Best Practices for B2B Lead Qualification

With any luck your lead generation efforts are paying dividends and you have a steady stream of leads who you’ve either determined are good fits for your offering or have explicitly shown interest in it. 

Why Qualify Your Leads?

Not every lead is worth pursuing and some leads are more favorable than others. Qualifying your pool of leads narrows your focus to those that meet the behaviors that would suggest they are purchase-ready. Implementing a lead qualification process in your lead generation campaign streamlines your marketing initiatives as well as reserves resources for leads that are most likely to purchase your product or service. 

For example, a business may be looking to find a new janitorial service for their offices, but are still in contract with a previous vendor. If your company offers these services, this business could easily fall into your pool of leads. 

However, this customer is bound by their existing contract and is not yet ready to purchase. This would make them an unqualified lead and not worth prioritizing your sales efforts around, unless that contract was up for renewal in relatively short order.

Below we’ll discuss popular lead qualification methods that can be integrated in your own process.

How to Qualify Your Leads

BANT Qualification Framework 

The BANT framework stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline. This is one of the most commonly used lead qualification frameworks because it applies to so many different companies and markets. 

The BANT framework is meant to help you discern four main pieces of information. 

  1. Budget:
    Does the lead have the funds to buy your product?
  2. Authority:
    Does the lead have high enough command to authorize the purchase? 
  3. Need:
    Does your product meet the needs of your lead?
  4. Timeline:
    When is the lead planning to purchase the product?

Let’s return back to our janitorial service example. 

Let’s say your lead is head of waste management at a business whose office is 12,000 square feet. Your company charges $0.16 per square foot for your services. 

Your contact’s current contractor charges $0.20 per square foot. What you know about your contact is that they are looking for a cheaper option; however, they are required to fulfill their contract with another janitorial company. 

From this scenario we can gather that 

  • your contact does have the authority to engage with your company, 
  • they normally pay more than your average cost so they do have the budget, 
  • they are in need of a cheaper option;
  • however, their timeline is not quite ideal. 

A lead that would normally look like an appealing option can be sorted correctly using frameworks such as this. This leaves room for more ideal candidates and more intentional outreach. 

Qualifying Questions

Some companies prefer to use a less formulaic approach. You can qualify your leads by creating buyer profiles. 

Your buyer profile is a description of the ideal customer you’d like to purchase your product. By establishing the characteristics of your ideal customer you already set a guideline for ideal leads.

Some companies use their subscription or landing pages forms to gather some of this demographic information on their leads. Other companies use surveys or information request follow-ups to match visitors to specific plans or information. 

Your forms might include qualifying questions such as:

  • What is your budget?
  • What challenge are you looking to solve?
  • Who would be using this product on your team?
  • What are the main benefits you’re looking for in a product?
  • When do you foresee purchasing this product? 

Be careful not to ask too many questions — or too-invasive questions — however, or you’ll risk a drop-off in the number of leads who actually fill out your forms in the first place.