In today’s business landscape, the term “qualified sales leads” is ubiquitous. However, what’s often presented as such can be misleading – often being a mere mailing list rather than an actual sales lead. This prompts an essential question: How do you navigate these claims and make informed choices to tackle your revenue challenges?
Unpacking the Concept of “Qualified Sales Leads”
Firstly, let’s clarify the meaning of a “qualified sales lead.” According to Charles Futrell’s “The Fundamentals of Selling,” the process begins with prospecting, the initial stage of the sales journey. A prospect is a genuinely eligible individual or business that holds the potential to become a customer. It’s important to distinguish between a “prospect” and a “lead.” A lead is the name of a person or business that could potentially become a prospect, signaling a certain level of interest. When this lead is carefully evaluated and meets specific criteria, it transitions into a qualified prospect.
In essence, a “lead” is a potential candidate, whereas a “qualified lead” is someone with a higher probability of becoming a paying customer. This distinction holds significant weight and influences your sales success. (Notably, at JV/M, we exclusively provide “qualified leads.”)
The Criteria of Qualification
Charles Futrell poses seven key questions to determine if an individual or business qualifies as a prospect, forming the foundation of the prospect qualification process – a critical aspect of lead generation. These questions parallel those we employ when interacting with potential prospects via phone.
- Does this individual or business require my products or services?
- Does this individual or business acknowledge a need or challenge that my product or service can address?
- Does the individual or business genuinely desire to overcome this need or challenge?
- Can this individual’s desire be translated into recognizing the necessity of my product?
- Does this individual or business possess the financial capacity to make a purchase?
- Does this individual have the authority to make purchasing decisions?
- Is the potential prospect’s intended purchase substantial enough to be profitable?
Varieties of “Leads” You Encounter
- “Get over 14 Million Sales Leads!”: Often from primary vendors like D+B and infoUSA, these lists contain company names but aren’t qualified sales leads. Conversion rates for these leads into prospects are generally below 1%.
- “Construction Sales Leads! New Businesses Sales Leads!”: Advertisements in business journals provide leads that are arguably “sales leads.” Converting them into prospects requires substantial effort and may yield conversion rates of 1-2%.
- “Technology Sales Leads! Insurance Sales Leads!”: Leads from companies surveying specific industries are slightly more qualified, but intense competition among vendors reduces your chances of profitable deals.
- “Mailing Lists/Sales Leads! Email Addresses/Sales Leads!”: Listings sold as “sales leads” or corporate email addresses are essentially unqualified leads, and email addresses may lead to spamming, damaging your reputation.
- “Magazine Leads!”: Ad space promotions offering “qualified sales leads” may contain sales-worthy leads, but many responders aren’t prospects, necessitating further engagement.
In summary, a “qualified sales lead” signifies a genuinely qualified opportunity – a decision-maker with an actual need, authority, and willingness to engage with your product or service. Partnering with a provider like JV/M ensures access to leads that fulfill these qualifications. So, when is a “sales lead” not “qualified”? When it’s not sourced from LeadGen.com LLC!