is a handoff point between these teams. Well-defined qualification criteria ensure a marketing lead is truly sales-ready for seamless transition.
  4. Better Customer Experience. You can tailor sales interactions and messaging to directly match customer needs, challenges, and buying journeys.
  5. Cost savings. Ultimately, avoiding pursuing bad-fit leads saves costs associated with drawn-out unproductive sales efforts.

What Is a CRM Software?

Customer Relationship Management (or CRM) is a technology that gives businesses an opportunity to make the best use of customer’s data for sales purposes. It works in a few directions:

  • Customer experience. Automates customer replies, signals when to follow up with leads, and customizes messages per customer’s needs.
  • Marketing. CRM can target specific audiences with relevant content to help them decide to buy.
  • Sales. It tracks potential customers and shows their journey to buying.
  • Service. Speeds up customer issue resolution, enables self-service, and automates processes to save time/costs and keep customers happy.
  • Commerce. CRM allows easy ordering/payments and third-party sellers on the company’s marketplace.

Why You Should Use CRM for Your Lead Qualification Process

CRM allows you to reduce manual labor and streamline the entire lead qualification process for maximum efficiency and results. Here are some reasons why you should use one:

  • Having access to a centralized database that stores all lead information means you can easily review lead details, track interactions, and analyze leads during the qualification stage.
  • Most CRMs allow you to implement automatic lead scoring based on the criteria you set. Leads are then prioritized based on their scores, ensuring your sales efforts are focused on the hottest prospects first.
  • CRMs have automated qualification workflows that make it easy to automatically move leads through the qualification stages based on their behaviors and profile fit.
  • CRMs integrate with other sales tools such as email marketing platforms, chat systems, etc. This integration allows you to observe users’ behaviors in real-time across multiple touchpoints.
  • With the analytics and reports provided by a CRM, you can easily identify bottlenecks, optimize processes, and make data-driven decisions to improve ROI.

There are plenty of CRMs available for all types of businesses. Among the most popular are PepeDrive, Salesforce, Monday Sales CRM, Apptivo, HubSpot. The choice of which CRM system to implement depends on factors specific to your business size, needs and sales processes. Evalutating features like lead management capabilities, automation tools, integration options, analytics/reporting, pricing, and ease of use is the most important to selecting the right fit.

How to Qualify Leads?

1. Create ICP

Before you start the lead qualification process, you need to understand who your ideal customer is by creating an ideal customer profile (ICP).

For this you need all possible information and answer questions like: What problems does my product solve? Who would use my product? What is their job or background? What industry do they belong to? What are their demographics (age, gender, education, etc.)? What are their psychographic characteristics (interests, values, lifestyle, etc.)?

You might want to create more than one variant of your ICP and always keep in mind that your ICP is changing with time.You can create your ICP (also called buyer persona) with tools such as Semrush Persona Tool.

2. Define Lead Scoring Criteria

What makes a lead qualified for your business? Answer this question and you’ll have criteria for your qualification process. Define like 6-7 criteria such as budget, geographic location, company size, prospect’s job, social media engagement, website visits, content downloads, etc and then give each one a value designating their importance, and set a threshold score for each stage of your funnel.

3. Research Leads

After setting up your criteria, you need more information about your leads. Your CRM software can help automate this process through so-called ‘lead enrichment’.
It involves collecting, managing, and analyzing data about your leads. The software generates insights based on this data, allowing you to segment leads and accelerate the lead qualification process.

4. Outreach

You need to determine if your leads are likely to become good fit customers and thus worth pursuing. For this you can ask qualification questions – there are hundreds of them. Most circle around subjects like budget, timeline, who is the decision-maker, etc. Here are a few examples:

  • How did you learn about us?
  • What are your top challenges?
  • What results do you want to achieve?
  • What is your role in the decision-making process?
  • Do you currently have a budget for this project?
  • What would be the consequences if you don’t solve these issues?

5. Score Leads

Finally it’s time to score leads. You have to be sure your data is organized well in your CRM. Depending on the software each has tools to streamline lead scoring but generally there are two main types of lead scoring:

  • Predictive lead scoring. The software analyzes sales and marketing data to automatically score leads and predict potential outcomes.
  • Rule-based lead scoring. Rules are set based on specific lead attributes and scoring criteria. When a lead matches those criteria, their score is updated.

6. Review and Adjust

To be effective you have to often review your metrics. Key metrics (KPIs) that indicate a lead is moving through the funnel are:

  • Lead conversion rate. High conversion rate means high-quality leads.
  • MQL to SQL conversion rate. It tracks how many MQL convert to SQLs. This KPI is linked to the ICP – you might adjust the profile if the rate is low.
  • Customer acquisition cost. It shows how effectively your team generates and closes leads. Highest costs means that you might need adjustments to your strategy and approach.

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Wrap Up

Using a CRM for lead qualification is straight-up essential if you want to stay efficient. It will help your sales squad focus on the real hot prospects and seal more deals. Plus, a CRM lets you nurture and engage leads with personalized, relevant communication.

Choosing the right software depends on your business type, size, and budget but in any way will save you time and money, leveling up your business. Who doesn’t want that?