Lead qualification: is it a science? An art? Arguably, it could be considered both. Depending on the qualities your company looks for in a lead, your scoring (indicative of a prospects’ activity level) and grading (how good of a fit they are for your company) systems should be tailored to fit your specific needs.

While it’s possible to have an almost entirely automated process for lead review, incorporating the human element is still an important — and often underestimated — part of the qualification process. Sure, scoring and grading do an excellent job of telling you what your prospects are interested in, what activities they’ve been engaging in, and how good of a fit they are for your company. But what happens if you pass a lead on to sales with a high score and a high grade, and it turns out the company is looking for a partnership instead of your product? Or perhaps they don’t have a website capable of supporting your product?

That’s where the human element comes in. By fully understanding your product and ideal customer, you’ll be able to make additional inferences so that only the best leads get passed on to sales. Here’s a quick, 60-second process that we recommend going through prior to qualifying a lead:

  1. First, know your buyer profile. While grading can help here, there’s some data that you should be aware of that can help determine whether or not a lead is a good fit: Are they B2B or B2C? A small business or enterprise? What’s their annual revenue look like? What about the length of their sales cycle? Are they a CEO? A director?
  2. Look at their activity. What are they doing on your site? Are they looking at white papers and webinars, or are they browsing buyers guides and pricing information? The answer to this question demonstrates the difference between interest and intent. If they’re just poking around on your site, they’re showing interest. But if they’re showing more initiative, like signing up for product demonstrations and viewing pricing information, that indicates intent. These are going to be your hotter leads.
  3. Next, check out all of the information that goes into their grade, like their job title and industry. A few words of wisdom from Sean Essex, director of marketing for The TRACOM Group and speaker at our recent Elevate conference: regardless of how much interest a prospect has shown, you still want to make sure that you’re selling to the right person.
  4. Hop on over to their website. What kind of product or service do they offer? Does their website have the features you need to fit your service onto their site (forms, landing pages, shopping cart, etc.)? Your prospect’s website is ultimately the best way to tell how good of a fit they’re going to be for your product or service.
  5. Use your CRM to make sure that no one on your sales team is already working with another lead from that company. If they are, you’ll want to make sure that you assign the prospect to that same sales rep.

Using a process like the one above in addition to the scoring and grading rules you may already have in place will help ensure that you’re passing along only the most qualified leads to your sales team. What are your thoughts on incorporating the human element when qualifying leads?

Jenna Hanington

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