Speed up and expand your sales funnel by learning how to quantify your leads.
In this article:
- The Problem with Overqualifying Leads
- Qualifying Leads with BANT
- Quantify Leads in High-Velocity Sales Funnel
- Work on BANT with These Questions
How Quantifying Your Leads Can Help Your Business
The Problem with Overqualifying Leads
The ability to quantify or measure the value of the leads is essential for any business. Lead generation and management cost time and money companies may never be able to get back.
Companies are spending huge amounts of their marketing budget on new and innovative tools, techniques, and systems. They do this to generate interest in web leads and increase sales. The problem is they use antiquated techniques to qualify those leads. The bias wastes much of the marketing investment put into those efforts.
Here at InsideSales.com, we designed technology to address this. Our software automates and optimizes the qualification process once the marketing efforts generate interest. As such, we see hundreds of companies and their qualification metrics and techniques. One of the most common problems appears when lead qualification reps over qualify their leads, preventing those leads from entering the sales pipeline.
Qualifying Leads with BANT
Companies use dozens of over-qualification methods to move leads into their sales pipeline. One of the most common is the BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing) Approach. This traditional sales method follows a basic model wherein the lead qualification rep filters candidates based on the following parameters:
- If the company already has a budget allocated to a solution
- Whether the candidate is the decision maker or the authority to give the green light to the solution
- Whether the company has a specifically defined need for the solution and is willing to put their money down in a timely fashion
Only those who meet these criteria may enter the sales process. BANT and similar qualification approaches are still valid when you want to quantify transactional sales and cases where the product scope is understood and well established. They are not as useful in the world of high-velocity sales. The product or solution features complexity in selling. Prospects and customers may also need further education. Trish Bertuzzi, an industry leader and friend, already recognized this trend in her 2010 blog post.
Quantify Leads in High-Velocity Sales Funnel
These qualifying techniques weaken in the high-velocity sales model, where these methods become too limiting. InsideSales.com has adopted a high-velocity selling approach based on a quantification model. By quantification, we don’t limit the number of leads entering the sales pipeline.
We stretch the sales funnel on the top as well as the bottom. Lead qualification reps broaden the top of the sales funnel more than normal. It then allows less-qualified leads into the sales process. More leads exit the bottom of the funnel, and the business makes more customers with the less-qualified leads.
My reps seek to understand the company and its process, operations, and potential needs to build a case for our quantifying solution. They use their understanding of the company to:
- Navigate to find authority
- Educate potential customers of need
- Justify timing
- Help create budget
Work on BANT with These Questions
To build BANT, my reps ask certain types of questions to qualify the company, such as:
- What does your company do and/or sell?
- Who are your customers?
- How do you find potential customers?
- How do you communicate with potential customers?
- What is a typical deal size for your company?
- What problem were you hoping to solve by contacting us?
- How many employees does your company have?
- How long has your company been in business?
- What is your company structure, and where is your place in that structure?
- How long have you been with the company?
- What is the typical sales cycle for your company?
- What are the challenges or problems your company is dealing with?
Our company uses the Miller-Heiman approach as a strategic selling method. It explains how a sales rep’s opportunity comes when the target company is in either growth or trouble phase. Asking the above questions helps the rep discover what phase the company is in. They then know how to best plan his approach. Then, as reps approach the sales process, they adjust their message based on quantification to deliver a customized solution designed to build and justify BANT. They don’t instead of filter leads based on qualification.
The quantification model has worked well to increase our sales velocity, but it has some inherent risks or pushbacks. First, the internal costs associated with the sales process are higher. It requires more resources to push more leads down the pipeline. The good thing is I have also found the extra output at the end of the pipeline justifies the additional resource at the top. To quantify a lead pays for itself. Second, a typical sales rep will lack the motivation to adopt this model unless his current comp plan incentivizes the additional work caused by quantification.
There are certain risks associated with the quantifying leads, but if the company’s and employees’ incentives align, you will find the same results we found. The quantification model will dramatically increase your customer acquisition rate by significantly boosting sales. Ultimately, it can help make you build a sustainable business.
What do you think about quantifying leads instead of qualifying them? Share your thoughts about this topic in the comments section below.
Up Next: High-Velocity Sales: Win Faster
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on June 28, 2012, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.