September 28th, 2015

It is clear that the increase in new technology is constantly evolving the business world we work in. We’ve experienced this first hand over the last five years in our own uptake of cloud based tools, helping us to tackle even the simplest of tasks. Although this evolution is constant, there are skills that will always be critical to a successful business, sales being one of these. In this series of blog posts I wanted to share my own sales process that I have found works across multiple sectors, products, services and organisations.

Qualifying leads




This is something that you can’t just rush into, you need to take a step back and plan your actions. Naturally every business’ “qualification criteria” will be different, in order to determine yours it will help to ask yourself these three questions:

> Does your lead have a need for your product/service?

> Are they currently using a competitor’s product/service?

> Are they aware that they have a problem in which you can solve?

If the answer is yes to any of these, then it is worth progressing your research to establish the next level of qualification. As part of the qualification process, it is vital that you identify what service(s) your lead is in need of.



Further Qualifying


If your lead passes the initial qualification questions, they now warrant further in-depth research. Consider:

> Sector – Analyse the sector that they are currently in and ask yourself “Do you have any relevant case studies that can be used?”. Case studies are an invaluable resource to closing a deal.

> Key decision makers – Utilise methods such as Linkedin, their website, your personal network and even asking at reception, to gather information about them.

> Location – Taking into account the advances in technology, consider whether your lead has the technological capabilities to work and communicate remotely. If they can’t you will have to consider whether the margins are worth the travel time. Introducing them to software such as Skype and WebEx can aid you in the future.

> Turnover/company size – Knowing the size of the company will provide a better outlook on whether they can afford your product/service and support your sales targets.

All data that you collect should be compiled into your CRM, if you don’t have a CRM get one! As stated above it is crucial to find out who key decision makers are, as well as how easy it is to get in contact with them. When it comes to pitching your product/ service, you want to make sure that you are talking to the correct person. As to not waste anyone’s time, your contact should have the purchasing power or, in a less ideal scenario, have the seniority and influence to get you in front of a decision-maker.

In order to keep track of how strong a lead is you can implement a scoring system on each of these factors. This way you can rank each lead against each other. Depending on your business there there will be some factors that are more important to you. For instance, if you are a telecommunications company, you’ll take note of whether a larger company has free phone numbers on their website, or perhaps give an initial call to see whether they have an automated system putting you through to relevant departments.  

Ultimately the best type of lead is those that have shown interest in your business and got in contact with you. There are many ways in which you can encourage the increase of hot leads, for instance e-shots, social media and SEO. In the next part of this series we will look at the warming up these leads by how you can go about preparing for the initial contact.