If you work in sales or marketing, you probably already understand the value of sales qualification, even if you're not aware of it yet. Sales qualification is key to getting the most value from your prospecting efforts. It gives you useful information that can help you decide which leads to prioritize, which to give a little more thought to, and which to put on the back burner.

In this article, we'll explore sales qualification, illustrate how it delivers value for sales teams, and demonstrate how to leverage it to ensure you fill your pipeline with the most valuable prospects. 

What is sales qualification?

Sales qualification evaluates potential customers to determine their interest in your product or service. By understanding more about a sales prospect—such as what they're interested in, the types of products and services they've invested in previously, and even how much budget they have to work with—sales teams can then make data-based decisions about where to focus their sales prospecting efforts rather than operating solely on instinct. 

Through rigorous sales qualifications, you can determine the following:

  • If a prospect is a good fit for your offer,

  • What stage of the funnel is the prospect at?

  • What value proposition could interest your prospect? 

Sales qualification is an essential step in the prospecting journey because it makes the sales process more efficient, i.e., it helps sales teams close more deals by weeding out those prospects that are unlikely to convert. This improves ROI, drives down the cost of winning sales, and ultimately leads to increased revenue. 

How do you create a checklist to qualify prospects?

One of the most effective ways to streamline qualification for many sales prospects is to create a checklist, which you can use for every sales prospect you wish to qualify. 

For a sales qualification checklist to be effective, however, it must be designed to gather precisely the information needed to determine whether or not a lead is worth pursuing. Once completed, a good lead qualification checklist will make it easy for sales representatives to identify prospects worth their time.

Some important questions to ask in your sales qualification checklist are:

Does the prospect need your product?

It may seem obvious that any prospect should be able to use the product you're selling. Still, many businesses overlook this critical factor and try to pitch to anyone. (It would be silly to try to sell cat food to a dog-grooming business, for example, but an overzealous sales rep somewhere surely has tried.)

The key is to do your research. A well-designed checklist will force the user to dig deep into a lead to answer the question, "Does [prospect] really need what I'm selling?"

Can the prospect afford your product?

Talking about money may seem crass. But the reality is that there's no point in spending time on prospects who cannot afford to buy what you're selling. 

A sure way to determine a lead's budgetary constraints is by including questions in your checklist asking what solution the prospect is currently using (if any) and if they find it reasonably priced. 

Suppose you discover a sales prospect uses a competitor's product and know it's priced similarly to yours. In that case, you have a strong indicator that what you are selling is within your prospect's budget. (Not only that: you can then use competitive insights to position your offer against your competitor.)

Is it the right time for the prospect to buy?

This is a tricky question to navigate. But in the sales world, timing is everything. Your checklist must include qualifying questions that help determine a prospect's position in the budgetary cycle and the sales funnel. 

Asking simple exploratory questions will help you gain the understanding you need to qualify (or disqualify) a potential customer. 

For example:

  • Are they actively searching for a vendor? Or simply doing initial research?

  • Is there a pain point they are currently trying to address? 

  • Will they have the budget to purchase in the coming weeks/months, or years?

Qualifiers like these are incredibly helpful for determining if a sales rep should keep in close contact with a lead or take a step back and get back in touch when the prospect is ready to buy.

Book a demo of Wrk today to get the most out of your sales prospecting efforts.