How to qualify the best possible sales leads

With a population of almost 450 million, 27 member countries, and 24 different languages spoken, Europe presents excellent opportunities and challenges for North American companies that want to expand to Europe. In the previous blog posts, you might have come across different topics that can help you champion the European markets. This blog will describe how essential it is to understand the strategy behind meeting with highly qualified leads.
 

Today, we talk to Erdinc Celebi, Business Development Manager at EuroDev. Erdinc emphasizes the importance of qualification. He starts the conversation with a boost: “Qualification is always important. A highly qualified lead is more likely to convert into a good deal. Poor leads can be viewed as an unnecessary expense!.”

Five steps to identify a qualified lead

1. Create a customer profile and customr journey map
Erdinc states that the first step to qualifying good leads is designing a customer profile. This step requires your team to answer the following questions:

  • How big is the company?
  • Where should the ideal customer/prospect be located?
  • What kind of products do they use?
  • How do they purchase those products?
  • Where do they buy those products? 

If the sales team identifies who their ideal customer is, it will be relatively easy for them to narrow down their search for leads.

2. What are the needs of your customers?
List the needs your ideal customer would have and answer questions on how you will fulfill those needs. What is the impact of the product on the company and end-users? Knowing the needs of your prospects helps you understand the relationship it has to your value proposition.

3. Who are the decision makers?
At this stage, you have qualified a list of companies that you think will be interested in your product. You will have to understand how all these companies make decisions. How many people are involved in the decision making process?

4. Who are your competitors in the market?
You need to know whom you are competing against and who you are being compared to (players in the industry). If you can find a list of all past and present vendors, it will be easy to know the criteria your prospects might be looking for and enables you to position yourself strategically.

5. Approaching the leads/prospects
After answering all the above questions and going through all the steps, you will know if you have a quality lead or not. The last step would be to approach the leads. Based on your customer profile, you will know how the specific lead wants to be contacted. It might be via email, phone, LinkedIn, or a personal visit. There is no one-format solution. Erdinc states: “I prefer calling before sending out emails. I get faster responses compared to emails. In case I can’t get in touch with the decision maker on the phone, I connect with them through email or LinkedIn before setting up an in-person meeting or an introduction call. This of course depends on the type of company we work with." 

What are the consequences of a rushed lead qualification?

  1. Waste of time and money
    Whenever you rush into the qualification process, you will have an inadequate database. Hence, you will waste time trying to sell, following up, and creating tasks on prospects that are not a fit for the product you are trying to sell.
  2. Loss of opportunities
    Qualification requires a considerable amount of time. Salespeople who do not qualify very well miss out on identifying the best prospects. Prospects become customers if you invest enough time and effort into them.
  3. Closing bad deals
    Sometimes, you might be successful in selling to prospects who are not a fit for your product. Selling to the wrong customer is 'negative press' for both you and your company.
  4. Poor sales tactics
    If you have poor leads, you will most likely not know how to sell to them. How will you understand their pain points? What value are you offering them? If you cannot answer these questions, it will be hard to customize your sales pitch.
  5. Hard/impossible to close deals
    It is always better to have 10 qualified leads that can present five opportunities, than having 1000 poor leads that are not good for your product.

If you want your sales team to prevent some of these hurdles, they should learn how to move from qualification to meeting with high-end prospects.

Meet EuroDev, your European Business Expansion Partner

EuroDev, established in 1996 with offices in The Netherlands and France, has a single, defined purpose to help mid-sized North American companies expand their business in Europe. We have created a proven, successful business development model and since our founding, have partnered with over 300 companies to help them define and meet their European business goals. Services provided include Sales Outsourcing, HR Outsourcing, and Digital Marketing.

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