The 5 Best Practices for Qualifying Leads

Identifying leads in your target audience and where they are in the sales funnel can help you focus and improve conversion rates.

Lead generation is more important than ever, but not all leads are created equal. Honing in on hot leads can prove incredibly valuable to your bottom line while knowing how to nurture a warm lead is an art that some don’t have the patience for.

Regardless of how you position your leads, an efficient sales process is what fuels high-growth success. Realizing the full potential of your sales machine is all about scaling and having the right leads fill your pipeline.

So, whether you’re a seasoned veteran at lead vetting and nurturing or you’re just getting started, here are some tips and best practices for optimizing your lead qualification process so you can convert them into valued customers.

1. Determine your target customer profile.

It’s no big secret that knowing your audiences, regardless of what you’re trying to sell or pitch, is key to delivering a value-added proposition. Creating a relevant sales package that addresses or nurtures your customers’ pain points, speaks to what they care about, and helps them get to a purchasing action is your ultimate goal.

If you don’t have a customer profile built already, you may want to start building some by defining them and where they belong in your sales channel. Start by asking yourself:

  • What does my ideal customer look like at the top, middle and bottom of the funnel?
  • How does my customer prefer to be engaged? An example could be sharing case studies where your solutions have created the best value for other customers.
  • What are the common characteristics of my best and worst customers? Sometimes, there will be certain customers whom you can’t help – which is okay – and you just need to know where your efforts (and money) are best spent.

2. Figure out what actually makes a “qualified” lead.

Good news: You’re getting leads for your business. But maybe you’re having a tough time determining if they are actually good leads. Is it an SQL (sales qualified lead) or an MQL (marketing qualified lead)? Figuring out where your leads are in the business cycle will be the critical first step in determining how you approach the relationship.

Determining what kind of business lead – particularly for your business and its area of focus – is the first step in determining how you evaluate if this is a qualified lead. At a fundamental level, being able to categorize leads as an SQL is what you’ll want to look for so you can map out where the lead falls in your sales pipeline. An MQL is likely still in need of supporting information to help get them closer to being categorized as an SQL. You might need to share customer testimonials, case studies, or examples of success to guide an MQL into your sales funnel.

You can now be more efficient and allocate resources towards moving leads through your business pipeline and turning it into a converted piece of business.

3. Where are your leads in the sales funnel?

The modern customer experience is unique for each lead, and depending on where it is in your sales funnel, it might require more touchpoints. If the lead has come through to you via some type of content downloaded or information request, it is likely new to your business and would fall into the beginning stages of your sales funnel. Knowing this, you’d want to treat that lead with more touchpoints to help move them along in the customer journey with your business.

Some qualifiers that can help you determine where your lead is in the sales funnel, includes:

  • Company name
  • Title
  • Area of interest
  • How soon you need to launch your product/solution

4. Perform an inventory of your assets.

Auditing your existing assets is important because you want to be able to get the most from the projects you’ve worked on already. Leveraging them as pieces of content to help qualify and move your sales leads along in your cycle is an easily-accomplished best practice.

Evaluate your past and ongoing projects. Is there an awesome example that your sales team can leverage to help a sales lead move to the next step in your sales funnel? Look for ways to personalize the customer journey through your existing assets, and you might be able to convert that challenging lead into a customer.

5. New to lead qualifying? Start small.

If you’re new to qualifying leads, you might find yourself in a hurry to get as many leads qualified as possible. That isn’t necessarily true.

Ramp up slowly and become comfortable in delivering value to your sales leads. Make sure you are listening to their input and implementing it in a way that demonstrates your value at each step in the sales experience. Keeping your business top-of-mind at each stage of the sales channel will undoubtedly have you creating the best leads for your business, and creating the best type of conversions.

BONUS TIP: Reach out to partners for help

Ever heard the phrase, “Many hands make light work?” That approach can be applied to your business, as well. If your customer has questions about how to successfully grow the ecommerce side of their business, or perhaps ensuring that consumer’s card data is secure on a website when processing a transaction, don’t be afraid to ask for a demonstration or input. Partners that help move your customer along in the sales journey are the best kind of partners to have, so if you need that help, North American Bancard is always available. Please feel free to contact us at ISVpartners@nabancard.com, and we’ll work with you to answer your questions. 


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Pat Ward
Pat is in his second decade in the Payments Industry. Throughout his career he’s focused on creating long-term and profitable partnerships with best-of-breed Independent Software Vendors. Since joining North American Bancard (NAB) in 2014, Pat has been instrumental in building out NAB's Integrated and Semi-Integrated Partner Programs, and for bringing some of the best POS companies into the NAB Family.