Have you ever seen a cheetah chase a gazelle?
It’s both one of the most beautiful and the most frightening interactions between two creatures you’ll ever see.
And everything between the two creatures dictates what happens to the other - a rock in an inconvenient location, a river they’ll have to cross, a crag they’ll have to muscle.
Either the gazelle gets away to live another day, or the cheetah comes home with a meal.
It’s a chase - and that’s exactly how I think of lead qualification.
You want to know if a lead is qualified well before you even pick up the phone to call them. Every data point helps your revenue team - sales, marketing, and customer success - determine if this company fits your ICP and BANT.
It’s not a race - the revenue team isn’t competing to figure it out first - but a chase. The entire revenue team is working to determine if this is a good fit.
And typically, it’s done 100% manually, and that can be a huge problem for companies trying to reach the next growth tier.
The Daily Qualification Grind
A hot new lead hits your inbox. Immediately after the lead arrives, you open it up in your CRM, find the website, and then open up the website in another browser tab.
This is, of course, assuming you’re given a lead with website information. After loading the website, you’ll probably open up some tool that can provide you technology information. You’ll copy/paste all of the technologies that matter to you, and then copy/paste that data into CRM.
Then you’ll move over to a different tool that provides firmographics and proceed to gather the number of employees, revenue, location, and other information you need to make good decisions about the lead.
And this is just for the company. You’ll eventually pop open LinkedIn to learn more about the lead themselves and do the same exact thing in your CRM.
Next thing you know, 15 - 30 minutes have gone by, and that was just on one lead.
Now think about doing this process 100 times and, just like that, a whole day is gone.
As a marketer, I recognize that some things need to be as automated as possible for my sales team to make the best decisions when acting on MQLs and leads.
This is definitely one of those things.
Getting out of the Daily Qualification Grind
Instead of sending out your entire team on the manual lead qualification chase, there’s actually an easier way.
Some options include:
Add more form fields
Adjust any automation or qualification rules to look at less-important factors
Wait until the lead provides more information through progressive profiling
Automate the entire lead qualification process
I suggest automating the entire lead-qualification process and making it operate in real-time.
Make the chase infinitely easier and faster.
The New Standard for Lead Response Rates
It’s no secret that the SaaS companies that have the fastest lead response times are the ones that win.
And guess what - the time frame is now within 5 minutes. According to LeadQual, “calling a lead more than 5 minutes after a lead is submitted has a 46% lower qualification rate than calling in less than 5 minutes.” Furthermore, Michael Pendreigh, writing for Business2Community, says ”if a lead is called within five minutes versus 30 minutes after it’s submitted, that lead is 100 times more likely to be contacted and 21 times more likely to enter the sales cycle.”
Bottom line, your revenue team needs to be able to respond to leads, grade, and score, and then properly qualify or disqualify them all within 30 minutes.
The way high-growth companies are currently doing this is through using tools like Datanyze to provide the right firmographics and technographics about the prospect’s account, and Hull to trigger the proper workflows, notifications, and even automated messaging.
It is no longer enough to just qualify fast but to react quickly, too. And, as illustrated above, it’s very hard to do that manually.
The 4 Main Triggers of Lead Qualification
There are literally a billion ways you can improve your lead qualification process:
You can qualify by using one, or a combination, of the following data points:
Ultimately, it comes down to what would move the needle for you and your teams. What information can help reps draw the best conclusions, and what roadblocks need to be removed to automate the reaction time?
Real-World Example: How Lengow Automated Their Lead Qualification Process and Improved Drop-Off Rates
Now you may be thinking, “Okay, great, but how?”
Time for a quick story.
Lengow is a B2B SaaS company that offers a platform for eCommerce companies to manage their products across multiple different channels.
Like many B2B SaaS businesses, Lengow has a product demo as part of its marketing and sales funnel. Additionally, like many B2B SaaS businesses, Lengow also found their sales team wasn’t using their time optimally, giving demos to unqualified leads and not being quick to follow up with their ideal leads either.
Lengow found a 50% drop in response rate from 2 hours after someone requested a demo. They needed to figure out whether a lead was a good fit, and take action quickly.
By analyzing their lead qualification process, they discovered that technographic and firmographic information was paramount to closing deals.
Without this information, they found it was impossible to predict how much value they’dl be able to provide to the lead, and therefore became harder for Sales to close the account.
Now, the first step for Lengow is to enrich the new lead with information from Datanyze - data that is extremely time-consuming, and often impossible, to gather manually.
Using Hull, Lengow sends the lead to Datanyze, which enriches the lead with technographic and firmographic information, and then all data points - including behavioral and event tracking - roll up to the lead’s master customer profile. From there, Hull can send the newly enriched lead virtually anywhere, but for the sake of sales, the lead is synced to the CRM with all of the pertinent information.
If the lead matches a certain set of qualification criterion, Hull can also automate the exact response on behalf of Sales.
In Lengow’s case, that’s exactly what they did.
To drastically improve the lead response rate, Lengow used Hull to send Slack notifications when a new qualified lead requested a demo.
Both marketing and sales would receive a new notification in a channel and instantly see a profile summary of that lead, including links to their full profile and activity. This made sure that both sales and marketing had full visibility over the same unified set of data.
According to Remi Sablong, User Acquisition Manager at Lengow, “The most unexpected benefit was how it improved the relationship between marketing and sales. It is quite amazing. Before they weren’t keen on our leads. Now they say ‘I want this lead now. Give me this lead!’"
So in summation, get out of manual gear and go fully automatic.
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