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A Beginners Guide to Sales Lead Scoring and Qualification for B2B

As a Business to Business company, you have to employ a very specific set of techniques to determine optimum leads that will turn into your customers. Through lead scoring and qualification methods, you can identify prospects and nurture them into leads.

Why Qualify Leads?

Quality leads are huge for B2B companies. After all, finding customers is one of the most crucial—and sometimes most challenging—aspects of B2B marketing. But finding leads is not enough. Qualifying leads will save you time and money, which is why it’s absolutely necessary that you qualify your leads as early as possible.

Finding a lead is great, but not all prospective customers are worth pursuing. If a lead doesn’t meet the qualifications to purchase what you have to offer, then make notes, table their contact information, and loop back later if and when they’re ready to buy.

SQL vs MQL?

Sales Qualified Leads and Marketing Qualified Leads are categories we apply to leads. An MQL is the precursor to an SQL. MQLs are leads who have engaged or been engaged with. And if things go well, they have the potential to become a customer.

When an MQL has expressed interest in your product and is ready to have a conversation with your sales team, they become a Sales Qualified Lead. MQLs are typically vetted by your sales team, and they are ready to make a purchase.

Categorizing your leads into MQLs and SQLs allow you to organize your leads, helping your sales team target specific leads with the techniques that will convert them to paying customers.

What Is a Qualified Prospect?

Before a prospective customer engages with your business, they are a qualified prospect. That is, they are a potential client who ticks all the boxes for your ideal customer—but they haven’t yet expressed interest in what your company has to offer.

You want to pursue—or be pursued by—qualified prospects. Qualified prospects are in a prime position to move forward to becoming a customer. They are aware of a need that your company can meet; they have the means to purchase your product; they’ll be ready to make that purchase when the time comes; and they trust you and are willing to listen to the advice of your sales team.

When to Disqualify A Lead?

As you’re evaluating leads, you want to put time and effort into those who have the greatest chance of becoming a customer. You’ll find that some leads show few or no signs that they’ll make a purchase. In these cases, it’s best to disqualify a lead. Below are a few signs that you need to disqualify a lead so you can put more energy into nurturing others:

  • They Don’t Have the Budget – If you find that your lead doesn’t currently have the funding to continue on in the buying process, table the lead and circle back when their budget allows for a purchase.
  • They Don’t Have the Authority – Sometimes, a lead reaches out to begin conversations with your sales team only to later reveal that they don’t hold the buying power. Be sure to discuss sales with those who have the authority to make the decision to purchase.
  • They Don’t Have Time for You – When a lead shows a pattern of putting you off or a hesitancy to take steps forward, they aren’t ready to make a purchase. Disqualify the lead for now and consider revisiting at a later date.

What Is a Qualifying Question?

Evaluating your prospects is one of the first steps in onboarding new clients. Qualifying questions allow you to get a better picture of your prospects, their needs, and if they’d make a lucrative lead.

A nuanced set of qualifying questions help you understand your prospects and determine if you can qualify them as a lead. These questions will help you weed out prospects that aren’t ready or able to make a purchase, and they’ll help you shore up deals with those who are.

Sales Qualification Frameworks

What Is BANT Qualification Framework?

Your sales team can utilize the BANT metric when determining how qualified your prospects are. BANT is considered the original qualification framework, and following it allows your sales reps to focus on prospects that fit your ideals and might be ready to move forward.

BANT stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline. If a prospect has the budget for your goods or services, the authority to make the purchase, recognizes their need for what you have to offer, and are working toward making a buying decision at present, then they tick all boxes for the BANT metric. When this happens, sales reps can move forward in qualifying this prospect and begin to invest more energy into converting them into a customer.

