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Qualify and Route Leads to Your Reps

Learning Objectives:

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe the importance of prioritizing incoming leads.
  • Explain how you can help marketing effectively score leads.
  • Explain how to qualify leads quickly and effectively.

Save Yourself Some Serious Time

Your company has a lot of leads coming in, but you only have so many salespeople, so it’s important that they prioritize their time well. If you have one lead that has already made up their mind to buy, and another who’s not interested but filled out a form just to download an eBook, which one should your reps follow up with? (You don’t need to answer that one.) The reality is that leads come in a broad spectrum—some are hot and just need a rep to close the deal, and some are cold and never close. It’s your job to help your reps figure out which are which. Well, yours and marketing’s.

Yes indeed, this is another chance for you as a sales leader to work with the marketing team to set your reps up for success. And once again, this is something marketing has traditionally done alone. But when sales and marketing work together, it’s a dream team that can deliver amazing leads.

Pick the Best of the Best

We talked in the Direct Your Reps to the Best Leads unit about how Salesforce helps you score your incoming leads. If you didn’t have time to check that one out, it comes down to this: Certain factors are really good at predicting how likely a lead is to close. When you give Salesforce those factors, it tells you which leads are your best—the ones your sales reps want to contact as soon as possible—and which you can weed out right away.

So, which factors are going to be the best predictors? You can use Salesforce Einstein to answer that question for you. Or you can use Pardot, which provides a default scoring system for online activities such as clicks, visits, form submissions, and so on. If you prefer to stick with the features already included in your Sales Cloud license, you can put in some elbow grease, run some reports, and see what’s made a difference in the past at your organization.

Usually, key factors fall into two categories.

Your prospect’s stats (also known as “firmographic data”):

  • Industry
  • Company size (in employees or revenue)
  • Title of your contact (in other words, do they have buying power?)

Your prospect’s actions:

  • Visited your website
  • Attended a webinar
  • Requested a demo

Then, you give points for each of these things. For example, someone who requested a demo of your product can get more points than someone who just visited your website. Someone whose title shows they probably have buying power can get more points than someone who doesn’t. Ideally having both a high grade for the firmographic data (meaning the prospect is a good fit) and a high score for the actions (meaning the prospect is engaged) signals that the lead is ready to be passed to sales.

Simply put, more points = better lead = passed to sales.

Traditionally, marketing has been in charge of deciding which things get more points, and at what point level the lead goes to sales. And for good reason—marketing folks are often masters of data, and they can use that to build a profile of an ideal customer. But this is also a great opportunity for you as a sales leader to weigh in. If you’ve been working directly with customers, in some cases for years, you probably have knowledge that can add to that profile and make it even more powerful. Take this chance to work with the marketing department and build something together, so only the best leads get through.

Can We See Your Qualifications, Please?

Scoring leads help you weed out leads who are obviously not a good fit and won’t convert into opportunities. The promising or “hot” leads can now go to your sales reps. But before your reps devote all their energy to closing a deal—a process that can take hours, weeks, or even months depending on your sales cycle—there’s one additional step worth taking: qualifying leads. By qualifying leads, your sales reps can make sure that someone who looks great on paper is promising in reality. That way, they spend that time and effort only on deals that are likely to close.

Qualifying leads is all about saving your reps time, so the process itself shouldn’t be time-consuming. To help your reps qualify leads quickly and thoroughly, make it a no-brainer by building it into Sales Cloud. What do we mean by that? Consider what your reps need to learn to qualify a lead, and create a place for them to enter it in Sales Cloud.

For example, if you want your reps to confirm that the person they’re talking with actually has budget, create a place in Sales Cloud for them to enter the customer’s budget. If you want reps to check whether the lead has the authority to make the buying decision, create a place for them to enter that. You can even go so far as requiring that reps fill out those fields before they can move an opportunity forward.

When you require your reps to enter lead information:

  • It reminds the rep to gather the information.
  • It gives them a place to track it, so they can refer back to it when they need it.
  • You as the sales manager can see the information when reviewing pipeline.

Congratulations on learning to work with your marketing team to accomplish what you both want: good, solid leads. Now your reps can spend time on leads that are likely to convert, instead of spinning their wheels with leads that are never going to be a good fit. Next, let’s talk about how to manage those great leads once they become opportunities.

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