A typical sales cycle is six to nine months, but it can extend well beyond that and even run into years sometimes.
This is despite the fact that you believe your prospects are the decision-makers, have the financial ability to buy, have a need, see your company as a differentiated and preferred solution, and understand the business impact of buying from you to be substantial.
Nonetheless, it’s useless to continue to chase such leads in order to close deals. Instead, categorize your leads to see if you can continue to nurture and convert them.
What Is Lead?
Lead is a term used in marketing to refer to a potential customer or the potential opportunity for a sale or transaction.
A lead is anyone who has interacted with your company or organization, for example, through a call-in, a website lead, networking, or events. However, such a person may or may not become a customer.
What Is a Qualified Lead?
A qualified lead is a prospect—a potential client or customer—with the intent to buy.
A qualified lead is usually generated by the marketing team and evaluated by the sales team.
However, one key characteristic of a qualified lead is that it must fit the profile of a customer with the intent to buy.
The proper qualification of leads is therefore necessary for developing a good sales pipeline.
Types of Qualified Leads
Qualified leads can be broadly classified as Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs).
Marketing Qualified Leads
Marketing Qualified Leads, or MQLs, are leads who, by virtue of their position, company revenue, or company type, have taken your company’s website and/or email communication and qualify as good prospects for sales outreach.
Sales Qualified Leads
Sales Qualified Leads, otherwise known as SQLs, are the leads that your salesperson has spoken to and has confirmed are sales-ready.
What Is Lead Qualification?
Lead qualification is the process of evaluating your potential customers based on their financial ability and willingness to pay.
In other words, lead qualification is the process of finding prospects who fit your ideal customer profile and have a high chance of becoming customers.
Characteristics of a Qualified Prospect
A lead will have the following five characteristics to be considered a qualified prospect:
- A prospect must have a need that they’re aware of. That’s a problem they already know they have and for which they have no solutions.
- They must be a decision-maker with the authority and budget to buy.
- They have a sense of urgency.
- They trust in you and your organization.
- They’re willing to listen to your salespeople.
Why Is Lead Qualification Important?
Lead qualification is an important part of the sales process due to the following reasons:
- It saves time for the sales and marketing teams.
- It saves them money.
- It saves them energy from chasing leads that have no willingness to buy from you or who may likely result in little to no return on investment.
What Is Customer Segmentation?
Customer segmentation is the process of tagging and grouping your customers based on their peculiar characteristics.
Types of Customer Segmentation
Here are the types of customer segmentation you should know:
- Demographic segmentation
- Geographic segmentation
- Psychographic segmentation
- Technographic segmentation
- Behavioral segmentation
- Needs-based segmentation
- Value-based segmentation
Benefits of Customer Segmentation
The following are some of the advantages of customer segmentation:
- Customer segmentation makes it easy for a company to tailor and personalize their marketing, service, and sales efforts to the needs of a particular group of customers.
- It improves your customer service and customer support efforts.
- It helps internal teams prepare for challenges different groups are likely to face.
- It helps you communicate with segments of customers through preferred channels or platforms.
- It helps you find new opportunities for products, support, and service efficiently.
- It boosts customer loyalty and conversions.
Targeting Your Qualified Leads Based on Customer Segmentation
Here’s what you should do to be successful if you want to target your qualified leads based on customer segmentation:
- Know the goals and variables of your customer segmentation.
- Break the goals into customer-centric segmentation projects.
- Set up and prioritize each of the customer segmentation projects.
- Collect and organize your customer data.
- Segment your customers into any groups of your choice.
- Target and market to each client and user segment.
- Carry out regular customer segmentation analysis.
It’s not easy to close deals sometimes unless you understand the buyer persona and what influences buying decisions.
That’s why it’s necessary to differentiate between leads and qualified leads to be able to effectively market to each segment and close more deals.
This saves the sales and marketing teams’ time, money, and energy from chasing leads that have no willingness to buy from you or who may likely result in little to no return on investment.