Sales qualification is an integral step for any B2B sales cycle.
Identifying whether a prospect is a good-fit for your range of products or services is a key factor in determining the rest of your sales next-steps.
But the secret lies in conducting this ‘sales qualification’ much earlier on in the sales cycle, so that it can help wean out prospects and accounts earlier on in the typically long B2B sales process thereby saving sales people a lot of time. This can allow salespeople to then refocus efforts on those prospects and accounts that are a good fit, with the right nurture campaigns.
Wasting time on prospects that have minimal to nil chances of converting is a strain on business resources.
Sales qualification allows sales teams to prioritize their efforts and earlier qualification can allow businesses as a whole to limit CAC rates as well.
Here are a few top reasons for Sales teams to spend more time qualifying prospects within the first few stages of their B2B sales process:
Improves conversion and close rates
It’s a tight market to sell in today, with different types of economic variations impacting outlook and ROI across industries.
At the end of any fiscal or quarter, seasoned sales leaders will spend time breaking down sales reports to further evaluate what can improve conversion rates and close rates.
In far too many cases, sales people end up spending time taking prospects to the mid to end stages of a typical sales cycle only to have them grow cold eventually because they were either not the right fit, did not have the budget or found another vendor/product to partner with.
Qualifying prospects and accounts based on their ability to be a good fit for the brand and also based on their actual interest can enable better close rates and conversions because it allows salespeople to know who to nurture and why and withdraw efforts for the others.
This in turn enables a business at the larger level to have stronger reports and ratios in place at the time of measurement and reduces waste in resources including time and effort.
Enhances the personalization game
Personalization is key to driving a better marketing and sales experience today. But you need to focus on a subset of your database to drive better personalization efforts.
Using your data and ability to decode customer behaviors and intent based on it to create a sales qualifying process much earlier in the sales cycle allows sales teams to withdraw efforts from those that might not be a good fit for the brand within the first few stages of the conversation cycle.
When this is done at the discovery call stage or the next follow up call, it gives sales people the ability to then close the chapter on the prospects that won’t go ahead to make a purchase. Deeper focus on the remaining subset of prospects with enhanced personalization can then in turn give sales people a chance to improve their conversations and get the ones who are a good fit for the brand to make a purchase decision a lot faster.
Remember, B2B buyers are 34% more likely to buy from brands that offer better personalization (source).
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Boosts customer retention
The Pareto Principle is an important reference for most business leaders, it specifies that 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes, when used as a sales or business reference, it simply means, 80% of your business will ideally come from 20% of your top customers – but this can only happen if a business relies on strong customer retention practices.
In a market as dynamic as today’s B2B tech market, competing tech brands are always on the lookout to drive churn for other brands.
With a stronger sales qualification process that bleeds into the prospecting cadence and cycle, sales teams and customer facing teams in support, after-sales and even marketing can have the right data in place to create more impactful customer retention policies for once these ‘’qualified’’ prospects are converted. Using methods to nurture these good fit prospects earlier on in the cycle gives them the dough they need to even build better omnichannel experiences down the line with the aim of enabling sales to convert them and then using deeper tactics to retain them as a happy customer for the long term.
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Sales qualification is a crucial step in the B2B sales process, but we can’t reiterate enough the importance of this happening a lot earlier on in the sales cycle. Determining whether a prospect is a good fit for a product or service can eventually trigger a lot of good practices and connected experiences down the line for the prospect. A good sales qualification process would typically involve comparing a prospect against your ideal customer profile (ICP) — but also weighing in other factors like budget, interest, whether your product can solve an immediate or near-future challenge and more.