Don’t waste your time on a prospect that will never pan out
Sales is all about relationships. So why waste time cultivating a relationship with a prospect that will never become a customer? That’s why qualifying your leads is so important.
Lead qualification is the act of determining if a prospect is worth the time and money it will take to convert them in to a customer. When you work a qualified lead, rather than an unqualified lead, you will have a much better chance of achieving a positive return on investment.
There are a number of methodologies you can use to qualify your sales leads, but here are two that have proven successful for countless sales professionals:
BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing)
Developed by IBM, the BANT method revolutionized the sales industry. In short, BANT guides you through the questions you need to answer in order to determine if the lead has the capacity and need for your product or solution.
Budget – Does the prospect have the money to buy?
Authority – Does the prospect have the buying power at his or her organization to make the purchase?
Need – Is the prospect experiencing a problem your product/service can solve?
Timing – When is the prospect planning to buy?
GPCTBA/C&I (Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline, Budget, Authority/Consequences and Implications)
This method, developed by inbound marketing company HubSpot, expands on the BANT method to include additional qualifiers for your leads.
First, determine if your prospect has measurable goals for which they are responsible. If they don’t have goals that are measurable, there is an opportunity for you to help them quantify their goals. You should also ask about company goals and priorities.
Next, ask them how they will achieve their goals. Will their plan work? If not, could your product/solution help them achieve their goals quicker/easier/with less money? Make them see how you can help them reach their objective quickly and with a better ROI.
What is preventing your prospect from achieving their goals? You need to determine the challenges your prospect is facing so you can offer solutions to help them overcome these challenges.
What deadlines is your prospect facing? If your prospect has no discernible timeframe to accomplish their goals, it may not be worth your time. You need to figure out if the need for your product or solution is urgent, or if the prospect will drag their feet.
Determine if your prospect has the budget to solve their challenges and reach their goals with your solution.
Determine if your prospect has buying authority at his or her organization.
Consequences & Implications
In order to move the prospect through the sales funnel quickly, work to establish a sense of urgency. Help them see the negative consequences of not achieving their goals and position your product as a way to solve their challenges.