The Best Way to Qualify a Lead

What is the best way to determine the current value of a lead?

Well, you can review the information that they have elected to download over a period of time and determine whether or not they are moving in a pattern that has been predetermined to indicate growing interest.

You could check into how many relevant social discussions they are involved with or “thought leaders” they are following.

You could email an invitation to take an online survey.

You can place a contact into a lead nurture program for a set period of time, moving them along their own little personal information highway and pronounce them ready when they reach the other side.

Or you could always talk to them.  To my mind, that is the simplest, most logical solution, but it doesn’t seem to be a very popular one these days.  I’m thinking that’s because most of the information on the subject is coming from marketers and not sales people. And that isn’t a shot at marketers. It’s just that most marketing departments do not deal with individuals. They deal with large audiences and groups of prospects or customers where one-on-one talking isn’t the communications tool it is for sales people.   Marketers use sophisticated techniques to evaluate the state of the market.  Sales people just pick up the phone and ask.

But now it appears that sales people don’t do any of their own prospecting anymore and aren’t expected to manage any lead that isn’t ready to buy….. Don’t you believe that for a second.

It might be true for the larger organizations, with massive marketing teams, state of the art marketing software and a sales system that has been fine tuned to the extent that it can dance with the angels on the head of a pin.  But it isn’t the case for the average company.  It might be the case for some software and tech service buyers, but it isn’t like that for a lot of health-care, education, financial services, distribution and manufacturing buyers and it isn’t like that for the companies that sell to them.

So I expect that for most companies, when it comes to collecting the insight to be able to score or qualify a lead, nothing beats the speed, ease and straightforward simplicity of a quick phone call.  There is a catch though.  Quick phone calls don’t often result in a connected conversation and if your sales or marketing resources are already stretched, suggesting they “pick up the phone and ask a few simple questions” might just be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Maybe you should get someone to do it for you?

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