How To Qualify Sales Meetings - Don’t Waste Your Time With Someone Who’s Not Ready to Buy

  • Nicole Bielanski, CMO

    Nicole Bielanski, CMO

  • September 16, 2021
  • 3 minute read

Spending time talking to unqualified sales prospects can cost your IT business a fortune in wasted time and money. To get the biggest ROI from your marketing and sales efforts, your team needs to focus on pitching to qualified prospects ready to make a purchasing decision. 

Having a qualification process allows your team to gather all the information needed to move the prospect forward in your pipeline, and position your product to meet their needs. 

Why Is Qualifying a Lead Important?

There are two main reasons why having a qualifying process is critical to an effective sales team. First, typically most of your employees are billable, and it’s a waste of time for a subject matter expert to be involved with a sales opportunity and travel with your salesperson to a physical location for a sales meeting. Second, for your sales team to be efficient and have a good closing ratio, they need to focus on the prospects that are motivated and ready to buy now.

IT relies on systems to ensure that each process functions as it should with predictable and measurable results. Qualifying leads is no different. 

One of the best ways to qualify leads is to use a scoring model to gain vital information you need without asking the prospect directly. Your scoring model should gather information based on the lead’s engagement with your brand and any forms they’ve filled out on your landing pages. The more they interact with your marketing content, the higher the score. 

Level 1 Qualifying Criteria

To qualify a prospect to the first level of qualifying, there are a few important baseline factors that must be considered. These include:

  • Location
  • Industry
  • Company Size
  • Prospect Job Title
This information is generally public-facing data that you can research and create a list of prospects by purchasing an email or phone list. Another way to reach this group of prospects is to create a targeted Facebook or LinkedIn ad.

For example, say you’re looking at leads within a 25-mile radius from your office, and your IT company targets central Texas legal accounting and finance. Their company size is 25 - 75 employees, and the contact is a C-level executive or owner. This would qualify the prospect for level one. If your prospect does not meet any of these criteria, they’re not qualified for you to call or set up a meeting.

Level 2 Qualifying criteria

If a potential prospect meets these criteria, you move them to Level 2.

Here, you’ll create targeted social media ads inviting them to interact, email a blog post with a call-to-action, or create a lead magnet with gated content on your website to collect an email address for them to access exclusive content from you.

When a prospect interacts with your lead magnets, it’s time to make the call and discuss their business and its needs.

During this call, you’ll create the foundation for moving the prospect to Level Three. While you have them on a call or engaged in a webinar, your salesperson has the opportunity to ask for additional business information.

For example, they can ask questions like:

  1. Is there an existing IT relationship – either within their own organization or if they outsource their IT services.
  2. What software or hardware they use across their organization – do they use Microsoft 365, Google Suite, etc.
  3. What their internal team structure is like and if an admin or office manager is in charge of technology decisions.

The person you are talking to may not be technical, and therefore, you need to ask more general questions:

  1. Ask if there is one central location or if they have multiple locations.
  2. Ask who the technology decision-maker is.

Once you’ve qualified the prospect through level two and they are still interested, understand how your product or service can meet their needs, it’s time to move them to Level 3.

Level 3 Qualifying criteria 

At Level 3, you begin to nurture this lead by sending them a series of emails educating them on a relevant topic.

This could be an ebook to download with a link to your salesperson’s calendar to set up a time to discuss the topic more in-depth. From here, you can dive deeper into the prospects' pain points and what your company can do to provide services.

Once the prospect agrees to a meeting with the salesperson, they can really dig into what the prospect needs. These questions help determine if your company is a good fit for what they need.

The most important question for your salesperson to ask is what the company goals are for the next year. The customer should provide answers that fit with the services you provide.

Using A Call Script

In order to run this call effectively, it’s a good idea to have a script handy so that your salesperson doesn’t lose track of the significant points about their business, your services, and how they’re designed to help. The script shouldn’t be read verbatim but serve as a guideline for the discussion and guide the conversation into positive affirmations of how your services fulfill the needs of your prospect while still giving them the feeling that they are making a choice and avoiding the hard sell.

Putting It All Together

Sierra Pacific Group provides education to affect strategic change within your business. We are focused on your success. We don’t just give you the tools. We will show you how to use them. We want to help you optimize your business and tools to continue to grow and profit while reducing your workload.

Let us help you build authority and awareness for your technology business and foster trust and credibility with your prospective clients. Our experts will help create predictive models for lead generation, define sales processes, and hone your tactics and messaging to attract your perfect client. Contact us today and see how we can put our knowledge to work for you.

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