What Is MEDDIC Sales Qualification Framework

MEDDIC stands for Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, and Champion. This framework helps you better know and qualify your audience through six steps:

  • Metric – The quantifiable solutions your customer hopes to gain from working with you
  • Economic Buyer – The company’s buyer and the one who has the power to make buying decisions
  • Decision Criteria – The criteria the company uses to make decisions and the factors that influence those decisions
  • Decision Process – How a decision is made based on the decision criteria
  • Identify Pain – Your customer’s need (pain) and what will happen if it’s not addressed
  • Champion – The point person inside your target company who will push to make a purchase from you

What Is CHAMP Sales Qualification Framework

The CHAMP qualification metric acts as a modern framework for lead qualification. CHAMP stands for Challenges, Authority, Money, and Prioritization. Similar to the BANT framework we explained above, CHAMP is a re-ordering of the BANT acronym to prioritize different factors that help you evaluate leads. The first focus of CHAMP is identifying the challenges or pain points your prospect is dealing with. It then prioritizes identifying the company’s buying authority and whether or not they have the funds to make a purchase from you. And lastly, CHAMP looks at a company’s prioritization, or timeline, to evaluate if a company is in a position to move forward in the purchase process.

What Is ANUM Sales Qualification Framework

ANUM is another framework adapted from BANT. ANUM (Authority, Need, Urgency, Money) is very similar to CHAMP with the main difference being that ANUM places authority ahead of challenges. The first step when following ANUM is to determine whether one is speaking with the company’s buyer or decision maker.

Money, similar to the Budget in BANT, is included to determine whether a company has the funds to make a purchase. But unlike BANT, the money doesn’t have to be in a company’s budget for this particular good or service. They simply have to have capital, and it’s the salesperson’s job to show them why putting that money toward this purchase is the best decision for their company.

What Is FAINT Sales Qualification Framework

FAINT (Funds, Authority, Interest, Need, Timing) is built around the fact that many companies make purchase decisions that aren’t planned for in a specific budget. Similar to ANUM, FAINT evaluates prospects on their capacity to buy. And unlike the other frameworks we’ve outlined, FAINT adds Interest. Reps using FAINT show clients that they can offer better outcomes than what the customer is currently experiencing, thus generating interest in what they have to offer.

Good Signs to Move a Prospect Forward

Focusing your energies on a prospect is an easy decision when they say, “I’m ready to buy.” But rarely in the early stages of a business relationship will your prospect lay their cards on the table. However, there are a few tell-tale signs that give you the green light to move forward with prospects:

  • Airing Grievances – If a prospect is sharing their issues with their current supplier, it’s clear that they’re unhappy and are actively looking for a better option—like you.
  • Clarifying Questions – At this point, they’re fully engaged. When a prospect asks clarifying questions, they’ve been paying attention and want to fully understand what you’re offering and why they should give you their business.
  • Authority and Money – A common thread in the sales qualification frameworks above were the presence of funding and the person with the authority to make a purchase. If you’re talking to the person with buying power and they’ve got the ability and desire to move forward, run with it.

Prospect Red Flags in the Sales Process

In some cases, it’s best to part ways with your prospects. And sometimes, they’ll let you know this is the case without explicitly telling you. Below are three signs it’s time to move on from a prospect.

  • They Won’t Communicate – When a prospect is excited about your products, you’ll know it. You won’t have to contact them again and again in hopes you’ll be able to have a conversation. If you can’t get a hold of your prospect, stop wasting your time, and move on.
  • They Can’t or Won’t Commit – It’s crucial for the efficiency and productivity of your sales team that they make their pitches to someone who has the power to commit to a purchase. Otherwise, the prospect is stagnant.
  • You Can’t Meet Their Needs – Sometimes, the solution you’re offering isn’t one that will benefit your prospect. And that’s ok. If you realize that the prospect doesn’t need or can’t utilize your goods or services, you can move on with a clear conscience.

When you notice these red flags in the sales process, save your team time, money, energy, and frustration, and move on from these prospects onto others who are more likely to become qualified leads and customers.

Conclusion

Identifying prospects and understanding how to evaluate them will benefit and streamline your sales process. By understanding potential customers, your sales team can spend their efforts and resources on those prospects who are most likely to benefit from the goods, services, and solutions you provide.