How to Filter Quality Prospects from the Crowd
Leads, suspects, prospects, qualified and unqualified—the terms used to describe potential customers in the sales process are quite varied, and it can get pretty confusing!
One thing that’s clear, though, is hitting your sales goals depends on filtering quality prospects from the crowd. Not only is it a waste of time and effort to pursue a lead that likely won’t convert, it’s harmful to your sales numbers and emotionally defeating, too.
What’s better? Filtering a big list of leads down to some truly honed-in prospects, and perusing them based on thoughtful research.
Not all leads are created equal, though, so doing the legwork to differentiate between a good lead and a bad one is a necessary part of successful sales. That legwork is something we’re pretty familiar with! And it’s far better to spend time upfront sorting through a list to get a better outcome than wasting time on unqualified leads.
When you have a huge batch of prospects to sort through, trying to narrow the pool can feel overwhelming. To help you with that process, and improve your sales numbers, here are some tips for sorting the good from the bad.
First, identify your ideal customer profile.
It’s hard to know a qualified lead from an unqualified one if you don’t know what your ideal customer actually looks like. Take the time to create a profile of your ideal customer; it’ll take some time, but the results are well worth it. Your profile should have information such as industry, revenue, company size, company location, company structure, growth prospects, and the like.
Next, use the profile you created in step 1 to create a list of suspects.
Suspects are the prospective customers that fit your ideal customer profile relatively well. They may have some characteristics that fall outside the ideal profile, but by and large, they should possess the vast majority of the key traits you identified in step 1.
At this point you can – and should – reach out to your “suspects.”
In doing so, you should check to make sure that your profile matches reality. Do they actually fit the ideal customer picture you created in step 1? Make note of what hits the nail on the head and what’s not quite perfect. Some missing pieces may be surmountable, while others may mean they are no longer a good “suspect” to be pursuing.
Finally, turn your suspects into qualified leads by using a process such as BANT, which stands for Budget, Authority, Need and Timing.
Ask questions and do research to clarify your prospective customer’s stance in each of these areas. If you’re talking to the right person, and they have a need and the budget for your product, and the timing is right, well – now you have a qualified lead!
Putting in the time and effort on the front end to turn a big, unwieldy list of prospects into a targeted, researched, and specific list of good prospects not only saves a lot of time and effort, it also yields much better sales results.