How to Fix Prospect Qualification Mistakes That Are Hurting Sales

Are you struggling to capture quality leads? Or are you making prospect qualification mistakes that are hurting your sales? We've helped many companies in this area and would like to share what we've learned!

B2B marketers were asked in a recent Capterra survey what their biggest challenges were. Near the top of the list (and second only to SEO) was lead generation. But whatever strategies they used to generate leads, from social media to blogging to trade shows, their real concern wasn’t leads—it was quality leads. More than 6 in 10 pointed to quality lead generation as an overriding concern. 

At the same time, however, more than 60% confessed in another survey (this one from Marketing Sherpa), that they had no comprehensive strategy to qualify or nurture their leads. 

Ouch.

One problem is that marketers don’t always agree about what a quality lead is. In general, they agree that quality leads are those which are most likely to buy their products and services, but that’s where it gets muddy. Not knowing how to qualify leads can result in costly mistakes and hurt your sales.

Here are common prospect qualification mistakes you should avoid:

Making assumptions about job title

If you use LinkedIn to generate leads, you probably filter group members based on criteria like job title to focus on C-suite executives with the authority to make sales decisions. But assuming that a specific job title accurately defines a group member’s authority, interest and responsibilities can be a mistake. For one thing, what a CFO or CEO does varies in different companies. Also, the person in a business who makes certain decisions isn’t always who you think it is. 

As an example, if your company offers a landscaping or snow plowing services, the decision maker could be the CEO or president, but it could also be an operations director who functions more or less autonomously or even the administrative assistant. To be safe, keep your options open with regard to job titles, and don’t over qualify early leads based on this one factor.

Thinking you understand company needs too soon

If you sell outbound marketing solutions or software solutions, you might assume that your best leads will come from companies with declining profits because they’re the ones who will be looking for new strategies and tools for improvement. But it could just as easily be the case that these companies are too cash strapped to purchase your services. 

By the same token, it’s often the case that the companies experiencing record profits are the ones which continually monitor results, streamline their activities and adjust their new business development strategies accordingly. In the early stages of lead qualification, it’s best to assume that a wide spectrum of businesses might want your services.

Overcomplicating the qualification process

One of the mistakes marketers make with CRM tools is including so many data fields that it becomes difficult or impossible to communicate effectively with prospects. The same is true with lead qualification. No marketing strategy comes with a guarantee, and obsessing over the accuracy of qualification by including a mountain of criteria will increase the amount of time it takes to hand those qualified leads to your sales team. The result could be perfectly qualified leads who have already purchased from one of your competitors. You need to balance the accuracy of lead qualification against the need for action.

Accurately qualifying your prospects is essential to the health of your sales pipeline. To learn more about sales strategies to build an effective plan for qualifying your prospects, contact us today.