This is a special guest article from Akilan S, Product Marketer at Zoho CRM.
There is an old Russian proverb that says, "If you chase two rabbits, you'll catch neither." This might as well have been written about sales representatives who often chase multiple leads simultaneously, hoping to convert them all without going through lead qualification. Sales reps do understand that many a time a rabbit or two will get away. To be willing to pursue nevertheless is the mark of a good sales rep; to know when to stop the pursuit is the mark of a great sales rep.
Everyone wants to talk about the successful sales stories but not many talk about the failures. Every day, salespeople give up on leads–the average conversion rate for every industry has almost always been a single digit numeral. Despite that, salespeople find it hard to give up on leads. "Just one more call, one more email", has affected a lot of careers.
Yes, it can be disheartening to face the fact that the time, effort, and money invested in earning the lead will never bear fruit. However, the company will be better off if team members can quickly identify and disqualify leads that don't fit the bill.
Leads will come back but time won't
When you invest a significant amount of time on a lead who won't convert, you're wasting the most valuable resource your business has: time. Every second you spend trying to sell to an unqualified lead is time you can't spend on qualified leads.
Salespeople can quickly tell where a deal is heading if the business has a proper lead qualification framework in place. When you cut down on your efforts to convert disqualified leads, you'll find yourself having more time to focus on leads that have more potential. You'll also be able to clearly identify how to measure your marketing effectiveness; by focusing on channels that drive qualified leads.
Sales reps are generally adept at multitasking, but not all tasks get equal time—there's always a priority disparity. On a daily basis, a salesperson might make several phone calls and send out a dozen emails to connect with multiple leads. It can be hard to remember names and pain points for each lead. This problem is compounded if there are low-quality leads among the bunch.
When salespeople have to spread out their focus is spread out, it's hard for them to invest time in the best prospects. Disqualifying leads after a call gives salespeople breathing room, revealing which prospects are worth pursuing. This helps salespeople make a personalized sales pitch and close deals, without them having to stress over low-quality leads.
When salespeople don't differentiate between high-quality and low-quality leads, they stall their sales pipeline. When multiple sales reps do this, it clogs the business' sales funnel, severely hurting the company's efficiency. This will make it hard for higher-ups to have a clear view of the current sales cycle, and they may end up making misinformed decisions on how to proceed. Additionally, generating reports becomes onerous; the junk leads inflate statistics, which might lead to unsustainable decisions from management. By disqualifying these leads, you can free up the funnel, giving a more accurate view of the sales cycle.
If salespeople have too many stalled leads in their profile, their sales score suffers. Even if they did close a decent number of deals that month, the fact that they got no answer on the bad leads will hurt their numbers. If you don't let go of leads that have no potential, it might appear that they're not doing their job well - even though there's nothing that can be done at the moment to convert them. This can impact performance and morale later on.
Having the ability to quickly qualify or disqualify leads helps salespeople maintain a clean profile, giving management a more accurate view of sales health.
Your lead qualification framework clearly says this lead will not do business with your company, telling salespeople there's no point in pursuing it. If a lead doesn't need your services, you can't force it. If the lead can't afford your service and your company can't give them a discount, there isn't much left to discuss. If the pieces don't fit, the deal won't go through.
When these roadblocks occur, your business needs a way to signify that the deal isn't going to work so salespeople can move on to the next task.
Nobody wants to turn down an opportunity, but picking the right ones will always be a more efficient use of your time and energy than trying to convert them all.
The more information you have about every lead, the easier it is to qualify leads and add value. By integrating WhatConverts software with the Zoho CRM, you can make sure marketing and sales focus on only the best leads.
Mac Mischke is a Writer and Content Marketer at WhatConverts. Connect with him via email at email@example.com.
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