How do you know when your opportunities seize being just that (opportunities) and instead become a qualified lead? How does your company define a “qualified lead” in the first place?
Your marketing and sales teams may be at each other’s throats about which lead is qualified and which isn’t, so take a look at how a marketing qualified lead turns into a sales qualified lead.
For a lead to be qualified as a sales opportunity, a lead must have:
- An actual need. Your need must directly address the need. Without this, the lead will simply not be sales-ready. In other words, if there is no need for your solution, your prospect won’t be interested in it.
- Lead has money. Apart from having an actual need, the lead also has to have the capital to purchase your solution. If this is missing, the sales agent is just wasting everyone’s time.
- The lead has the authority to buy. Or, if they don’t have the authority themselves, how about a decision-making capacity? In order for a sales agent to close the deal, he or she must talk with whoever can actually make a purchase decision on the other side.
- The lead plans to buy. Finally, there has to be an actual plan from the lead to buy your solution. Sometimes, the lead can be perfectly aware of a need, but doesn’t see it as a good enough reason to buy a solution from you, or he doesn’t see it as a good fit.
Similarly, many companies use a BANT system to qualify leads. BANT is an acronym that stands for:
- Budget – no budget to purchase, no sales
- Authority – if the lead doesn’t have the power and authority to make the purchase decision, find who does
- Need – again, there must be a need that your solution fulfills
- Timeline – sometimes, the lead will wait for a more opportune time to buy your solution.
When and how can the Sales Development Rep Pass an Opportunity to an Account Exec?
At some point, the Sales Development Rep (SDR) will have to pass the opportunity over to the Account Executive (AE). When is the best time to do this and, maybe more importantly, how?
In making this decision, the SDR should answer these three questions:
1. Is the company a fit for our ICP (ideal customer profile)?
2. Is the person we’re talking to a decision-maker or does he/she has the power to buy?
3. Has the AE made the next step (discover or scoping call, for example)?
The best way to pass an opportunity from a SDR to an AE is to hot-transfer the lead to the salesperson. If that is not possible for whatever reason, scheduling the time for a discovery call is also an option, but make sure that it fits both the lead and the AE. Finally, you can also introduce the lead to the sales rep via email, by CC’ing both of them. However, use this only as a last resort.