Customer acquisition, or in other words, lead generation is the most important condition for filling your sales funnel and the success of any business. Let’s take a closer look at what lead generation is.
Lead generation is the art of building a base of clients who are potentially interested in your company's services, or who are in the market segment you need, using marketing activities aimed at interacting with your target audience.
There are 3 types of leads:
- Research Qualified Lead (“cold” lead) – a private person, or a company suitable for your target audience, or an ICP, whose contacts you have, but the need for a purchase has not yet been formed, or is absent.
- Marketing Qualified Lead (“warm” lead) – knows something about you, he has an intention to buy, there is an understanding of his needs, chooses among possible suppliers.
- Sales Qualified Lead (“hot” lead) -ready to buy already, you are in its conditional “short list”, discussing the terms of cooperation, discounts.
How to qualify leads?
In order to qualitatively qualify leads, several special scoring frameworks were invented, allowing you to clearly determine at what stage the lead is.
The most popular of these is the BANT framework. BANT stands for:
- BUDGET – whether the potential client has the necessary budget to complete the transaction.
- AUTHORITY – whether the person communicating with you has enough authority to make a decision on signing the contract.
- NEED – whether the client has a formed need and whether your company can ensure its satisfaction with your services or goods.
- TIMING – Whether the time it takes for the client to implement his project matches your capabilities.
And so at the initial stage, when we do not know the answer to any criterion from BANT and the lead did not respond to our attempts to contact him directly, either through marketing communication channels – it is considered “cold”, or Research Qualified Lead.
If the leader answered us something, then we can try to qualify it using the proposed BANT framework. If, during communication, or additional study of his profile, we can qualify compliance with at least 2 (or better 3) criteria, then we can consider such a lead as Marketing Qualified Lead (“warm lead”)
We recommend that you be sure to validate customers for NEED and AUTHORITY, which will allow you to avoid “weeding out” the lead at further stages of our sales funnel.
“Hot” or Sales Qualified Lead, we call a lead that meets all 4 criteria for BANT classification. As a rule, this happens after you have had a call or a long email-correspondence with a client.
How to display lead statuses in a CRM system.
We recommend using the following lead statuses in your CRM system:
- Contact us – we enter all Research Qualified Leads here, namely, leads who responded to our cold outreach messages, filled out a form on the site, or contacted us in any other way. It is best to automate this process using the internal automation of your CRM, or third-party services such as Zapier or Integromat.
- MQL (Marketing Qualified Leads). We can transfer leads that have passed at least 2 points according to the BANT classification (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline), which we wrote about above.
- Call – Usually we need this item to qualify a lead, and, in general, it helps to establish communication with a potential client and quickly find out if we are transferring a lead to the next status.
- SQL (Sales Qualified Lead) – a call was made, or you communicated with the lead in the correspondence and, accordingly, you can confirm compliance with the BANT criteria.
- Negotiation – everything is clear here, we qualified the lead and started discussing the details of the future deal.
- Closed Deal is the favorite item for all salespeople. Ideally, leads who have entered into a deal with us should go into the parallel ‘pipeline’ ’of your Account Manager, who is responsible for maintaining a good relationship with your client and who is responsible for additional sales, or the so-called“ up sell ”.
- Contact in the future – very often potential leads will ask you to contact them after a while. In addition, we recommend that you put a reminder for this lead in your CRM, create a separate pipeline for such leads and keep them separate, always being in their sight: sending from time to time an email with information about the company, or a new article on your blog. Remaining in such a way in front of your client, you guarantee that when the time agreed for subsequent contact comes, he will not only not forget about you, but also, thanks to your mailings, will have information about your company.
You can read our article on the main lead generation channels on our blog: